“Was John Brown Insane?” – Dennis Frye

530 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710021824/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/did-john-brown-succeed-dennis-frye/

The following is a truncated transcript of Mr. Frye’s discussion, noting the times of statements. The video from which Mr. Frye’s statements are taken is no longer available online.

:11 I think it’s very important to put quotation marks around the word “insane.”

:36 John Brown is much more complex . . .

:58 Does cause equate to “insanity?” Brown’s cause is the elimination of slavery . . .

1:38 He (John Brown) will tell you that that is not his mission. “That’s God’s mission . . .”

1:58 Is John Brown “insane” because he’s following “God’s Will?”

2:23 When he (John Brown) came to trial, the defense attorneys believed that the only way to save Brown from the gallows was through an insanity plea . . .

3:02 Now, of course, he will be found guilty of murder, treason, slave insurrection . . . but Brown felt he was totally sane . . .

3:22 Brown put the law of the land beneath the law of God . . .

3:58 So the battle became between man’s law – which can look at Brown and say: “You are insane” for violating our law, our common law, our common protections, our commonality – and God’s law . . .

Video:

Frye, Dennis. “Was John Brown Insane?.” American Military University Civil War Scholars. 14 April 2011. Web. 2 May 2011. Posted:

Flickr Set:

File:John Brown Painting.JPG
“Tragic Prelude” by John Steuart Curry (Kansas State Capitol in Topeka). Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 2 May 2011.

BrownNPG.jpg
“John Brown, 1872, Oil on canvas by Ole Peter Hansen Balling.”
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. 11 June 2008. Web. 3 May 2011.

john_brown_standing_trial.jpg
Strother, David H. “Drawings of David Hunter Strother.” West Virginia History Online Digital Collections. 9 Nov. 1999 Web. 10 Feb. 2011.

john_brown_hanged.jpg
Ibid.

riley’s_davy.jpg
Ibid.

Jefferson County, Virginia 1860 – A Profile of Prosperity

2061 words.

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710014431/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/jefferson-county-1860-a-profile-of-prosperity/

In Jefferson County in 1860, of a total population of 14,535, 10,575 were free; 4,471 were black, either enslaved or free.

AGRICULTURE:

Farm Sizes: 2 between 3-9 acres; 4 between 10-19 acres; 22 between 20-49 acres; 67 between 50-99 acres; 356 between 100-499 acres; 12 between 500-999 acres; none over a thousand acres.

Total improved acres: 85,735. Total farms: 463.

Rank in 1860 among ten Shenandoah Valley Counties in bushels of wheat: No. 1; bushels of corn: No. 4; bushels of oats: No. 6; bushels of Rye: No. 7.

Rank in 1860 among ten Shenandoah Valley Counties in horses: No. 6; swine: No. 4; sheep No, 5; beef cattle: No. 5.

NOTE: Jefferson County is considerably smaller than some of these counties.

SCHOOLS:

“Schools were among the first to suffer (from war-ED). All four counties of the lower Valley had public school systems directed by elected school commissioners and county superintendents. In Frederick, Clarke, and Berkeley counties, the public schools were merely poor law schools to provide elementary education for all the white children whose parents could not pay for their schooling. Jefferson County had a system of ‘free schools for the education of all classes.’ Actually even the latter charge of fifty cents per quarter was remitted, as were the cost of books and stationery, for those who could not pay. In 1860, the thirty-two schools in Jefferson County system had 1,594 students enrolled, or three-fourths as many as the combined pauper schools of the other three counties.”
SOURCE: Phillips, P. 90

According to the 1850 Census, twenty-seven public schools served about “1,000” white children and seven private academies each taught an average of 25 regular students.

CHURCHES:

Three Episcopal Churches, seating a total of 1500 each; six Methodist Churches, seating 3100; four Presbyterian Churches seating 2,900 (counting only those in Old or New School, 1400 congregants in fewer churches); one Roman Catholic Church seating 700; one German Reformed Church, seating 800; one Lutheran Church, seating 600; and one church affiliated with the General Baptist Association of Virginia, seating 300 congregants.

A log church existed in Shepherdstown for black citizens prior to the Civil War near the site of the south goal posts of the Shepherd University football field. Freed blacks and the enslaved, who wished to have church instruction, for the most part, listened to sermons through open windows or from balconies of generally white churches, especially Methodist. (The Methodist Church in the Baltimore Conference was torn by the issue of enslavement).

SOURCE:
“Distribution of Virginia Evangelicals in 1860 by Denomination and County.” Table 4, Appendix B. from Irons, Charles F. (2008). “Origins of Pro-slavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia.” Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Print. P. 274.

INDUSTRY:

Total manufacturing establishments: 114

SOURCE:
United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). Schedule 5 Products of Industry in the County of Jefferson of Virginia during the year ending June 1, 1860. as enumerated by J. A. Coyle. PP. 207-210.

NOTE: This is not the exact table but four main types of information taken therefrom: from left-to-right 1) The business owner – 2) the nature of the business – 3) capital investment (“5K” is $5,000 in period value) – 4) the output for the previous year in product. Spellings are as shown in the handwritten record.

