Many have gazed with wonderment at the Whittell monument in Cypress Lawn. Six feet square at the base and equal in height, it is a miniature of Egyptian pyramids. On it sloping surfaces, Hugh Whittell had chiseled a poetic (and likely embellished) history of his travels on one side and his philosophy of mankind on the other.
ALL YOU THAT CHANCE,
THIS GRAVE TO SEE
IF YOU READ ENGLISH,
MAY LEARN FROM ME.
I TRAVELED READ AND STUDIED
MANKIND TO KNOW:
AND WHAT MOST INTERESTED THEM
THE PRESENT OR THE FUTURE STATE AND
LOVE OF POWER,
ENVY, FEAR, LOVE OR HATE OCCUPIED EACH WAKEFUL HOUR.
ALL WOULD TEACH, BUT FEW WOULD UNDERSTAND,
THE GREATER PART, KNOW LITTLE OF EITHER GOD OR MAN.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER A VERY GOOD MAXIM ALL AGREE.
LEARN LABOR AND WAIT IF YOU WOULD SUCCEED.
THE FIVE DIVISIONS OF
THE WORLD I HAVE BEEN.
THE CITIES OF PEKING AND CON-
CONSTANTINOPLE I HAVE SEEN.
ON THE FIRST RAILWAY I RODE BEFORE
OTHERS WERE MADE.
SAW THE FIRST TELEGRAPH OPERATE, SO
USEFUL TO TRADE.
ON THE FIRST STEAMSHIP THE ATLANTIC CROSSED,
SUFFERED SIX SHIP WRECKS WHERE LIVES WERE LOST.
ON THE FIRST STEAMER TO CALIFORNIA DID SAIL,
AND TO CHINA BY THE FIRST PACIFIC MAIL.
AFTER MY ENDEAVOR MY AFFAIRS TO FIX,
A SHORT TIME I WILL OCCUPY LESS THAN TWO BY SIX.
The memorial attracted immediate attention when it was first placed in the Masonic Cemetery on Lone Mountain in San Francisco. Word soon got out that Whittell was still very much alive and living at the fashionable Occidental Hotel. He died in 1887 and his monument moved to Cypress Lawn later. We can authenticate that he was a passenger aboard the Pacific Mail steamship California, a 1-ton side-wheeler, the first steam vessel to sail around Cape Horn and through the Golden Gate Straight, arriving on February 28, 1849.
Terry Hamburg, Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation