With Veteran’s Day upon us, the team at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park is reminded of the fact that we are honored to serve as the burial location for many of our country’s most notable veterans. Our beautiful grounds are the final resting place for more than 4,000 soldiers and veterans. Many of them were buried here going back to the Mexican American War (1846-1848), including our own founder, Civil War veteran Hamden Holmes Noble.
Many of our respected veterans also played a key role in the Bay Area’s colorful history, serving the growing economy, population, and melting pot of cultures that makes San Francisco and surrounding areas so unique.
Among those reinterred from Laurel Hill Cemetery include:
- John C. Cremony: A veteran of both the Mexican American War and the Civil War, he achieved the rank of Major and became a charter member of the Bohemian Club.
- Joseph L. Folsom: He arrived in San Francisco with the Stevenson Regiment in 1847, later becoming San Francisco’s port collector and a major investor in San Francisco real estate, eventually inheriting the estate of William A. Leidesdorff and shaping real estate development for the future. Folsom Street in San Francisco was named in his honor.
A number of other Civil War veterans are memorialized at Cypress Lawn, including:
- William Augustus Robinson went on to serve as San Francisco’s Inspector of Customs for four years, leading him to an appointment to reorganize the Hawaiian Postal Service. He later became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and was elected to serve as Commander of the Department of California and Nevada.
- William W. Morrow survived the war and served four years as Assistant U.S. Attorney for California. He also served three terms as a Republican Congressman for California. He later went on to become one of the founding members of the American Red Cross.
- Jonathan Drake Stevenson, a veteran of the U.S. Army and one of San Francisco’s early pioneers, is also buried here. He became the first elected Grand Master of the California Freemasons and supervised the construction of the first Freemason Lodge in San Francisco. Stevenson Street in San Francisco was named after him. In fact, we have a tour called “Streets of San Francisco,” where we discuss a dozen or so Cypress Lawn residents who had streets in the Bay Area named in their honor. To find out when the next tour is, call Terry Hamburg at 650-550-8812.
Our beautiful grounds also memorialize many other well-decorated war heroes:
- William Arthur Swinerton served in WWII, earning a Bronze Star and returning to California to join Lindgren and Swinerton, the leading commercial construction company in San Francisco at the time. He guided the company’s expansion into Colorado and Hawaii. He served as the company’s president and chairman of board, overseeing such notable California projects as the renovations of Ghirardelli Square, the California Capitol State Building, and the San Francisco Center on Market Street.
- George Franklin Shiels served as a surgeon in the Philippines and in France during WWI. Known as the “Fighting Doctor,” Shiels served alongside Major General Pershing in France, earning the Croix de Guerre from the French 4th Army, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Distinguished Service Cross.
At Cypress Lawn, our groundskeepers and staff are honored to care for the graves, crypts and mausoleums of our military heroes who have passed on and welcome the opportunity to share the history of the soldiers who served during the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and other conflicts during some of our walking tours. We invite you to join us any time – perhaps even this Veteran’s Day weekend – as we reflect upon and honor those who have served our country and are now buried in our stunning, serene East, West, and Hillside gardens.