P. 207
John Chamberlin Flouring Mill 5K 12000 bu. wheat
Martin P. Chapman Flouring Mill 5K 8500 bu. wheat
Solomon Billmyer FM 10K 10000 bu. wheat
Charles Noland Saw Mill 1.5K 600 logs
William J. Grantham Distillery 1400 1000 bu.
Benjamin Hoffman Flouring Mill 3K 4000 bu. wheat
John B. Lowman Flouring Mill 3.5K 3500 bu. wheat
Archibald Lamar James Tannery 2.5K 200 hides
Thomas Watson Flouring Mill 3K 1000 bu. wheat
Jeremiah N. Snyder Flouring Mill 14K 20000 bu. wheat
Same Saw Mill 1650 400 logs
Jacob G. Miller Saw Mill 1500 300 logs
John H. Miller Woolen Factory 6K 12000 lbs. wool, yarn employs ten
William Wise Pottery 700 630 cords 800 lbs. of lead
Jonathan Nixon Chair Factory 700 600 lbs. of chair stuff
Presley Marmaduke Tannery 4K 425 hides
Joseph Entler Sr. Coopering 650 15000 staves and poles
John P. Hoffman Coach Factory 1.5K 6500 lbs. coal, iron, lumber, steel
William Shearer Flouring Mill 5K 15000 bu. wheat
Jacob Line Tannery 3K 400 hides
All except Entler, Nixon, Wise rely on water for power
paid between $8-$25 per month for each employee

P. 208
Barney Ott Wagon Maker 500 700 timbers
John Winpigler Flouring Mill 8K 8400 bu. wheat
George Ridgeway Flouring Mill 2K 1500 bu. wheat, corn
Thaddeus Baney Flouring Mill 6K 13000 bu. wheat
Colin Porter Woolen Factory 8K 22500 lbs. wool, yarn
George W. Kerfoot Blacksmith 500 12 tons coal, iron
Joseph Gardner Blacksmith 300 5 tons coal, iron
Conrad Rhineman Cooper 100 6000 staves, poles
Daniel Coleman Flouring Mill 7K 11000 bu. wheat
Langdon, Philips Saw Planing Mill 3K 80000 feet plank, logs
Felix Conly Cooper 300 22500 staves, poles
James Watson Woolen Factory 6K 24000 lbs. wool, yarn
Robert R. Brotherton Saw Mill 200 200 logs
Sampson H. Turner Flouring Mill 2K 2500 bu. wheat
John G. Cockrill Flouring Mill 15K 28000 bu. wheat
Henry Niswanner Flouring Mill 2.7K 2000 bu. wheat
Lewis Baker Blacksmith 300 7 tons coal, iron
William Hackney Wagon Maker 200 5 loads lumber
Thaddeus Baney Cooper 200 1800 staves, poles
George W. Eichelberger Chopping Mill 1K 1000 bu. corn, rye
Except for Conly, Kerfoot, Rhineman, Gardner, and Ott blacksmiths, coopers, and a wagon-maker, all used water power
Except for Langdon Philips who employed five at top dollar of $25/mo. and
James Watson employing ten at $22/mo. All others worked with no more than three employees

P. 209
David Johnson Woolen Factory 10K 24000 lbs. wool, yarn
John H. B. Lewis Flouring Mill 3K 6000 bu. wheat
John Kable Shoe Factory 200 110 lbs. leather
Henry W. Castleman Chopping Mill 1K 3000 bu. corn, rye
Same Plaster 900 100 tons plaster
Same Saw Mill 300 400 logs
Joseph Myers Blacksmith 800 11 tons coal, iron
Leander Burgess Wagon Making 250 10 loads of wagon stuff
Jacob Werking Wagon Making 200 8 loads of wagon stuff
Nathaniel R. Langdon Plaster Mill 600 60 tons plaster
Same Flouring Mill 8K 11000 bu. wheat
Same Saw Mill 250 150 logs
George L. Garrett Shoemaker 275 336 lbs. leather
– Zimmerman Cooper 175 15000 staves, poles
Charles H. Langdon Blacksmith 550 13 tons coal, iron
Samuel M. Clip Cooper 175 15000 staves, poles
McCurdy, Turner Flouring Mill 10K 25000 bu. wheat
Same Saw Mill 200 75 logs
John W. Ware Blacksmith 500 10 tons coal, iron
James J or T Coyle Coopering 500 30000 staves, poles
George Anderson Blacksmith 600 10 tons coal, iron

NOTE: All driven by water except for blacksmiths, coopering, shoe-making, wagon-making. All have less than six employees. Watson has two women at his woolen factory paid comparable wage to men ave. $13.50/mo.; Men are paid $6-$20/mo

P. 210
James P. Johnson Shoe Factory 3K 500 lbs. leather
John J. Lock Flouring Mill 14K (illegible) wheat
Same Plaster Mill 1.4K 200 tons plaster
John F. Conley Merchant Factory 2.5K 700 yds. cloths
Samuel W. Waddy Shoe Factory 3K 1000 hides leather
Albert Miller Tin Stoneware 2K various tin
John F. Blessing Confectioner 1.5K 100 barrels flour, sugar
Thomas Dobson Cooperage 400 24000 staves, poles
Charles Barrett Planing Factory 250 1800 feet of planks
David Howell Tannery 10K 1000 hides
George W. Spotts Blacksmith 450 12 tons iron
Same Wagon Shop 400 various timber
William P. Easterday Tin Stone Factory 1K various tin
Alfred O’Bannon Wagon Factory 300 various timber
Hiram O’Bannon Blacksmith 400 10 tons iron
Reason Shugert Saddlery 1.8K various leather
Charles G. Stewart Silversmith 250 various silver
George W. Sadler Cabinet Factory 3K various timber
William Rowe Machine Builder 1.5K various lumber
Henderson Bishop Gunsmith 400 gun barrels

P. 211
Wells J. Hawks Carriage Shop 8K various lumber
Thos W. Davis Blacksmith 600 15tons iron
Same Wagon Maker 400 various lumber
W. A. Suddith & Co. Wheat Drill 1K various lumber
Weirick & Weller Thresher 2.5K various, lumber, iron
W. J. Stephens Merchant-Tailor 15K 5000 yds. of cloth
Jno. T. Riley Shoemaker 4.5K various leather
Frederick Rohr Confectioner 1K 3200 lbs. sugar
John McCall Shoemaker 700 200 sides leather
Thomas M. Beall Tinner 300 various tinware
Joseph Manuel Blacksmith 500 9 tons iron, coal
Frederick Bremmerman Cooper 3K 750,000 staves, poles
Rohr & Brittner Wagon Maker 1.2K various lumber
Same Blacksmith 600 14 tons iron, coal
Herr & Welsh Flouring Mill 30K 145,000 bu. wheat
Herr & Snap Iron Foundry 2K 100 tons pig iron
Solomon V. Yantis Tobacconist 1.2K 3000 lbs. tobacco
Andrew P. Johnson Cooper 381 30000 staves, poles
Thomas E. Woodward Cooper 185 15000 staves, poles
Joshua Clip Cooper 30 3000 staves, poles

P. 212
Joseph Herrell Cooper 100 7500 staves, poles
John West Cooper 200 35000 staves, poles
Armstead Orem Blacksmith 100 3 tons coal, iron
Nathaniel W. Manning Blacksmith 125 4 tons coal, iron
John West Saw Mill 5K 1000 logs
John West Blacksmith 250 5 tons iron, coal
Jacob Vorus Blacksmith 200 7 tons iron, coal
Charles Ashley Blacksmith 150 3 tons iron, coal
George Smith Sadler 200 35 leather
Henry Bull Sadler 250 40 leather
Nathan Banes Blacksmith 400 10 tons of iron, coal
John Ring Tinner 7K Various tin
Thomas Johnson Blacksmith 300 10 tons iron
James J or T Coyle Cooper 400 (illegible) staves, poles

ENSLAVEMENT: Total households claiming twenty or more enslaved persons: 14

References:

Division of School Districts
Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. Maps Collection. Print.

Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. Maps Collection. 27 Oct. 2009 Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Green, Linda L. (1963). “West Virginia 1860 Agricultural Census, Volume 2.”
West Virginia State Dept. of Archives and History. pp. 82-90. Print.

Green, Linda L. “West Virginia 1860 Agricultural Census, Volume 2.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 29 Dec. 2010.

Irons, Charles F. (2008). “Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia.” Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. Print.

Irons, Charles F. (2008). “Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia.” 2008. Web. 15 Nov. 2010.

Maddox, William A. (1918). “The Free School Idea in Virginia before the Civil War; A Phase of Political and Social Evolution.” New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University. Print.

Mahon, Michael G. (1999). “The Shenandoah Valley, 1861-1865: the destruction of the granary of the Confederacy.” Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Publishers, Print.

Mahon, Michael G. “The Shenandoah Valley, 1861-1865: the destruction of the granary of the Confederacy.” Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 28 Dec. 2010.

Phillips, Edward H. (1993). “The Lower Shenandoah Valley in the Civil War: The Impact of War Upon the Civilian Population and Upon Civilian Institutions.” Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, Inc. Print.

United States “Historical Census Browser.” University of Virginia. 2 Dec. 2009 Web. 10 September 2011.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). “Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia [microform] (Volume Reel 1355 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules – James City and Jefferson Counties).” Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). Schedule 5 Products of Industry in the County of Jefferson of Virginia during the year ending June 1, 1860. as enumerated by J. A. Coyle.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). “Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia. [microform] (Volume Reel 1392 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules Slave – Henrico, James City, Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Flickr Sets:

All photos are by Jim Surkamp
portermillmuseum.jpg is courtesy the Jefferson County Museum

“Why Did Virginia Try John Brown?” – Dennis Frye

710 words (This is a portion of a video that is no longer available online).

https://web.archive.org/web/20130308015425/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/why-did-virginia-try-john-brown-dennis-frye/

The following is a truncated transcript of Mr. Frye’s discussion, noting the times of statements. The full narrative can, of course, be heard on the video-ED

:15

Brown attacks a United States Government installation. Brown seizes a United States Armory and United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown is seized by United States Marines. He is surrounded, captured on United States property . . .

So, why all this repetition of “the United States?” Because he attacked the United States.

Yet he does not end up in a federal court . . .

:55

Instead he comes to trial here in a circuit court in Jefferson County, Virginia . . .

1:33 The federal government was not nearly the central government that we think of it today . . .

2:25

Virginia said: “He attacked our people. He killed our people . . .”

2:58

James Buchanan did not want to touch John Brown. I often think of John Brown here as Pontius Pilate . . .

3:28 Ultimately what’s on trial is not Brown but slavery . . .

To learn more, see the video (Total Running Time: 4:24)

References:

“James Buchanan.” Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 2 May 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Buchanan

“John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On. The Raid.” West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Print.

“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. “John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On. The Trial. Newspaper Sketches.” West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

Video:

Frye, Dennis. “Why Did Virginia Try John Brown?.” American Military University Civil War Scholars. 14 April 2011. Web. 2 May 2011.

Flickr Set:

courtroom.jpg
“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Print.

“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. “John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On. The Trial. Newspaper Sketches.” West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

jbrownarraign.jpg
“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Print.

“John Brown trial” Leslie’s. (November 12, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. “John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On. The Trial. Newspaper Sketches.” West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

courthouseleslie.jpg
“Charles Town Courthouse.” (November 19, 1859). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Print.

“Charles Town Courthouse.” (November 19, 1859).Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. “John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On. The Trial. Newspaper Sketches.” West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

(oldman) dhs.2.peerage.140.jpg

Strother, David H., “Personal Recollections of the Civil War.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros.
Volume 33, Issue: 194, July, 1866. pp. 137-160. Print.

Strother, David H. (July, 1866). “Personal Recollections of the Civil War.” Harpers Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

cook.jpg
(enslaved1) dhs.5.black.177.jpg
Strother, David H., “Personal Recollections of the Civil War.” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 34, Issue: 200, January, 1867. pp. 172-192. Print.

