John Brown
American revolutionary abolitionist
John Brown
John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre, during which four men were killed, in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas, and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. Later that year he was executed but his speeches at the trial captured national attention.
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THIS LAND; North Providence Police Chief Finds Crisis in a Storm
NYTimes - over 5 years
PAWTUCKET, R.I. In the rain and gust of a morning tropical storm, two cars race through an exhausted stretch of the old mill city of Pawtucket, past rows of triple-deckers where the space is cheap and the stacked stories loom. The flashing lights of the second car announce to all that no good will come of this. The car being pursued, a green Ford
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THE 9/11 DECADE; On a Haunted Shore, a Struggle to Let Go
NYTimes - over 5 years
Just off the boardwalk, towheaded children bounced on a blow-up trampoline. Grown-ups bantered and showed off babies. An annual charity event was starting off summer on the Rockaway peninsula, a sliver of Queens jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. In the usual place of honor, between the Budweiser and the barbecue, stood photographs of grinning young
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Karen Kinnaman, John Miller Jr.
NYTimes - over 5 years
Dr. Karen Anne Kinnaman, the daughter of Eileen and William A. Kinnaman Jr. of Woodstock, N.Y., was married in Winchester, Mass., Saturday to Dr. John Brown Miller Jr., a son of Dr. Joan W. Miller and Mr. Miller of Winchester. The Rev. Dr. George W. Waterbury, a minister of the United Church of Christ, performed the ceremony at the First
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Stetson Kennedy, 94; Infiltrated the Klan and Exposed It
NYTimes - over 5 years
Stetson Kennedy, a folklorist and social crusader who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and wrote a lurid exposé of its activities, ''I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan,'' died on Saturday in St. Augustine, Fla. He was 94. The cause was complications of bleeding of the brain, said his wife, Sandra Parks. Mr. Kennedy developed his sense of racial
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NEW Oldest Christian Church given even older Bibles - Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Google News - over 5 years
John Brown. The Bible probably was published in the late 1700's by William Mackenzie of Howard Street, Glasgow, Scotland. DIXIE -- History of early Southeast Washington and biblical knowledge fairly seep from the pages of two old Bibles that have come
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Jim McClure: John Brown's raid raises ethical questions - York Daily Record
Google News - over 5 years
This pike, in the collection of the York County Heritage Trust, is credited as coming from John Brown s Raid. In a recent presentation in York, history professor John Quist said abolitionist John Brown gathered 950 of these pikes before his raid on
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Naismith, John Brown among 'Notable Kansans' - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
The latest list includes John Brown, who led a fight to abolish slavery from Osawatomie; former US Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker, who served from 1978 to 1997; and Fred Harvey, whose dining room at the Santa Fe Railway's Topeka depot grew into the
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$25 AND UNDER; Where Smoking Is Preferred
NYTimes - over 5 years
NOT long ago New York was bereft of true barbecue, save for one outpost called Pearson's in Long Island City, Queens. Since its departure, notable practitioners of the craft were largely absent from the area, until the recent opening of JOHN BROWN SMOKEHOUSE, 25-08 37th Avenue (Crescent Avenue); (718) 361-0085; johnbrownsmokehouse.org. Not
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John Brown Smokehouse and Mable's Smokehouse - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
Since its departure, notable practitioners of the craft were largely absent from the area, until the recent opening of JOHN BROWN SMOKEHOUSE, 25-08 37th Avenue (Crescent Avenue); (718) 361-0085; johnbrownsmokehouse.org. Not everything is amazing
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Howard Swint: What ever happened to the John Brown Bell? - Charleston Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Marlborough, Mass. organizations affixed a plaque on a tower built to house the "John Brown Bell" bell taken by Massachusetts soldiers from the US Armory in Harpers Ferry in 1861. Harpers Ferry is West Virginia's most historic location
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The Listings
NYTimes - over 5 years
Dance Full reviews of recent performances: nytimes.com/dance. - Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (Friday through Sunday) This company has created an admirable niche for itself on the United States dance landscape by specializing in small-scale contemporary ballets from a notably international range of choreographers. At Jacob's Pillow there is an all-European
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John Brown bell tug-of-war renewed - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Does a bell from the Harpers Ferry firehouse where violent abolitionist John Brown barricaded himself in 1859 belong in West Virginia or Massachusetts? Charleston resident Howard Swint is renewing his efforts to return the artifact
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John Brown sledgehammer goes to Marine museum - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
It was one of the tools Marines used in their efforts to bash open the doors of the firehouse at Harpers Ferry where radical abolitionist John Brown had barricaded himself and others in 1853. Brown failed to secure the guns he needed to start an armed
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Brown
    FIFTIES
  • 1859
    Age 58
    Died in 1859.
