Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Pasadena Standard 12 January 1889

Died, at the residence of his brother-in-law, Henry Thompson, in this city, on January 8, 1889, Owen Brown, aged 64 years, 2 months and 4 days.

Owen Brown was born at Hudson, Ohio, November 4, 1824, and was the third son of John Brown's first family, there being twenty children in all. Owen was with his father all through the struggle between the free state men and border ruffians in Kansas in 1836 and following years, and took part in the first pitched battle at Black jack on the Missouri and Kansas border, and also at Ossawatomie where his younger brother, an unarmed lad, was deliberately shot down in the street. Jason [another of Brown's sons] was also in these battles.

Owen was with his father at Harpers Ferry, a participant in that memorable raid which struck the death knell of slavery, not only in the United States but throughout the civilized world. He was one of seven who escaped from there through mountain fastnesses and swamps and forests and sassafras leaves, and such things as they could possibly devour without making a fire to cook.

About five years ago Jason and Owen Brown took a homestead on a bench of mountain land five or six miles north of Pasadena, at the settlement now called Las Casitas. This they subsequently sold and took land higher up the mountain side, built a cabin, cleared and worked a few acres, and lied there-two feeble old men, alone. (Jason was with his father in the Kansas struggle, but was not at Harpers Ferry.) They were much visited by tourists and citizens, some from mere curiosity and others from a warm sympathy with the historic career of the family.

The Funeral.-The last rites were paid to his mortal remains on Thursday, January 10. It was a historic day in Pasadena. The tabernacle was well filled-about 2000 people in attendance. The exercises were conducted by Rev. R. H. Hartley, pastor of the Friends church. The great choristry was filled with singers who sang appropriate hymns with fervor and pathos as if the very spirit of the Browns had woven itself into heavenly music.

Owen Brown was buried on top the hill pictured above. The recent Station Fire swept over this hill and if you do a google image search on Owen Brown, you will be able to see how it looks now. The grave marker no longer exists.

I got to know Owen from his ficticious voice in Russell Banks' amazing book, "Cloudsplitter." The full copy of his obituary is also worth reading. I have excerpted it here from Tom Chester's posting here: http://tchester.org/sgm/msc/brown_funeral_notice.html


Anonymous said...

Too bad it's gone.
40 years ago I went to college in Pasadena.
Wandering around one afternoon above Chaney Trail I noticed an odd flat rock back of some bushes.
It was the pictured grave marker, without paint, lying flat in the ground rather than upright.
Back then Forest Service HQ was on Lake Ave. I told them about my find, they seemed somewhat surprised and interested.

Bobby Dobbins Title said...

Thanks for your interesting response. I agree -- too bad it's gone.