Strother, David H., (Jan., 1867). “Personal Recollections of the Civil War.” Harpers Magazine. 7 May 2008. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

“Why Was Jefferson County a Crucible of the Civil War?” – Dennis Frye

June 19, 2011 728 words (The video from which this is taken is no longer available).

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710015304/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/why-was-jefferson-county-a-crucible-of-the-civil-war-dennis-frye/

The following is a truncated transcript of Mr. Frye’s discussion, noting the times of statements. The entire commentary is available, of course, on the video above.-ED

Historian Dennis Frye

20: Jefferson County, located on the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, located just on the border of Maryland, and ultimately just on the border of West Virginia and Virginia, being on the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, a great portal into Virginia from the North, when you take all that and put it into the crucible, you’re going to see that Jefferson County is going to be vastly influenced by the war, because it becomes a principal carrier of the war . . .

1:14 Jefferson County from the start hosted foreign armies. What I mean is – even the Confederate Army is foreign to Jefferson County. Most of the men who joined with “Stonewall” Jackson, he’s not “Stonewall” Jackson yet, but Thomas Jonathan Jackson – at Harpers Ferry at the outbreak of the war April, May, June 1861. Most of those people are not from Jefferson County. They’re coming from Mississippi, Alabama and other deep South states . . .

2:04 That sets us up for this tension, between North and South,

as both armies are going to position and maneuver through and across Jefferson County all four years of the war . . .

2:35 There were divided loyalties here,

a very complex population, based on the ethnicity of the people here , the religion of the people here, when people arrived here, the race of the people here. This is a true mixing pot of many, many different philosophies, ideas, and cultures, that all came together here . . .

3:34 So your loyalty to the United States could not be something that you could not announce. That could end you up in a prison very quickly . . .

4:48 This hard hand of day-to-day war . . .

Video:

Frye, Dennis. “Civil War Scholar: Why Was Jefferson County a Crucible of the Civil War?” American Military University Civil War Scholars. 14 April 2011. Web. 2 May 2011.

Flickr Set:

jeffaerial.jpg
Collection of Jim Surkamp

hf1.jpg
Cowles, Capt. Calvin D, 23d U. S. Infantry, Major George B. Davis , U.S. Army, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph W. Kirkley. “The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War.” EHistory, Ohio State University.
17 June 2008 .Web. 12 Oct. 2010.

armiesb&l.jpg
Battles and Leaders. Vol. 2. Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buel (Ed.). New York, NY: Century Co. Print.

Googlemaps. 8 Feb. 2005. Web. 5 May 2011.

John Brown Plots A Gov’t with Martin Delany

By Jim Surkamp on June 15, 2011 4502 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20121028082523/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/john-brown-plots-a-govt-with-martin-delany/

John Brown Seeks Out Martin Delany and They Convene to Form a New Promised Land, Chatham Ontario, Canada, May 8, 1858

From:


Rollin, Frank (Frances) A. (1868, 1883). “The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany.” Boston, MA: Lee & Shepard. PP. 83-95. Print.

Rollin, Frank (Frances) A. (1868, 1883). “The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 June 2011.

The Significance:

The significance of this account by an eyewitness and leader at this convention for a provisional government is that the voted objective of the convention was not to overthrow the Union, as was asserted at Brown’s trial, but that: “an independent community be established within and under the government of the United States, but without the state sovereignty of the compact, similar to the Cherokee nation of Indians, or the Mormons . . .”

What remains contradictory is Brown’s insistence that he needs brave men more than money to achieve his objectives, which appears to assume, in April, 1858, violent methods. Since it was discovered in his belongings at the Kennedy Farm after his arrest, it might be that Brown understood the Constitution, as worded, could be used as part of an effective defense in a trial. Of course, it didn’t turn out that way.

Martin Delany told his biographer Frances Rollin, a woman, (pseudonym “Frank”), that he met John Brown when Brown went to Chatham, West Ontario to find recruits and support for leading an insurrection. Delany agreed to chair a convention to hear his wishes. Delany told Rollin that Brown did not spell out his violent intentions, though others present disagreed with Delany’s self-representation.

John Brown ventured to Chatham, West Ontario, knowing it was well populated with escaped, once enslaved, black Americans. He conceived of a plan at that time to create a new terminus for the Underground Railroad and wanted to create a new state made up of ex-slaves. While getting money from leading abolitionists was possible, his real need was to have brave men to fight with him.

Brown was staying with James Madison Bell, a “plasterer/poet,” at his home on King Street in Chatham in 1858.

Delany, who was then practicing medicine and writing in Chatham saw Brown on a street, recognizing him. When asked, Brown replied: “I am, sir, and I have come to Chatham expressly to see you, this being my third visit on the errand. I must see you at once, sir, and that, too in private, as I have much to do, and but little time before me. If I am to do nothing here, I want to know it at once.”

NOTE: Frequent uses of the pronoun “he” in the following text sometimes can mean either Brown or Delany. The editor adds clarifying notes.

Rollin, Frank (Frances) A. (1868,1883). “The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany.” Chapter IX, P. 83

“CHAPTER IX. CANADA. – CAPTAIN JOHN BROWN.

“In February, 1856, he (Delany-ED) removed to Chatham, Kent County, Canada, where he continued the practice of medicine. While his ‘visiting list’ gave evidence of a respectable practice, his fees were not in proportion to it. His practice embraced a great portion of those who were refugees from American slavery; hence his income here did not exceed that acquired at Pittsburg. Here his activity found wider scope, and new fields of labor were opened to him. It was not likely that he of such marked character would remain unrecognized. He was ever suggesting measures tending to ameliorate the condition of one class or another, which resulted in gaining for him an influence only surpassed by that wielded by him at his post of duty at the South. (refers to Delany’s position with the Freedman’s Bureau as a Major in the U.S. Army after the Civil War in South Carolina-ED)

“Once, while in Canada, an important suggestion of his being adopted, it resulted in driving both candidates — conservative and reformer — together, compelling them to offer terms for the support of the black constituency. He took part freely in all political movements in his adopted home. For several years he was one of the principal canvassers in the hustings in the ridings of Kent for the election, and was one of the executive committee, and belonged to the private caucus of A. McKellers, Esq., member of the Provincial Parliament from Kent County. These facts will render it conclusive that his activity was none the less in a country where the progress of his race met no resistance, but only varied in its method. Whatever prominence here, as elsewhere, was attained by him, was cast in the balance as an offering to his people.