    More Details Hide Details
    On the morning of December 2, 1859, Brown wrote: "I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.
    More Details Hide Details I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done." He read his Bible and wrote a final letter to his wife, which included his will. At 11:00 a.m. he was escorted from the county jail through a crowd of 2,000 soldiers a few blocks away to a small field where the gallows were. Among the soldiers in the crowd were future Confederate general Stonewall Jackson and John Wilkes Booth, who borrowed a militia uniform to gain admission to the execution. The poet Walt Whitman, in Year of Meteors, described viewing the execution. Brown was accompanied by the sheriff and his assistants, but no minister since he had consistently rejected the ministrations of pro-slavery clergy. Since the region was in the grips of virtual hysteria, most northerners, including journalists, were run out of town, and it is unlikely any anti-slavery clergyman would have been safe, even if one were to have sought to visit Brown. He elected to receive no religious services in the jail or at the scaffold. He was hanged at 11:15 am and pronounced dead at 11:50 am. His body was placed in a wooden coffin with the noose still around his neck. His coffin was then put on a train to take it away from Virginia to his family homestead in New York for burial. In the North, large memorial meetings took place, church bells rang, minute guns were fired, and famous writers such as Emerson and Thoreau joined many Northerners in praising Brown.
    On October 16, 1859, Brown (leaving three men behind as a rear guard) led 18 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory.
    More Details Hide Details He had received 200 Beecher's Bibles — breechloading .52 (13.2 mm) caliber Sharps rifles — and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation for the raid. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. They would then head south, drawing off more and more slaves from plantations, and fighting only in self-defense. As Frederick Douglass and Brown's family testified, his strategy was essentially to deplete Virginia of its slaves, causing the institution to collapse in one county after another, until the movement spread into the South, essentially wreaking havoc on the economic viability of the pro-slavery states. Initially, the raid went well, and they met no resistance entering the town. They cut the telegraph wires and easily captured the armory, which was being defended by a single watchman. They next rounded up hostages from nearby farms, including Colonel Lewis Washington, great-grandnephew of George Washington. They also spread the news to the local slaves that their liberation was at hand. Things started to go wrong when an eastbound Baltimore & Ohio train approached the town. The train's baggage master tried to warn the passengers. Brown's men yelled for him to halt and then opened fire. The baggage master, Hayward Shepherd, became the first casualty of Brown's war against slavery. Ironically, Shepherd was a free black man.
    Douglass had actually known about Brown's plans from early in 1859 and had made a number of efforts to discourage blacks from enlisting.
    More Details Hide Details In late September, the 950 pikes arrived from Charles Blair. Kagi's draft plan called for a brigade of 4,500 men, but Brown had only 21 men (16 white and 5 black: three free blacks, one freed slave, and a fugitive slave). They ranged in age from 21 to 49. Twelve had been with Brown in Kansas raids.
    He asked Tubman to gather former slaves then living in present-day Southern Ontario who might be willing to join his fighting force, which she did. Brown arrived in Harpers Ferry on July 3, 1859.
