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Category Archives: SCCWA

Relating to Southern California Civil War Association

Prado Park – 12th Annual Civil War Event

We are excitedly readying ourselves for the 12th Annual Civil War Reenactment at Prado Regional Park, sponsored by the SCCWA. This wonderful event kicks off the season for our group every year and really is a lot of fun! This is a Boy Scout and Girl Scout event, so please be sure to click through to SCCWA for Scout information, registration forms and more.

This year, for Girl Scouts who come and visit us in Mrs. Brewer’s Parlour, we will have a special swap for girls to create. It is based on a lost 19th century sentimental craft called a Victorian Charm String. The history tells us that during the 1860s, girls began trading and collecting unique buttons and stringing them together. Each button should be different, and carry some special meaning. In some traditions, a girl would collect 999 buttons, and when she added the 1000th one, she would meet her Prince Charming. In other traditions, they were a bit of a competition between girls, trying to out-do one another in finding the most brilliant, most unique and most beautiful buttons.

These unique and wonderful strings of buttons are rare these days, but museums and private collections reveal amazing collections of wonderful buttons spanning 100 years in some cases. Some have buttons representing memories, much like a charm bracelet, others carry the buttons from wedding dresses, ball gowns, and other important milestones. For the Girl Scout swap, we will be offering a mini charm string for girls to wear, trade, and maybe even be inspired. You could easily adapt this for modern girls who want to collect fun buttons and trade them with their friends. We hope we will see you there!

Further reading on charm strings

Victorian Charm Strings reprinted from Bead and Button, 1995, via

Charm Strings by Jay Bailey, via the Oklahoma Historical Society

Victorian Charm Strings via Wellington County Museum, Ontairo Canada – with great photos and descriptions

Further information on Prado Park 12th Annual Civil War Event

Southern California Civil War Association website

Prado success, on to Costa Mesa

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What makes an award look even better? Two cute little girls holding it!

What makes an award look even better? Two cute little girls holding it!

We introduced a new “room” to our household at Prado – a wall tent as our bedroom – so our full household now features a kitchen, parlour, children’s play room and bedroom. It was a lot to set up, but the hard work paid off and we took 1st Place as the Most Authentic Civilian Camp for the second time. Squeee!

When we set up at Costa Mesa we will be just a diminutive version of our household, with a fly and small tent, but we will have our bookshop, and will be teaching handcrafts. Hope you will come out and join us!

2013 Season

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The 2013 Season for us is beginning this weekend at the Prado Park Civil War Encampment, Prado Regional Park, Chino, CA! We are excited to expand our household a little bit with the addition of a tent/bedroom, and we plan to camp over the weekend. We will have displays of children’s games and activities, the household, and our little bookshop with all original work available for a small donation.

This event is a fundraiser to support a Boy Scout Eagle program and people in scout uniforms get into the event for $2 – this includes Girl Scouts and leaders. So if you are a Daisy or an Eagle, wear your uniform and enjoy the day! Admission to the park is $10 per car and helps the park continue to provide space for great historical events like this one, camping, park and fishing facilities for the general public, and much more for the enhancement of the area.

Click over to the Southern California Civil War Association (SCCWA) website for more details. See you there!

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To Mrs. McCoy
New York, New York

My dear friend,

How good it was to visit with you during your stay in Mrs. Brewer’s lovely home. I could readily see that you are in good looks and vibrant health. I do hope your travels have not been too strenuous, that you found all well at home and hearth when you arrived, and that you are now exulting in the comfort of your own surroundings.

What a shame it is that the weather turned cold during your sojourn here. Though we were unable to sit on the veranda and admire Mrs. Brewer’s beautiful and colorful garden, the warmth of friendship more than made up for the lack of warmth in the air. It is always a pleasure to chat with friends over a cup of tea, whether indoors or out.

Our bookshop suffered a bit of a downturn this past weekend, when battle was engaged closer than ever to our town. The situation seemed almost intolerable what with the relentless din of the rifles, the great explosions from the cannons, and the thunder of the cavalry charging into the fray. Many townsfolk fled in anticipation of an invasion by the enemy, but our valiant soldiers protected us from such an awful fate, and the people returned to their homes safe and sound.

You will be pleased to know that we have taken your ideas to heart and developed new crafts to teach the younger members of our clientele. We were unable to test their popularity because of the recent unpleasantness, but we hope to soon see great success with their addition to our little shop. We expect another opportunityto test them out quite soon.

Please give my all my best to your loving husband, and best of luck with the rose bushes this summer.