“Here were matured his plans for an organization for scientific purposes, which after wards gave him fame in other lands. Here also was he connected with the beginning of a movement in behalf of human liberty, the most sublime in conception, and mysterious in its accomplishment, written of in modern times. The first was in 1858, when had been completed a long contemplated design of his: that of inaugurating a party of scientific men of color to make explorations in certain portions of Africa. In the early part of May, 1859, there sailed from New York, in the bark ‘Mendi,’ owned by three colored African merchants, the first colored explorers from the United States, known as the Niger Valley Exploring Party, at the head of which was its projector, Dr. Delany. His observations he published on his return to this country, so that they need no repetition here, though an important treaty formed with the king and principal chiefs of Abeokuta we have noticed in another portion of this work. It was the importance attached to this mission, and the successful accomplishment of it, that gave him prestige, rendering him eligible to membership of the renowned International Statistical Congress of July, 1860, at London. He traveled extensively in Africa for one year.

“She described him (Brown) as having a long, white beard, very gray hair, a sad but placid countenance”

“In April, prior to his departure for Africa, while making final completions for his tour, on returning home from a professional visit in the country, Mrs. Delany informed him that an old gentleman had called to see him during his absence. She described him as having a long, white beard, very gray hair, a sad but placid countenance; in speech he was peculiarly solemn; she added, ‘He looked like one of the old prophets. He would neither come in nor leave his name, but promised to be back in two weeks’ time.’ Unable to obtain any information concerning his mysterious visitor, the circumstance would have probably been forgotten, had not the visitor returned at the appointed time; and not finding him at home a second time, he left a message to the effect that he would call ‘again in four days, and must see him then.’ This time the interest in the visitor was heightened, and his call was eagerly awaited. At the expiration of that time, while on the street, he recognized his visitor, by his wife’s description, approaching him, accompanied by another gentleman; on the latter introducing him to the former, he exclaimed, ‘Not Captain John Brown, of Ossawatomie?!‘ not thinking of the grand old hero as being east of Kansas, especially in Canada, as the papers had been giving such contradictory accounts of him during the winter and spring. ‘I am, sir,’ was the reply;

I have come to Chatham expressly to see you

“‘this being my third visit on the errand. I must see you at once, sir,’ he continued, with emphasis, ‘and that, too, in private, as I have much to do and but little time before me. If I am to do nothing here, I want to know it at once.’

“’Going directly to the private parlor of a hotel near by,’ says Major Delany, ‘he at once revealed to me that he desired to carry out a great project in his scheme of Kansas emigration, which, to be successful, must be aided and countenanced by the influence of a general convention or council. That he was unable to effect in the United States, but had been advised by distinguished friends of his and mine, that, if he could but see me, his object could be attained at once. On my expressing astonishment at the conclusion to which my friends and himself had arrived, with a nervous impatience, he exclaimed, ‘Why should you be surprised?

‘Sir, the people of the Northern States are cowards; slavery has made cowards of them all. The whites are afraid of each other, and the blacks are afraid of the whites. You can effect nothing among such people,’ he added, with decided emphasis.

“On assuring him if a council were all that was desired, he could readily obtain it, he (Brown-ED) replied, ‘That is all; but that is a great deal to me. It is men I want, and not money; money I can get plentiful enough, but no men. Money can come without being seen, but men are afraid of identification with me, though they favor my measures. They are cowards, sir ! Cowards!’ he reiterated. He then fully revealed his designs. With these I found no fault, but fully favored and aided in getting up the convention.

“(Delany being quoted directly-ED) ’The convention, when assembled, consisted of Captain John Brown, his son Owen, eleven or twelve of his Kansas followers, all young white men, enthusiastic and able, and probably sixty or seventy colored men, whom I brought together.’ His plans were made known to them as soon as he was satisfied that the assemblage could be confided in which conclusion he was not long in finding, for with few exceptions the whole of these were fugitive slaves, refugees in her Britannic majesty’s dominion. His scheme was nothing more than this: To make Kansas, instead of Canada, the terminus of the Underground Railroad; instead of passing off the slave to Canada, to send him to Kansas, and there test, on the soil of the United States territory, whether or not the right to freedom would be maintained where no municipal Power had authorized.

“’He (Brown-ED) stated that he had originated a fortification so simple, that twenty men, without the aid of teams or ordnance, could build one in a day that would defy all the artillery that could be brought to bear against it. How it was constructed he would not reveal, and none knew it except his great confidential officer, Kagi (the secretary of war in his contemplated, provisional government), a young lawyer of marked talents and
singular demeanor.’

“Major Delany stated that he had proposed, as a cover to the change in the scheme, as Canada had always been known as the terminus of the Underground Railroad, and pursuit of the fugitive was made in that direction, to call it the Subterranean Pass Way, where the initials would stand S. P. W., to note the direction in which he had gone when not sent to Canada.