    More Details Hide Details A few days later, under the name Isaac Smith, he rented a farmhouse in nearby Maryland. He awaited the arrival of his recruits. They never materialized in the numbers he expected. In late August he met with Douglass in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where he revealed the Harpers Ferry plan. Douglass expressed severe reservations, rebuffing Brown's pleas to join the mission.
    On March 12, 1859, Brown met with Frederick Douglass and Detroit abolitionists George DeBaptiste, William Lambert, and others at William Webb's house in Detroit to discuss emancipation.
    More Details Hide Details DeBaptiste proposed that conspirators blow up some of the South's largest churches. The suggestion was opposed by Brown, who felt humanity precluded such unnecessary bloodshed. Over the course of the next few months, he traveled again through Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts to draw up more support for the cause. On May 9, he delivered a lecture in Concord, Massachusetts. In attendance were Bronson Alcott, Emerson and Thoreau. Brown reconnoitered with the Secret Six. In June he paid his last visit to his family in North Elba, before he departed for Harpers Ferry. He stayed one night en route in Hagerstown, Maryland at the Washington House, on West Washington Street. On June 30, 1859 the hotel had at least 25 guests, including I. Smith and Sons, Oliver Smith and Owen Smith and Jeremiah Anderson, all from New York. From papers found in the Kennedy Farmhouse after the raid, it is known that Brown wrote to Kagi that he would sign into a hotel as I. Smith and Sons.
    On January 20, 1859, he embarked on a lengthy journey to take the eleven liberated slaves to Detroit and then on a ferry to Canada.
    More Details Hide Details While passing through Chicago, Brown met with Allan Pinkerton who arranged and raised the fare for the passage to Detroit.
    In 1859 he led a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry.
    More Details Hide Details During the raid, he seized the armory; seven people were killed, and ten or more were injured. He intended to arm slaves with weapons from the arsenal, but the attack failed. Within 36 hours, Brown's men had fled or been killed or captured by local pro-slavery farmers, militiamen, and U.S. Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Brown's subsequent capture by federal forces seized the nation's attention, as Southerners feared it was just the first of many Northern plots to cause a slave rebellion that might endanger their lives, while Republicans dismissed the notion and claimed they would not interfere with slavery in the South. Historians agree John Brown played a major role in the start of the Civil War. Historian David Potter has said the emotional effect of Brown's raid was greater than the philosophical effect of the Lincoln–Douglas debates, and that his raid revealed a deep division between North and South. Some writers, including Bruce Olds, describe him as a monomaniacal zealot; others, such as Stephen B. Oates, regard him as "one of the most perceptive human beings of his generation." David S. Reynolds hails him as the man who "killed slavery, sparked the civil war, and seeded civil rights" and Richard Owen Boyer emphasizes that Brown was "an American who gave his life that millions of other Americans might be free." The song John Brown's Body made him a martyr and was a popular Union marching song during the Civil War.
    Brown's attempt in 1859 to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (later part of West Virginia), electrified the nation.
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    In 1859, Brown led an unsuccessful raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry that ended with the multi-racial group's capture.
    More Details Hide Details Brown's trial resulted in his conviction and a sentence of death by hanging.
  • 1858
    Age 57
    As the October elections saw a free-state victory, Kansas was quiet. Brown made his men return to Iowa, where he fed them tidbits of his Virginia scheme. In January 1858, Brown left his men in Springdale, Iowa, and set off to visit Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York.
