Article from Pasadena Star (I am quoted in the article!) Also below are more pictures of the recovery of the headstone.
Thanks to all your support!
Please support the effort to reset the headstone
SAVE THE ALTADENA TRAILS C/O Paul Ayers, Esq.
ZINDER & KOCH
700 N. Brand Blvd., Ste. 400
Glendale, CA 91203
Owen Brown gravestone, missing for 10 years, found in Altadena
By James Figueroa, SGVN
Posted: 08/27/2012 07:16:40 PM PDT
- Lost for 10 years, the gravestone belonging to Civil War abolitionist
Owen Brown turned up again only a few hundred feet from his final
resting place in the Altadena hills.
White, an artist who lives near the gravesite in the Meadows
neighborhood, found the stone marker while walking with his 1-year-old
son on Thursday.
engraving wasn't visible, but White recognized a metal ring on the
gravestone signifying the end of slavery. Owen Brown was the son of John
Brown, who is credited with sparking the Civil War by leading an 1859
revolt to free slaves in Harpers Ferry, in what is now West Virginia.
called Paul Ayers of Save the Altadena Trails, and they moved the
marker to a secure location, carefully wrapping the stone in cloth and
using a furniture dolly.
"I knew what it was, and I didn't want to attract any interest to it," White said.
the Altadena Trails now hopes to return the gravestone to its rightful
place, but will have to contend with legal questions about who owns it
and how to ensure it will be preserved.
For now, the gravestone's discovery has become a hot topic among Altadena locals, historians and the Brown family.
was absolutely amazing," Ayers said. "I had for a number of years been
preparing to fabricate a new stone. I had no expectation we would see it
stone disappeared in 2002, just as Save the Altadena Trails was
preparing legal battles with area property owners over access to the
gravesite. The organization since then has won court decisions granting
the public access to the gravesite.
Ayers had suspicions about who might have disturbed the site, but nothing was ever proven.
"Whoever did this committed a crime against the community of Altadena," he said. "There are certain things that are touchstones in a community, and this one was."
have been lengthy searches for the stone marker through the years, and
the area is popular among hikers, so the stone's reappearance so close
to the gravesite seems strange.
however, believes the marker's weight would have severely hindered
anyone trying to move it far from the area. A rope was next to the stone
when he found it, he said.
think maybe through some rainstorms it gradually pushed itself down
more and more," White said. "And with some brush clearance, all of a
sudden I was able to see it.
hikers go through this area, but it looks like debris because there's
other concrete and rock that are around the area. So I think it was just
overlooked, to be honest."
of John Brown's children moved to California in the aftermath of the
Harpers Valley revolt, and many of his descendants from daughter Ruth
Thompson live in the Pasadena area.
Brown, who had been waiting with horses across the Potomac River and
escaped when his father was captured, eventually wound up living in a
cabin with his brother Jason in Altadena.
family genealogist Alice Keesey Mecoy, John Brown's great-great-great
granddaughter, said she did a "happy dance" upon learning the gravestone
had been found.
the sesquicentennial of Brown's revolt in 2009, a movement emerged to
disinter Owen's remains and move them to the New York farm where his
father was buried.
Mecoy initially favored the idea, but soon changed her mind.
is where he loved, this is where he wanted to be, this where he lived
the last years of his life," she said. "He was very active in the town,
he was very active in Masonic organizations. He needs to stay there."
hopes fly in from Texas to visit the Altadena gravesite, which she's
never seen, when there is a rededication ceremony sometime in the
gravestone's discovery could also provide a "teachable moment," said
Altadena historian Michelle Zack, who is currently researching the Civil
The Pasadena area was attractive to the Brown family because of strong anti-slavery sentiments, Zack said.
you find something like this that's been lost, and it’s a dramatic
find, it's a rare opportunity to talk about what the Civil War meant
here out in the West," she said.