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Von Wooster Historical Figurines


Clive Von Wooster and Earl Von Wooster have donated a spectacular collection of seventeen handmade and hand painted Los Angeles Civil War figures to the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington. 

Each individual figure is unique, cast in molds made by hand by the Von Woosters. They created their own blend of materials to make the figures, cast them in dozens of handmade molds, and then destroyed the molds.  Each was painted in painstaking detail by Clive Von Wooster, whose drawings of Civil War artifacts and figures are on the walls of the Museum. Earl Von Wooster did the research required to ensure every item of information used to create the figures was historically accurate. These are truly one of a kind works of art.

"The detail of these figures has to be seen to be believed," says Museum Director Susan Ogle. "The tiny lines on a map, the intricate details of the medals worn by General R. C. Drum, the intricate design of the camel blanket, all are correctly depicted with the smallest of brush strokes."

The impressive collection includes figures of prominent Los Angeles Civil War residents such as Lt. Col. Richard Coulter Drum, Phineas Banning, Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, and Colonel James H. Carleton, leader of the famous California Column. The figures range from 12 to 22 inches high.

There are five figures of camels including a Bactrian, or two humped camel.  Shown riding on camelback are Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a Union Soldier and Hadji Ali, an Egyptian camel driver better known as "Hi Jolly".  In another, a camel kneels to be loaded with tents and "Goober beans", the Army name for peanuts.

One multi-figure display includes two Apache scouts and a grazing horse in the desert landscape of eastern California and Arizona.  Apache Indian Chiefs Cochise and Mangas Colorado are depicted as well.  "Billy Yank", the common name for any Union soldier and “Johnny Reb,” the common name for any Confederate soldier are included.

Other figures are a U.S. Army dispatch rider and a Mexican Volunteer soldier, both on horseback, and a U.S. Army drummer along with Phineas Banning, "Father of the Harbor" at Wilmington, Lt. Colonel Richard Coulter Drum for whom the military post was named, and Colonel James H. Carleton.  Maria de Jesus Yorba Wilson, the oldest daughter of Benjamin Wilson who with Phineas Banning donated the land for the military post of Drum Barracks, is depicted.

In order to display these in the best possible manner, David and Bettie Bean donated substantial funds for the building of three custom designed wood, glass and mirrored cases.  Donations from Mitchell Taylor and the architectural firm of SMI Architectural Millwork, Inc. in Santa Ana, the firm which designed and produced the custom cases, completed the project.

Donations Wanted! Civil War Artifacts and Books

Do you have Civil War related artifacts or books that you would like to donate to the Drum Barracks? Contact Museum Director, Tara Fansler, at 310-548-7509.