In late 2010, having volunteered to assist Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, California, with research in pro-secession activity in California, director Susan Ogle handed me a list of names, places and events for possible investigation. One of those names was that of Dan Showalter, a California politician turned Confederate cavalry officer of whom I'd never heard.

Becoming fascinated just after reading the barest outline of Showalter's life, the next year found me hunting down everything I could find about this largely forgotten character. When I had finished my research -- which included the discovery of several previously unpublished items as well as obtaining the only known photograph from a Showalter descendent -- I had so much material that Susan exclaimed, "You've got a whole exhibit right here!"

And with her guidance, on November 5, 2011, co-curated by myself and Susan Ogle, my "Dan Showalter: California's Arch Rebel" exhibit went on display at the Drum.

Now being slated for removal in August 2012 in that ongoing round of ever-successive new exhibits that mark good museums, I've started this website as a place where, over time, I can memorialize and expand upon all the material accumulated on this remarkable Californian.

Hope you'll return often as this website expands and enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013


Just thought I'd put up a little update on things for anyone -- is there anyone? -- who might actually be following this blog.

Gene Armistead and I continue to make progress on The Book. It goes in fits and starts around all of the necessities of life and labor, but it's progressing. There should be some really great history in this book -- I'm surprised at how much information there really is on a seemingly obscure historical character, and how more keeps popping up! A work like this, dealing with a man whose story literally spans states and even countries, would have been tremendously difficult to put together not that many years ago; it's truly amazing the information we still come across thanks to the Internet.

And descendants! I am continually amazed at the contacts I've made through this whole process. Gene, of course, is one of those who I most likely never have met had it not been through Internet publication of this blog and the earlier publication of the Drum Barracks exhibit from which this blog stems. But thanks to the Internet, I've now had contacts from descendants from no less than five Showalter lines, from F.E. Kavanaugh, from Lt. Chauncy Wellman, and two from Miss Anna Forman (later Mrs. Peters). It really is remarkable. So a big shout out to Susan and John, Ed, Kenton, Bob, Fannie, Shirley, Larry and Bruce!

Gene and I think there will really be some remarkable history -- and some ground-breaking history -- in our work, so we're really looking forward to completing it and getting it on to a publisher. We're very fortunate in that we've had expressions of interest early on from two publishers, so it looks like this thing may actually happen. I will periodically update as progress continues.