In friendship and all sincerity,

Mrs. Marshall

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My dear Mrs. McCoy,

I am overjoyed that you and and your husband will be traveling to our home this spring for a visit. It has been  quite some time since last you were here. I greatly miss our time together with us so far apart. Letters are just not the same as you sitting in my parlour for a good gossip! The days are quite pleasant and the garden is just beginning to bloom. If weather permits, perhaps we will enjoy afternoon tea on the veranda during your visit.

I pray for your safe journey to our little town. Our townspeople fervently hope that we will have a rail stop in the not so distant future. If that should happen, it will improve travel quite significantly and bring much needed business to our community. But as with all things, the war has put such on hold and we must be patient.

I read in the newspaper that the armies are moving in such a way that there may be skirmishing nearby — but do not fear! We should be safe and away from any battle that may erupt. Last year there was a bit of a fuss and we did leave the house for a bit. We returned to see only a broken window or two. Some of the townspeople ventured to the hillside where there was an impressive view of the battle taking place in the nearby meadows. If trouble does move our way, I have confidence that our good soldiers will keep our neighborhood safe from the enemy.

If the army camps nearby, there the sutlers will follow with wares of all types for sale or barter.Their prices are so terribly inflated! But, what can we do? They import luxuries that are difficult to obtain in these tumultuous times. Oh! how I long for French Lavendar to mix in my soaps. But I must not complain, for we are are not behind the blockade. I have heard rumours of the many difficulties in obtaining even the barest necessities in places wasted by battle.

Both Mrs. Marvel and Mrs. Marshall wish me to send their good wishes for safe travel. They hope to join us for tea one afternoon during your stay, if business at the bookshop will allow. Business there has been quite steady in spite of the war. Many come to us for the latest news of the battles. I also believe that some look for escape from their daily woes within the pages of a book.

We are keeping ourselves together quite well. I look forward to seeing you soon.


Mrs. Caroline Brewer

Troops moving on toward Vista

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Dear Mother and Father,

I write to allay your fears and to assure you that Caroline and I, Melody and her father, Mrs Marshall and her family, all are safe and the armies have moved on from Prado Park. The battles were fierce, frightening and intense. The damage to the local countryside is very bad, with craters left from the mortar fire that rained down from above and the hills scarred with the breastworks built as deterrents to the opposers.

The contingent of soldiers left to supervise the burial detail have shown themselves to be fine and humble men tasked with the terrible responsibility of sorting out the dead and interring them. Furthermore, they have hired out some local men to remove the corpses of the many horses left on the field. It saddens me to see such a great loss of life of young men and livestock that could be put to such greater use to further our nation!

We hear that the troops are moving south and massing near Vista, California. Our hope is that the result will be much similar to that at Picachoo Pass out in Arizona. To settle the disputes without further loss of life would be the best outcome, though out here we do not get news until it is quite old and I ask that you please let us know if there is any chance for diplomacy any longer.

I have just finished a new dress for Melody, as she is moving into her short skirts! She is quite the little charmer and enjoyed twirling her skirts around her, much as Caroline and I did as girls. How the time flies so quickly. I will write again soon, dearest parents, and pray that you are well and safe.

Your loving daughter,


Troops Seen Massing at Prado Regional Park

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My Dearest Husband,

Time draws onward and I find myself missing you terribly. I do hope you are keeping well out in the elements with the Army and that my last letter arrived with the blanket intact. Spring is starting to blossom in the garden. The bulbs are sending their stems skyward and I eagerly anticipate the burst of color their blooms will bring to brighten my days.

As every day passes we hear terrible news from the front lines of the war. Just last week Mrs. Henderson received word that her son was killed in action down in South Carolina. It is such a tragedy that his mortal remains will stay down in the south so far away from his mother. She wept with such great sorrow, but has turned her attention to her grandchildren who will need her and Mr. Henderson now all the more.

On lighter news we had word that your cousin, Lieutenant George Brewer, is back in port with his shipmates in the Navy for a week or so. Dear Margaret is so happy to be with him for even a short time.

While the news here is both happy and sad, the war has been creeping ever closer to our own door step. By April we will be hearing cannon as close as Prado Regional Park. This is almost more than we should hope to bear, but word is out that the Federal troops will be bivouacking there, which undoubtedly will bring Confederate troops not too far behind them. I just know that our boys will prevail and take the day. There will also be time for some visiting with old friends at this time, too. Widow Peters from Kansas Mercantile will be passing through with her wares, as she follows the army on its marches. I do hope we will be able to make a visit to her humble establishment at that time without thought of injury from gun fire.

As always, my dearest husband, you are next to my heart in thought and prayer. I long for the day when I see you come up the walk to stay home permanently.

Until then, I remain your faithful wife,



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