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Norton I, Emperor of the United States…

Joshua Abraham Norton came from England to the United States, and like thousands of others rushed to California to enlarge his already hefty fortune of $40,000.  After amassing up to $250,000 at his peak, Norton eventually lost his fortune and his sanity.  Losing his sanity, however, did not affect his ability to make an impact on his community.

Emperor of the United States, 1859-1880

Emperor of the United States, 1859-1880

Good-looking, with a TOUCH of grandiosity, he declared himself Emperor of the United States, fired the President, and abolished Congress through a series of letters written to the San Francisco newspapers.  Editors loved the flamboyant letters and published them, kicking off his 21 year reign as Emperor.  Being penniless, he had to do something to support his expensive habits, so he printed his own money, and amazingly most vendors  accepted it.  He also taxed the citizens of San Francisco for various offenses such as referring to the city as Frisco. Though a bit crazy, he was well liked, for when he died, still penniless in actual U.S. currency, he was buried with the proper pomp and circumstance afforded an emperor, and 10,000 citizens attended his funeral.  Not bad for a legitimately crazy, street person.  I think I would have liked to meet him.  🙂 So now you know, Wanda WAS right!  Gold Epaulet for Wanda! My post tomorrow is going to be up to you.  I have tons of ideas and tons of pictures you’ve never seen, and there is no way that they are all going to get written.  Not having Ralph’s amazing degree of PhUN, I’m going to offer what I THINK I know and do best.

28 replies »

  1. Hi MVBF Marsha. I was just about to vote and the email for your new post came in …… so I cheated on your poll. Now I will change my vote to Pure Nonsense as that will be a more fun post 😉 Ralph xox 😀


    • I don’t know if pure nonsense would be a more fun post or not, my dear Dr. Ralph. My conversations with you are full of nonsense, surely, but not one other vote from anyone asking for nonsense from me! Imagine that! So here’s my promise to you. I will always give you a healthy dose of nonsense in my comments. Fair??? xoxox


    • haha, no tell me! I ended up with walking tour, but I will do yours this week or early next week. Pretty soon I’ll be all caught up with you! I received another notice from Amazon that someone bought your book based on my review! yay again! 🙂


  2. Voted for “Blabbing about blogging”.

    Very interesting post! I’ve never heard of this luna—er—man before. Amazing about what all he got away with!


    • Can you imagine such a character, Jilanne? Even the merchants accepting his “money!!!” So much fun. I don’t usually read all the explanations when I go to a museum, but my friend ready while I took pictures. She was laughing when she finished reading, so I had to read that one all the way through, then take a picture so I would be sure to get the facts right when I wrote about him. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. I’m coming to visit your blog later today if my internet service holds up! 🙂 (We’re at the end of the month!) Marsha 🙂


  3. I’ve never heard of Joshua Abraham Norton, and this was fascinating. Thanks for the history lesson. It was my second one today. I found one on Impressionists at another blog. I like seeing and learning about new people, places, and things. Never having been to San Francisco, I voted for the walking tour. 🙂


    • Cool! So when you come out to see me, Maddie, we’ll go to SF and take several. They are free, and SF is a great place to walk! Downhill is better! 🙂 Marsha 🙂


    • You earned it, my dear friend. You are so smart, learned, and well spoken. You are my gold epaulet person of the day! 🙂 Maybe longer!!! 🙂 Most certainly, longer! 🙂


        • I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before, but for some reason my post came out untitled, and it finally hit me with your comment, Wanda. WP and the Internet is still a mystery to me. How, I can create a post complete with a title, and then somewhere it gets eaten up. So here’s to Norton I, Emperor of the United States. 🙂 Cheers 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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