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Monday, July 1, 2019

Historian Paul Ayers Presents Program on Abolitionist’s Bloody Deeds, Rock-Star Status in Pasadena and Burial on Altadena Hilltop

Placement of the new stone headstone on Owen Brown’s grave, Little Round Top, Altadena, CA, January 29, 1898; an inset photo of Owen is at lower right.

Drawing on nearly 20 years of research, historian Paul Ayers will present “Owen Brown—Altadena’s First Celebrity” at the Altadena Historical Society, 7:30 p.m. Monday July 22 at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive.

The illustrated program is free to Historical Society members; a donation is requested of nonmembers.

Ayers, a San Gabriel Mountains historian and preservationist, will recount the histories of Owen and Jason Brown, sons of American slavery abolitionist and insurrectionist John Brown, and their participation in the murderous raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859.

After many years in hiding, Owen and his brother Jason found their way to Pasadena, where Ayers will recount their “rock-star-like reception, their lives of quiet and contemplation in the hills of West Altadena, the death of Owen and his burial on Little Roundtop, a hill above what today we know as the Meadows subdivision.”

Ayers will describe pilgrimages to Owens’ the site, the struggle over access to the site, and the status of the site and Brown’s stolen tombstone today.

The Historical Society, founded in 1935 and Altadena’s oldest community group, is currently featuring an exhibit on “Theatre Americana” in its museum at the Community Center. The society’s museum and archives are open to the public free of charge from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and also from 2 to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.






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