The streets were littered with tree limbs all over town, and workers cleared split and downed trees. The wind had torn off big swaths of roofing material from our roof and scattered them across the yard. It was still windy when Ben, Arturo and I hiked to the hilltop above Altadena that is Owen Brown’s gravesite. Owen Brown was John Brown’s son, a survivor of the attack on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 when John Brown sought to incite a revolution to overthrow slavery. John Brown was hanged for treason in 1859, and after the Civil War, Owen Brown and his brother Jason lived in a shack in the empty San Gabriel mountains. Owen Brown died of pneumonia in 1889, and he’s buried on a dusty hilltop with the weeds and brush growing after the “Station Fire” of 2009. Two cinder blocks are the only marker—the 1889 marker gone missing after the land was sold in 2002. With Ben’s pit bull Chuleta, we hiked the fire road through the rocky foothills, with a view out to the shining ocean. On our way back, the tremendous sun-filled day behind it, the chilly wind howled through high power lines running across the slopes.

Owen Brown Grave Site Today

Owen Brown Grave Site a Century Ago

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