The Fugitive Brown Boys were Welcomed as Heroes in 1880s


Throwback Thursday – Owen and his Brother Jason were veterans of their father John Brown’s anti-slavery fight. The fugitive “Brown Boys” were welcomed by Pasadena residents as heroes in the 1880s, notably Owen who was present at Harpers Ferry when their father led a failed attempt to take over a federal arsenal to supply an uprising of slaves in a botched attempt to gain their freedom. In 1885, they homesteaded a sloping hillside plateau in our local mountains and built a cabin there (destroyed by fire in 1888). Today, the same dirt road is used by mountain bikers and hikers, which can be accessed two miles from the Gabrielino Trailhead in the Arroyo Seco (about a mile upstream from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Jason Brown worked for Thaddeus Lowe helping him to build his Great Incline railroad from Rubio Canyon to Echo Mountain where he also managed the zoo enclosures. Owen Brown died of pneumonia on January 8, 1889. At his funeral (pictured above) San Gabriel Valley residents and veterans of the Civil War came in droves to pay their last respects to honor the great slavery abolitionist.


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