When Johnny Came Marching West

Apr 5, 2015

John_Brown_by_Augustus_Washington,_1846-7On April 9, 2015 local churches, schools and public buildings can partake in a national observance. A nationwide commemoration of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army—150 years ago—will be observed on Thursday.¹

Locations with bells will ring them for four minutes beginning at 3:15 p.m. EST—one minute for each year of the American Civil War.

Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. This moment was not the literal end of the war—Confederate General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman in Durham, North Carolina on April 18th, and the remaining Confederate forces surrendered during the month of May—but April 9th and Lee’s surrender is recognized as the symbolic end.

We learn from Pasadena Museum of History that over 700 Civil War veterans are buried at Pasadena’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Opening April 22nd is “When Johnny Came Marching West: How the Civil War Shaped Pasadena” and “Thaddeus Lowe: Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army.” These two exhibits will run through the summer and “reveal intimate stories of veterans and spotlight the amazing exploits, bravery, courage, and heartbreak of both soldiers and civilians.”

Local historians Janet Kadin of the Museum and Nick Smith of Pasadena Public Libarary curate “When Johnny Came Marching West.” The exhibition features artifacts and photographs from the Museum’s collection as well as other institutions and individuals.

Biographical vignettes will tell the stories of unique men and women, from General Stoneman, a decorated Northern general, to the children of the radical abolitionist John Brown.²


George Stoneman

George Stoneman


Commander George Stoneman—who had an up and down military career, sometimes going against the grain, being investigated, criticized for inaction, and called “controversial” during and after the Civil War—moved to California with his wife. They settled on a 400-acre estate called Los Robles (1912 Monterobles Place, San Marino), where President Hayes received hospitality in 1880, and which is now a state historical landmark.




From what we can decipher, only a plaque is left to commemorate this distinction since a mysterious fire, rumored to have been set by political enemies, destroyed Stoneman’s home and he subsequently suffered financial ruin and severe health issues.

Famed abolitionist John Brown had 18 children, one of whom was Owen Brown. Owen’s great-great grandaughter was Jean Fleming who was born on December 20, 1925 in Pasadena, California (

Period medical equipment, including a rare amputation kit and other doctor’s tools, will illustrate the challenges of wartime care. An exploration of mourning etiquette practices and appropriate attire will include unusual 19th century mourning jewelry, accessories and memento mori. A highlight will be one of the few surviving U.S. Sanitary Commission quilts, signed by members of the Sunday school class who sewed it and sent it to a Union soldier.

A companion to the aforementioned exhibit is “Thaddeus Lowe: Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army.” Thaddeus Sobieski Constantine Lowe grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and got hooked on “the phenomenon of lighter-than-air gases, specifically hydrogen”³ after attending a chemistry lecture. He learned the lecture circuit under the leadership of Professor Reginald Dinkelhoff and after his retirement, Lowe “bought the show” and took on the moniker “Professor of Chemistry.”




Lowe met President Lincoln in 1861 and eventually became Chief Aeronaut of the newly formed Union Army Balloon Corps. After the war and a successful career, Lowe moved to Pasadena “where he built a 24,000 square foot mansion…started a water-gas company, founded Citizen’s Bank of Los Angeles, established several ice plants, and bought a Pasadena opera house.” He’s most well-known in these parts for the Mount Lowe Railway.


Pasadena Museum of History, 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. General admission: $7. Tel.: 1.626.577.1660.




Exhibition Related Programs
Please Note: Unless otherwise noted, advance reservations/ticket purchases must be made in advance through the PMH website,


Tuesday, April 28, 7:15 p.m. in the Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library

When Johnny Came Marching West – Curators Janet Kadin and Nick Smith discuss the development and storyline of the exhibition. Tickets: Free; no reservations required.


Thursday, May 14, 6:30 p.m. at Pasadena Museum of History

Civil War Medicine, On the Crossroads of Healing – Bert J. (Hans) Davidson, physician and Executive Director of the Civil War Medical Museum. Tickets: $20 General; $15 Museum Members.


Sunday, May 17, noon-5:00 p.m. at Pasadena Museum of History and participating venues

MOTA (Museums of the Arroyo) Day – Annual free day at six museums located on the Arroyo Seco. A Civil War re-enactor encampment featuring Company B of the 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry highlights activities at PMH, where visitors can also view the exhibits, enjoy children’s crafts, and take mini-tours of Fenyes Mansion and the Finnish Folk Art Museum. Tickets: Free.

Thursday, June 4, 6:30 p.m. at Pasadena Museum of History

Thaddeus Lowe: Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army – Curator Michael Patris presents an in-depth discussion of Thaddeus S.C. Lowe’s aeronautical career. Tickets: $20 General; $15 Museum Members.


Tuesday, July 21, 6:30 p.m. at Pasadena Museum of History

Darkly Adorned: Mourning & the Civil War – Kevin L. Jones, curator of FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, L.A., explores stages of mourning and the fashionableness of this style of dress during the 1860s. Tickets: $20 General; $15 Museum Members.



Photo, top right: John Brown (1846) by Augustus Washington.



² Italicized is official text provided by Pasadena Museum of History



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena