PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE
Here with the wind - Event re-creates era of Civil War
Chino Champion (CA) - Saturday, July 24, 2010
Author: Brenda Dunkle
Briggs Fundamental School eighth-graders took a step back in time this
spring when their school's playground became a Civil War battlefield,
complete with makeshift tents and Union and Confederate soldiers.
For the fifth year, Briggs' junior high physical education teacher Brad
Richardson brought his love of the Civil War to the Chino kindergarten
through eighth-grade school.
A Civil War re-enactor for 10 years, Mr. Richardson organized the May
28 event that included several of his fellow re-enactors from the
American Civil War Society presenting facts about the war, a Civil War
era fashion show, the tent encampment, military training, and a mock
The PE teacher got the idea to do a Civil War Day several years ago
after Briggs teacher Mike Silva asked Mr. Richardson to bring a
re-enactor to his history class. Mr. Silva was also involved in this
year's event, coordinating a lunch of fried chicken and baked beans.
Mr. Richardson said the eighth-graders studied the Civil War in their
English, history and science classes during May. They covered the war's
history, literature, medicine, and inventions. Mr. Richardson taught
students to march and drill Civil War-style in his physical education
On Civil War Day, the students were divided into six companies so they
could rotate their time at each of the different displays. The
companies also competed in making tents out of bedding and pipe.
Steve Pavich of Fountain Valley, a re-enactor, retired high school
principal and former eighth-grade history teacher, showed a foraging
cap to the Briggs students. He said it was made deep so soldiers could
fill it with berries, nuts and other items they might find in the
nearby fields and woods. He explained that women of the era rarely
washed their dresses because the numerous undergarments they wore kept
the dress from touching their skin. Mr. Pavich also displayed several
of the Civil War weapons he has collected in 10 years.
David Oneslager of Bellflower told how soldiers would bite down on
their lead bullets because lead is sweet. He said some would die from
that practice because of lead poisoning.
Ken Frey of Whittier portrayed the famous Confederate General George
Pickett, who is best remembered for the unsuccessful assault at the
Battle of Gettysburg that bears his name. Mr. Frey told the students
about the famous officer and his family and said General Pickett died
in 1875 of liver failure from "too much elixir."
Steven and Patrice Demory of Anaheim, as inventor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe
and his wife Leontine, gave a living history talk about the couple. Mr.
Lowe was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to organize and command
the U.S. Balloon Corps, the forerunner of today's Air Force. Using the
first aerial telegraph station, Mr. Lowe reported Confederate troop
movements he observed from his gas-borne balloons. He is also known for
building the first aircraft carrier in 1861, the first aerial
spotlight, the first ice plant and the first commercial refrigeration
Mrs. Lowe worked with her husband building the balloons and once
rescued her husband from behind enemy lines when he was forced to land
after the first battle of Bull Run.
Other items on display at the Civil War Day included currency, swords,
paintings of Civil War battles, caps, coats, knives and spyglasses.
Parents, teachers and students modeled Civil War costumes made by seamstress Marion Weiler of Claremont.
Briggs teachers Brenda Hines and Mary Jean Sporman made an Underground
Railroad-themed patchwork quilt to be donated to the family of former
Briggs student Abe Simpson, who was killed Nov. 9, 2004, during the
battle of Fallujah in Iraq. Students attending the Civil War Day were
asked to put personal messages to Marine Lance Cpl. Simpson's family on
blocks of the quilt.
Students also learned how to use signal flags. The day ended with a mock battle.
BEFORE THE WAR
CIVIL WAR YEARS
INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY
PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS
MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY
AFTER THE RAILWAY
BOOKS ABOUT LOWE
EVENTS AND REUNIONS
ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY
ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS
LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES