US Senator. A prominent anti-slavery politician in the years prior to the Civil War. Elected as a Democrat from California to the US Senate, he served from 1857 until his death in a duel. Broderick was born in Washington, DC, where his Irish father had emigrated to work as a stonecutter on government projects. He was raised in New York City and active in Tammany Hall before making an unsuccessful bid for the US Congress in 1846. In 1849 he moved to San Francisco and established a very lucrative business smelting gold and issuing gold coins, the profits from which he used to further his political ambitions; within months he was serving as a member of California's Constitutional Convention. He was elected to the State Senate in 1850 and was its president in 1851. Historians have asserted that throughout the 1850s Broderick was the de facto "ruler" of San Francisco, maintaining control through a Tammany-style machine and widespread municipal corruption. For most of this period he engaged in a bitter power struggle with US Senator William M. Gwin, the leader of California's pro-slavery faction, and it culminated in his 1856 election to Capitol Hill on a "Free Soil" platform. One of Gwin's fiercest supporters was David S. Terry, former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, who blamed Broderick's determined stance against slavery for undermining his political career. After exchanging heated remarks in both public and private, the two men met for a duel with pistols on September 17, 1859, outside the San Francisco city limits. Broderick was wounded by Terry after his gun misfired, and died three days later. He was given a hero's funeral and a monument was erected over his grave at Lone Mountain Cemetery in San Francisco, later renamed Laurel Hill Cemetery. Broderick's death had national repercussions and during the Civil War he was hailed as a martyr to the Union cause. In 1942 he was reinterred at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
DAVID C. BRODERICK
MECHANIC : SENATOR : BORN WASHINGTON D.C.. FEBRUARY 4, 1820