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William Anthony Richardson

Born: August 27, 1795
Died: April 20, 1856
Famous For: Erecting the first permanent domicile in Yerba Buena (later to be named San Francisco)

William A. Richardson

William Anthony Richardson sailed into San Francisco Bay on the English whaler, Orion on August 22, 1822. This was the year that Mexico took possession of California, from Spain. Comandante Luitenant Ignacio Martinez of the Presidio, welcomed Richardson ashore, and very shortly thereafter, William A. fell madly in love with the Comandante's daughter. After having been granted permission to stay in California, Richardson began to teach the Native Americans boat building and carpentry, and very shortly became so important a seaman and marine merchant that he was named Captain of the Port.

Four years later, Richardson married the Comandante's daughter at the Mission Dolores. In 1935, accompanied by his wife and child, he erected a tent made of redwood poles and sailcolth, on a small plot of land he had been granted, on a hill above the harbor. Next came a wooden structure on the plot of land, and ultimately an adobe home.

William A. Richardson was the first person of Anglo descent, to build a permanent residence on a little hill, today the center of San Francisco's vibrant Chinatown.

Noteworthy: You will find a plaque on the facade of the building located at 827 Grant Street in Chinatown. It is an historical marker commemorating the spot where Richardson lived. Look behind the layers of t-shirts hanging outside of the souvenir shop, to actually find the plaque on the wall. Little more than 175 years ago, the Richardson family settled upon this spot, and well, the rest is history.