“’He (Delany-ED) further stated that the idea of Harper’s Ferry was never mentioned, or even hinted in that convention. Had such been intimated, it is doubtful of its being favorably regarded. Kansas, where he had battled so valiantly for freedom, seemed the proper place for his vantage-ground, and the kind and condition of men for whom he had fought, the men with whom to fight. Hence the favor which the scheme met of making Kansas the terminus of the Subterranean Pass Way, and there fortifying with these fugitives against the Border slaveholders, for personal liberty, with which they had no right to interfere. Thus it is clearly explained that it was no design against the Union, as the slave-holders and their satraps interpreted the movement, and by this means would anticipate their designs. This also explains the existence of the Constitution for a civil government found in the carpet-bag among the effects of Captain Brown, after his capture in Virginia, so inexplicable to the slaveholders, and which proved such a nightmare to Governor Wise, and caused him, as well as many wiser than himself to construe it as a contemplated overthrow of the Union. The Constitution for a provisional government owes its origin to these facts.

“It was proposed that an independent community be established within and under the government of the United States, but without the state sovereignty of the compact, similar to the Cherokee nation of Indians, or the Mormons . . .

“Major Delany says, ‘The whole matter had been well-considered, and at first a state government had been proposed, and in accordance a constitution prepared. This was presented to the convention; and here a difficulty presented itself to the minds of some present, that according to American jurisprudence, negroes, having no rights respected by white men, consequently could have no right to petition, and none to sovereignty. Therefore it would be mere mockery to set up a claim as a fundamental right, which in itself was null and void. To obviate this, and avoid the charge against them as lawless and unorganized, existing without government, it was proposed that an independent community be established within and under the government of the United States, but without the state sovereignty of the compact, similar to the Cherokee nation of Indians, or the Mormons. To these last named, references were made, as parallel cases, at the time. The necessary changes and modification were made in the Constitution, and with such it was printed. Captain Brown returned after a week’s absence, with a printed copy of the corrected instrument, which, perhaps, was the copy found by Governor Wise.’”

“During the time this grand old reformer of our time was preparing his plans, he often sought Major Delany, desirous of his personal cooperation in carrying forward his work. This was not possible for him (Delany-ED) to do, as his attention and time were directed entirely to the African Exploration movement, which was planned prior to his meeting Captain Brown, as before stated. But as Captain Brown desired that he should give encouragement to the plan, he consented, and became president of the permanent organization of the Subterranean Pass Way, with Mr. Isaac D. Shadd, editor of the Provincial Freeman, as secretary. This organization was an extensive body, holding the same relation to his movements as a state or national executive committee hold to its party principles, directing their adherence to fundamental principles. This, he says, was the plan and purpose of the Canada Convention. Whatever changed them to Harper’s Ferry was known only to Captain Brown, and perhaps to Kagi, who had the honor of being deeper in his confidence than any one else. Mr. Osborn Anderson, one of the survivors of that immortal band, and whose statement as one of the principal actors in that historical drama cannot be ignored, states that none of the men knew that Harper’s Ferry was the point of attack until the order was given to march.

“It was Mr. Anderson whom Captain Brown delegated to receive the sword from Colonel Washington, on that night when the Rubicon of slavery was crossed by that band of hero pioneers who confronted the slave power in its strong-hold. The first sound of John Brown’s rifle, reverberating along the Shenandoah, proclaimed the birth of Freedom. Already he saw the mighty host he invoked in Freedom’s name. He heard their coming footfalls echoing over Virginia’s hills and plains, and upon every breeze that swept her valleys was borne to him his name entwined in battle anthem. He saw in the gathering strife that either Freedom or her priest must perish, and with a giant’s strength he went forward to his high and holy martyrdom, thereby inaugurating victory. FOOTNOTE by Rollin: This sword was a relic of the revolutionary war, presented by Frederick the Great to General Washington, and was kept in the Washington family until that time.”

“CHAPTER X. CANADA CONVENTION. – HARPER’S FERRY.

“It seems remarkable that the man whom Providence had chosen to warn a guilty nation of its danger, and through whom the African race in America received the boon of freedom, which is but a prelude to the entire abolition of slavery on the western continent, should be sent first to Major Delany in Canada, through whom alone he considered himself able to perfect the plans necessary to begin the great work! Certainly the ways of Providence are beyond mortal comprehension.

“The extraordinary kindness of the jailer (Photo of John Avis-ED) to the old hero prophet in the midst of hostile men in Virginia elicited surprise in the North, and was the subject of remark by many. To a playfellow of Martin Delany in childhood it was no matter of wonderment that he should sympathize with his helpless, way-worn prisoner, if the heart of the man were at all akin to the heart of the child. The open admiration demonstrated by the Virginia jailer for the character of his captive was a picture striking and pleasing in the midst of all the dark surroundings of that time. The man who, in the midst of hostile faces lowering with hate and fear towards him who sat beside him on his way to death, could say, ‘Captain Brown, you are a game man,’ proved himself, after his prisoner, the bravest man in Virginia that day.

“ In regard to the relation sustained by the brave Avis to Major Delany in childhood, it may be of interest to know that the acquaintance was renewed in after years, during the Mexican war, by the major’s frequently sending him copies of the paper of which he was then editor in Pittsburg. These were duly acknowledged by Captain Avis, who recognized his name, and adverted to some of the scenes of their childhood, but cautioned him against sending them regularly, lest it should attract attention at the post-office, the paper being thoroughly anti-slavery, and taking grounds against the war, as being waged for the propagation of slavery. Hence anti-slavery sentiments were not unfamiliar to Avis. And we know not but that at some time, in that lonely prison cell, the name of Martin Delany,

“whom the testimony of Mr. Richard Realf before the Senate committee had made to play such a conspicuous part in the singularly significant councils at Chatham, was mentioned; and who can say it may not have been a link that had first knit the captor to the captive?

“The testimony of Mr. Realf before the Senate committee appointed to investigate the Harper’s Ferry affair resulted in placing Major Delany in a most cowardly light. The charges were to the effect that he, ‘Dr. Delany, had repeatedly urged the black men in the convention, and that all his acts and advices tended to encourage them to go with Captain Brown, to aid in an overthrow of the government, as a measure that would succeed.’

(Convention was held at the Chatham Baptist Church)

This is without foundation. Major Delany is remembered, by those who attended the Canada Convention councils at Chatham, as having objected to many propositions favored by Captain Brown, as not having the least chance of giving trouble to the slaveholders, except the fortification at Kansas. At one time, having objected repeatedly to certain proposed measures, the old captain sprang suddenly to his feet, and exclaimed severely, ‘Gentlemen, if Dr. Delany is afraid, don’t let him make you all cowards!’

“Dr. Delany replied immediately to this, courteously, yet decidedly. Said he, ‘Captain Brown does not know the man of whom he speaks: there exists no one in whose veins the blood of cowardice courses less freely; and it must not be said, even by John Brown, of Ossawatomie.’ As he concluded, the old man bowed approvingly to him, then arose, and made explanations.

“He accounted for Mr. Realf ‘s discrepancies from the fact that the young man was a stranger to the country, and understood but little of its policy, and his former position in life never brought him in contact with men of such character as

Sen. James Mason, the committee chair

“Mason, of Trent notoriety, and the rest of the pro-slavery committee, upon whose torturing rack he was stretched, upon the charge of attempting to overthrow the government!

“But a few years after beheld the chairman of that committee a fugitive, a prisoner, and an exile, and Virginia the battle-ground of contending armies, one inspired by an anthem commemorating the name of him whom Virginia in her madness sacrificed to her destruction, the other endeavoring to destroy the Union in accordance with the teachings of the judges of Captain Brown and his followers.

“While this stem judge of the Senate Chamber was hiding his blighted name in exile, the name of Richard Realf shone among the brightest at Lookout Mountain, as he rushed forward, amid a shower of bullets, to replace the national standard after its bearer had fallen. These misrepresentations of Major Delany’s connection with the Harper’s Ferry insurrection embarrassed him greatly, at one time, while abroad, which we give, and will also show the importance attached to the Harper’s Ferry invasion abroad.

“While reporting on his explorations during his visit to Scotland, a letter (anonymous) was sent to

Sir Culling Eardley. Eardley, implicating the Major (Dr. Delany) with the ‘insurgents under John Brown.’ Such was the effect of this insidious missive, that a whole day (Sabbath) was spent by gentlemen of the highest social and public position in discussing the matter, and considering the propriety of dropping and denouncing him.

“But wisdom prevailed, and they determined to disregard the anonymous informant’s advice. With this a learned ex-official of her majesty’s government called upon him at his residence in Glasgow, and reported the proceedings to him. He was met with an argument from Major Delany, to which he assented, and replied that it was the same in substance as used by himself and the great-hearted Sir Culling Eardley. After passing through the scrutiny of these British statesmen, he received no further annoyance concerning this while in Europe.

“Of the movement at Harper’s Ferry, followed by the almost immediate execution of Captain Brown and his devoted followers, he was ignorant, until in Abeokuta he received a copy of the New York Tribune sent from England for him. It was after the Canada Convention, in accordance with designs as before stated, he embarked for Africa, accompanied by Robert Douglass, Esq., of Philadelphia, the genius whom prejudice denied the right to study peacefully his glorious art in the academy of his native city, but whom the Royal Academy of England received within its portals, and Professor Robert Campbell, of the Philadelphia Institute for colored youth.”

Main references:

Anderson, Osborne. (1861). “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry: A Narrative of Events at Harper’s Ferry; with Incidents Prior and Subsequent to its Capture by Captain Brown and His Men.” Boston MA: self-published. Print.

Anderson, Osborne. (1861). The Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 June 2011.

Surkamp, James. “To Be More Than Equal: The Many Lives of Martin R. Delany 1812-1885.” West Virginia University Libraries. 9 Nov. 1999. Web. 9 Nov. 1999.

“Chapter 7: Preparing to Take the War Into Africa.” ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

“Senate Select Committee Report on the Harper’s Ferry Invasion
Testimony of Richard Realf, PP. 90-113.” ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

“Journal of the Provisional Constitutional Convention, held on Saturday, May 8, 1858.”
‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

Ullman, Victor. (1971). “Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism.” Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Print.

Ullman, Victor. (1971). “Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism.” Amazon.com 12 Dec. 1998 Web. 1 June 2011.

Videos:

Surkamp, Jim. (2009). “John Brown Raid Descendants Speak at 150th Oct., 2009.” {Video}. (9:41). Retrieved 26 Jan. 2011 from:

Flickr Set:

baptistch.chatham.jpg
“First Baptist Church in Chatham.” Photo. ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

brown004.jpg
The Library of Congress

delany.jpg
“Martin Robison Delany.” Photo. U. S. Army Heritage & Education Center.
U. S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA.

frwhip.jpg
“Frances R. Whipper” Photo. ‘To Be More Than Equal: The Many Lives of Martin R. Delany 1812-1885.’ West Virginia University Libraries. 9 Nov. 1999. Web. 9 Nov. 1999

jamesmason.jpg
“James M. Mason.” Photo. ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

johnavis.jpg
“John Avis.” Photo. ‘Kansas Memory’ 17 Oct. 2007. Web. 7 June 2011.

osborneperryanderson.jpg
“Osborne Perry Anderson.” Photo. ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

richardrealf.jpg
“Richard Realf.” Photo. ‘John Brown His Soul Goes Marching On.’ West Virginia Archives and History. 25 July 2008. Web. 10 July 2010.

cullingeardley.jpg
“Sir Culling Eardley Smith.” ‘University of St. Andrews, Library Photographic Archive.’ 12 Dec. 1997. Web. 7 June 2011.

