155-year-old family tombstone found near San Francisco home

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It began as a home electrical project, but when the work uncovers history at the ends of a pick, shovel, and power tools, it is impossible to ignore.

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How strange was this? "On a scale of 1 to ten -- eleven," said Frank Graziano, who discovered something during the work. "Well I thought it was concrete at first."

But concrete does not have names or dates. "There is a baby in here, or was,"

Actually, it's just a tombstone -- the coroner's office confirmed -- left behind from what authorities believe used to be the Laurel Hill Cemetery, which opened in 1852 and closed in 1937.

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The bodies moved to Colma. If families did not want to move the tombstones, the city turned them into landfill.

Apparently -- this tombstone is one of those.

Work resumed Wednesday around the remnant from the lives of Charles Cooper, his wife Catherine Ryan, and their baby William Henry -- who died at 13 days old in 1862.

As history pulled at Frank Graziano, he wrestled to free the stone beset by a sense of history.

"Maybe if we can get it out, we can give someone a part of their past," Graziano said. "Pretty awesome."

Finally, the stone was freed -- 155 years later, the past had its day.

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