At a time when some people are campaigning to include the name Emperor
Norton within that of the Bay Bridge, San Fransisco, I thought some listers
might be interested to know why and who on earth he was!
Joshua Abraham (Emperor) Norton was born in London and at the age of 2 years
taken to the Eastern Cape (South Africa) by his Jewish parents,John Norton
and Sarah nee Norden, who were 1820 Settlers. After the death of most of his
closest family, business man Joshua Abraham made his way to California and
became a 49 er. Apparently a business partnership caused the loss of all his
money and instead of turning up in San Fransisco a beggar, he had the
chutzpah to arrive penniless announcing himself Emperor Norton I and during
the rest of his life he was treated as such. The city awarded him a new
Emperor's uniform each year, local hacks Mark Twain and Robert Louis
Stevenson wrote of his doings - very likely inventing some! - he printed his
own currency.............. Google his name if you don't believe me - there
are loads of websites with photos!
Why my interest? Emperor Norton was the first cousin of Louis Norden, my
Great Great Grandfather - and nephew to his father Marcus Norden and of
course Benjamin Norden who led the group who founded the first synagogue in
South Africa, in Cape Town.
Emperor Norton was one of the amazingly quirky characters of old San
Fransisco who, it is claimed, first suggested the building of a bridge
across the Bay.
Hazel Dakers, London UK researching:
BIRNBAUM (Zgierz & Lodz, Poland), GOLD (Zgierz & Lodz, Poland), HEIMANN
(Luegde, Germany & South Africa), NORDEN (London and South Africa)