    More Details Hide Details There he discussed his plans with Douglass, and reconsidered Forbes' criticisms. Brown wrote a Provisional Constitution that would create a government for a new state in the region of his invasion. Brown then traveled to Peterboro, New York, and Boston to discuss matters with the Secret Six. In letters to them, he indicated that, along with recruits, he would go into the South equipped with weapons to do "Kansas work". Brown and twelve of his followers, including his son Owen, traveled to Chatham, Ontario, where he convened on May 10 a Constitutional Convention. The convention, with several dozen delegates including his friend James Madison Bell, was put together with the help of Dr. Martin Delany. One-third of Chatham's 6,000 residents were fugitive slaves, and it was here that Brown was introduced to Harriet Tubman. The convention assembled 34 blacks and 12 whites to adopt Brown's Provisional Constitution. According to Delany, during the convention, Brown illuminated his plans to make Kansas rather than Canada the end of the Underground Railroad. This would be the Subterranean Pass Way. Delany's reflections are not entirely trustworthy. Brown was no longer looking toward Kansas and was entirely focused on Virginia. Other testimony from the Chatham meeting suggests Brown did speak of going South. Brown had long used the terminology of the Subterranean Pass Way from the late 1840s, so it is possible that Delany conflated Brown's statements over the years.
  • 1856
    Age 55
    By November 1856, Brown had returned to the East, and spent the next two years in New England raising funds.
    More Details Hide Details Initially, Brown returned to Springfield, where he received contributions, and also a letter of recommendation from a prominent and wealthy merchant, Mr. George Walker. George Walker was the brother-in-law of Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, the secretary for the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee, who later introduced Brown to several influential abolitionists in the Boston area in January 1857. Amos Adams Lawrence, a prominent Boston merchant, secretly gave a large amount of cash. William Lloyd Garrison, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Theodore Parker and George Luther Stearns, and Samuel Gridley Howe also supported Brown. A group of six wealthy abolitionists Sanborn, Higginson, Parker, Stearns, Howe, and Gerrit Smith agreed to offer Brown financial support for his antislavery activities; they would eventually provide most of the financial backing for the raid on Harpers Ferry, and would come to be known as the Secret Six and the Committee of Six. Brown often requested help from them with "no questions asked" and it remains unclear of how much of Brown's scheme the Secret Six were aware.
    On the morning of August 30, 1856, they shot and killed Brown's son Frederick and his neighbor David Garrison on the outskirts of Osawatomie.
    More Details Hide Details Brown, outnumbered more than seven to one, arranged his 38 men behind natural defenses along the road. Firing from cover, they managed to kill at least 20 of Reid's men and wounded 40 more. Reid regrouped, ordering his men to dismount and charge into the woods. Brown's small group scattered and fled across the Marais des Cygnes River. One of Brown's men was killed during the retreat and four were captured. While Brown and his surviving men hid in the woods nearby, the Missourians plundered and burned Osawatomie. Despite being defeated, Brown's bravery and military shrewdness in the face of overwhelming odds brought him national attention and made him a hero to many Northern abolitionists, who gave him the nickname "Osawatomie Brown". This incident was dramatized in the play Osawatomie Brown. On September 7, Brown entered Lawrence to meet with Free State leaders and help fortify against a feared assault. At least 2,700 pro-slavery Missourians were once again invading Kansas. On September 14, they skirmished near Lawrence. Brown prepared for battle, but serious violence was averted when the new governor of Kansas, John W. Geary, ordered the warring parties to disarm and disband, and offered clemency to former fighters on both sides. Brown, taking advantage of the fragile peace, left Kansas with three of his sons to raise money from supporters in the North.
    Brown's beloved father, Owen, died on May 8, 1856.
    More Details Hide Details Correspondence indicates that John Brown and his family received word of his death around the same time. Brown conducted surveillance on encamped "ruffians" in his vicinity and learned that his family was marked for attack, and furthermore was given supposedly reliable information as to pro-slavery neighbors who had aligned and supported these forces. Speaking of the threats that were supposedly the justification for the massacre, Free State leader Charles Robinson stated, "When it is known that such threats were as plenty as blue-berries in June, on both sides, all over the Territory, and were regarded as of no more importance than the idle wind, this indictment will hardly justify midnight assassination of all pro-slavery men, whether making threats or not... Had all men been killed in Kansas who indulged in such threats, there would have been none left to bury the dead."
    Brown was particularly affected by the sacking of Lawrence in May 1856, in which a sheriff-led posse destroyed newspaper offices and a hotel.
    More Details Hide Details Only one man, a Border Ruffian, was killed. Preston Brooks's caning of anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner in the United States Senate also fueled Brown's anger. A pro-slavery writer, Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow, of the Squatter Sovereign, wrote that "forces are determined to repel this Northern invasion, and make Kansas a Slave State; though our rivers should be covered with the blood of their victims, and the carcasses of the Abolitionists should be so numerous in the territory as to breed disease and sickness, we will not be deterred from our purpose" (quoted in Reynolds, p. 162). Brown was outraged by both the violence of the pro-slavery forces, and what he saw as a weak and cowardly response by the antislavery partisans and the Free State settlers, whom he described as "cowards, or worse" (Reynolds, pp. 163–64).
    What we need is action—action!" During the Kansas campaign, he and his supporters killed five pro-slavery supporters in what became known as the Pottawatomie massacre in May 1856 in response to the sacking of Lawrence, Kansas by pro-slavery forces.
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  • 1855
    Age 54
    As reported by the New York Tribune, Brown stopped en route to participate in an anti-slavery convention that took place in June 1855 in Albany, New York.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the controversy that ensued on the convention floor regarding the support of violent efforts on behalf of the free state cause, several individuals provided Brown some solicited financial support. As he went westward, however, Brown found more militant support in his home state of Ohio, particularly in the strongly anti-slavery Western Reserve section where he had been reared. Brown and the free settlers were optimistic that they could bring Kansas into the union as a slavery-free state. After the winter snows thawed in 1856, the pro-slavery activists began a campaign to seize Kansas on their own terms.
    In 1855, Brown learned from his adult sons in the Kansas territory that their families were completely unprepared to face attack, and that pro-slavery forces there were militant.
    More Details Hide Details Determined to protect his family and oppose the advances of slavery supporters, Brown left for Kansas, enlisting a son-in-law and making several stops just to collect funds and weapons.
  • 1854
    Age 53
    Some popular narrators have exaggerated the unfortunate demise of Brown and Perkins' wool commission in Springfield with Brown's later life choices. In actuality, Perkins absorbed much of the financial loss, and their partnership continued for several more years, with Brown nearly breaking even by 1854.
    More Details Hide Details Brown's time in Springfield sowed the seeds for the future financial support that he would receive from New England's great merchants, introduced him to nationally famous abolitionists like Douglass and Truth, and included the foundation of his first militant anti-slavery group The League of Gileadites. During this time, Brown also helped publicize David Walker's speech called Appeal. Brown's personal attitudes evolved in Springfield, as he observed the success of the city's Underground Railroad and made his first venture into militant, anti-slavery community organizing. In speeches, he pointed to the martyrs Elijah Lovejoy and Charles Turner Torrey as whites "ready to help blacks challenge slave-catchers." In Springfield, Brown found a city that shared his own anti-slavery passions, and each seemed to educate the other. Certainly, with both successes and failures, Brown's Springfield years were a transformative period of his life, which catalyzed many of his later actions.
  • FORTIES
  • 1850
    Age 49
    On leaving Springfield in 1850, Brown gave his rocking chair to the mother of his beloved black porter, Thomas Thomas, as a gesture of affection.
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    Upon leaving Springfield in 1850, Brown instructed the League of Gileadites to act "quickly, quietly, and efficiently" to protect slaves that escaped to Springfield – words that would foreshadow Brown's later actions preceding Harper's Ferry.
    More Details Hide Details It is worth noting that from Brown's founding of the League of Gileadites onward, not one person was ever taken back into slavery from Springfield.
    Before Brown left Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1850, the United States passed the notorious Fugitive Slave Act, a law which mandated that authorities in free states aid in the return of escaped slaves and imposed penalties on those who aided in their escape.
    More Details Hide Details In response to the Fugitive Slave Act, John Brown founded a militant group to prevent slaves' capture – The League of Gileadites – in Springfield. In the Bible, Mount Gilead was the place where only the bravest of Israelites would gather together to face an invading enemy. Brown founded the League of Gileadites with these words, "Nothing so charmes the American people as personal bravery. Blacks would have ten times the number white friends than they now have were they but half as much in earnest to secure their dearest rights as they are to ape the follies and extravagances of their white neighbors, and to indulge in idle show, in ease, and in luxury."
  • 1849
    Age 48
    With this misfortune, the Perkins and Brown wool commission operation closed in Springfield in late 1849.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequent lawsuits tied up the partners for several more years.
  • 1847
    Age 46
    In 1847, after speaking at the "Free Church", abolitionist Frederick Douglass spent a night speaking with Brown, after which he wrote, "From this night spent with John Brown in Springfield, Mass. 1847 while I continued to write and speak against slavery, I became all the same less hopeful for its peaceful abolition.
    More Details Hide Details My utterances became more and more tinged by the color of this man's strong impressions." While in Springfield, as Brown learned more about abolitionism and the Underground Railroad, he also learned more about the region's mercantile elite, knowledge which while initially a 'curse', proved ultimately to be a 'blessing' to Brown's later activities in Kansas and at Harper's Ferry. Springfield's mercantile elite reacted with hesitation to change their theretofore highly profitable formula of low-quality wool sold en masse for low prices. Initially, Brown naively trusted Springfield's manufacturers, but soon came to realize that they were determined to maintain their control of price-setting. Also, on the outskirts of Springfield, the Connecticut River Valley's sheep farmers were largely unorganized and hesitant to change their methods of production to meet higher standards. In the Ohio Cultivator, Brown and other wool growers complained that the Connecticut River Valley's farmers' tendencies were lowering all U.S. wool prices abroad. In reaction, Brown made a last-ditch effort to overcome the Pioneer Valley's wool mercantile elite by seeking an alliance with European-based manufacturers. Ultimately, Brown was disappointed to learn that Europe wanted to buy Western Massachusetts's wools en masse at the cheap prices they'd been getting from them. Brown then traveled to England to seek a higher price for Springfield's wool. The trip was a disaster, as the firm incurred a loss of $40,000 (over $980,000 in today's dollars), of which Col. Perkins bore the larger share.
  • 1846
    Age 45
    From 1846 until he left Springfield in 1850, John Brown was a parishioner at the Free Church, where he witnessed abolitionist lectures by Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.
    More Details Hide Details Indeed, during Brown's time in Springfield, he became deeply involved in transforming the city into a major center of abolitionism, and one of the safest and most significant stops on the Underground Railroad. Brown's Bible is still on display at St. John's Congregational Church in Springfield, which to this day remains one of the Northeast's most prominent black churches.
  • 1844
    Age 43
    Two years before Brown's arrival in Springfield, in 1844, the city's African-American abolitionists had founded the Sanford Street "Free Church" – now known as St. John's Congregational Church – which went on to become one of the United States most prominent platforms for abolitionist speeches.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1839
    Age 38
    He suffered great financial losses in the economic crisis of 1839, which struck the western states more severely than had the Panic of 1837.
    More Details Hide Details Following the heavy borrowing trends of Ohio, many businessmen like Brown trusted too heavily in credit and state bonds and paid dearly for it. In one episode of property loss, Brown was even jailed when he attempted to retain ownership of a farm by occupying it against the claims of the new owner. Like other determined men of his time and background, he tried many different business efforts in an attempt to get out of debt. Along with tanning hides and cattle trading, he also undertook horse and sheep breeding, the last of which was to become a notable aspect of his pre-public vocation.
  • 1837
    Age 36
    In 1837, in response to the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy, Brown publicly vowed: "Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!" Brown was declared bankrupt by a federal court on September 28, 1842.
    More Details Hide Details In 1843, four of his children died of dysentery. As Louis DeCaro Jr shows in his biographical sketch (2007), from the mid-1840s Brown had built a reputation as an expert in fine sheep and wool, and entered into a partnership with Col. Simon Perkins of Akron, Ohio, whose flocks and farms were managed by Brown and sons. Brown eventually moved into a home with his family across the street from the Perkins Stone Mansion located on Perkins Hill. The John Brown House (Akron, Ohio) still stands and is owned and operated by The Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio. In 1846, Brown and his business partner Simon Perkins moved to the ideologically progressive city of Springfield, Massachusetts. In Springfield, Brown found a community whose white leadership – from the community's most prominent churches, to its most wealthy businessmen, to its most popular politicians, to its local jurists, and even to the publisher of one of the nation's most influential newspapers – were deeply involved and emotionally invested in the anti-slavery movement. Brown and Perkins' intent was to represent the interests of the Connecticut River Valley's wool growers against the interests of the region's wool manufacturers – thus Brown and Perkins set up a wool commission operation. While in Springfield, Brown lived in a house at 51 Franklin Street.
  • 1836
    Age 35
    In 1836, Brown moved his family to Franklin Mills, Ohio (now known as Kent).
    More Details Hide Details There he borrowed money to buy land in the area, building and operating a tannery along the Cuyahoga River in partnership with Zenas Kent.
  • 1833
    Age 32
    On June 14, 1833, Brown married 16-year-old Mary Ann Day (April 15, 1817 – May 1, 1884), originally from Washington County, New York.
    More Details Hide Details They eventually had 13 children, in addition to the seven children from his previous marriage.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1825
    Age 24
    In 1825, Brown and his family moved to New Richmond, Pennsylvania, where he bought of land.
    More Details Hide Details He cleared an eighth of it and built a cabin, a barn, and a tannery. The John Brown Tannery Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Within a year, the tannery employed 15 men. Brown made money raising cattle and surveying. He helped to establish a post office and a school. During this period, Brown operated an interstate business involving cattle and leather production along with a kinsman, Seth Thompson, from eastern Ohio. In 1831, one of his sons died. Brown fell ill, and his businesses began to suffer, leaving him in terrible debt. In the summer of 1832, shortly after the death of a newborn son, his wife Dianthe died.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1820
    Age 19
    In 1820, Brown married Dianthe Lusk.
    More Details Hide Details Their first child, John Jr, was born 13 months later.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1805
    Age 4
    In 1805, the family moved to Hudson, Ohio, where Owen Brown opened a tannery.
    More Details Hide Details Brown's father became a supporter of the Oberlin Institute (original name of Oberlin College) in its early stage, although he was ultimately critical of the school's "Perfectionist" leanings, especially renowned in the preaching and teaching of Charles Finney and Asa Mahan. Brown withdrew his membership from the Congregational church in the 1840s and never officially joined another church, but both he and his father Owen were fairly conventional evangelicals for the period with its focus on the pursuit of personal righteousness. Brown's personal religion is fairly well documented in the papers of the Rev Clarence Gee, a Brown family expert, now held in the Hudson Ohio Library and Historical Society. Brown's father had as an apprentice Jesse R. Grant, father of future general and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. At the age of 16, Brown left his family and went to Plainfield, Massachusetts, where he enrolled in a preparatory program. Shortly afterward, he transferred to the Morris Academy in Litchfield, Connecticut. He hoped to become a Congregationalist minister, but money ran out and he suffered from eye inflammations, which forced him to give up the academy and return to Ohio. In Hudson, he worked briefly at his father's tannery before opening a successful tannery of his own outside of town with his adopted brother.
  • 1800
    Born
    John Brown was born May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details He was the fourth of the eight children of Owen Brown (February 16, 1771 May 8, 1856) and Ruth Mills (January 25, 1772 December 9, 1808) and grandson of Capt. John Brown (1728–1776). Brown could trace his ancestry back to 17th-century English Puritans.
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