“Did John Brown Have A Military Plan?” – Dennis Frye

June 16, 2011 The video from which this is taken is no longer available. 866 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20191004121133/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/did-john-brown-have-a-military-plan-dennis-frye/

John Brown’s raid may be considered – at least in the eyes of leading Virginians, such as Governor Henry Wise or Prosecutor Andrew Hunter as the beginning of the War Against Slavery. The official Civil War did not begin exactly under that rubric; but it soon did become a war to end slavery. Historian Dennis Frye explores this idea in two videos. The second video about John Brown’s military plan also is accompanied with portions of the that video’s text.-ED

The following is a truncated transcript of Mr. Frye’s discussion, noting the times of statements. The full narrative can, of course, be heard on the video-ED

:29 But the point I’m making is, and bear with me for a moment, is – Brown has not been studied as a military man . . .

1:04 But, if you get down to it, what was John Brown doing? Brown was making war against slavery. To make war, you must have a military plan. And Brown had one. He had one. Actually it’s a pretty good one . . .

1:52 The mountains are the key to the plan. We’re gonna use the mountains of Virginia, and Tennessee, and Georgia, and Alabama, and North Carolina. Those mountains become our fortresses. We’re going to create what I refer to as the highway to freedom . . .
Brown intends to move masses of people . . .

3:15 He’s got a good plan that is going to involve guerrilla tactics . . .
and basically Brown’s military plan is going to focus on economic disruption . . .

4:26 This will be a protracted war. It is not conventional army-against-army . . .

4:56 He had a defined plan. He did not share it. He kept it secret . . .

Other references:

Mitchell, William M. (1860). “The underground railroad [graphic].” London, UK: Tweedie. Print.

Mitchell, William M. (1860). “The underground railroad [graphic].”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 May 2010.

Still, William. (1872). “The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, As Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author.” Philadelphia, PA: Porter & Coates. Print.

Still, William. (1872). “The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, As Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author.”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 May 2010.

OR

Still, William. (1872). “The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, As Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author.”
Quinnipiac University. Aug., 2003. Web. 5 May, 2011.

Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad Web Quest. — Web. 5 May 2011.

Video:

Frye, Dennis. “Did John Brown Have A Military Plan?.” APUS: Civil War Scholars. 14 April 2011. Web. 2 May 2011.

Flickr Set:

File:Pilaklikaha.jpg. Wikipedia English. Latest update 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 2 May 2011.

p124i.jpg
Still, William. (1872). “The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, As Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author.” Philadelphia, PA: Porter & Coates. Print.

Still, William. (1872). “The Underground Railroad: A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters, &c., Narrating the Hardships, Hair-Breadth Escapes and Death Struggles of the Slaves in Their Efforts for Freedom, As Related by Themselves and Others, or Witnessed by the Author.”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 May 2010

p350i.jpg
Ibid.

Fifteen Set Fires a Sign of Slave Resistance?

5733 words by Jim Surkamp on June 16, 2011

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710014736/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/a-dozen-set-fires-a-sign-of-slave-resistance/

Fifteen Fires Following John Brown’s Raid – And 589 Escaped Enslaved – Suggest The Long-Stated Assertion That No Local Blacks Sided With Brown Needs Re-Consideration

This is a chronology of events in Jefferson County, Va. immediately following the raid in October, 1859 at Harper’s Ferry by John Brown, his family, and men, as reported in newspapers, locally and nationally, along with a long detailed letter by a resident and people-owner.

Security enforced by armed patrols of militia along all roads was so tight that even then-Virginia Governor Henry Wise on one occasion, and Lead Prosecutor Andrew Hunter, were both detained by these details by mistake.

Persons unfamiliar to local residents were scrutinized in the extreme, lending credence to the view that the fires were set by people in the community.

It should be noted that the fires mentioned by Edmund Ruffin occurred at his farms not in the County – but his highly influential views in the State reflect the possible conclusions that can be made that the fires locally were, indeed, set by those enslaved.

The 1860 Census’ Slave Schedules for Jefferson County, which are delineated in the blog after this one, lay out 589 escapes by those enslaved in just Jefferson County. No adjacent Counties reported any if very, very few such escapes in the same Census, even though all other circumstances were comparable.

John Browns’s Raid Begins Sunday – October 16, 1859

Harper’s Ferry – Monday, October 17, 1859

Battle at Harper’s Ferry – Monday, October 17, 1859

Raiders Captured at Harper’s Ferry – daybreak Tuesday, October 18, 1859

Court Proceedings Begin – Tuesday, October 25, 1859
Two days later, Brown was declared fit for trial by a doctor and was thus faced with a jury trial for murder, conspiracy, and treason.

Fire George Fulk’s – Thursday, October 27, 1859
“FIRE! – “We regret to learn that the Barn, Stabling, etc. belonging to Mr. George Fulk, near the Swan Pond in Berkeley County, was destroyed on Monday (October 27-ED) morning last by fire, the work of a negro boy. Mr. F.’s loss is supposed to be $4,000 as wheat, hay etc. were consumed. No insurance (was) upon the property.”
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press” Thursday, October 30, 1859.

John Brown Convicted, Sentenced – Wednesday, November 2, 1859
After 45 minutes of deliberation, the jury finds Brown guilty of conspiracy, murder, and treason. Brown is sentenced to be hanged in public on December 2nd.

On Monday, October 31st, the defense had concluded its case, having argued that Brown killed no one and he owed no duty of loyalty to Virginia, and thus could not be guilty of treason against the state.

Fire William Lucas’ – Thursday, November 10, 1859
“A rick of wheat belonging to the Hon. William Lucas, containing about 450 bushels was burned on Thursday (November 10-ED) morning last. It was undoubtedly the work of an incendiary. A white man was observed by Mr. L. prowling near the field where the wheat was shocked, and it is supposed that he is the individual who set the fire. “
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press” Thursday, November 17, 1859.

William Lucas, Sr., 59, farmer, with $126,000 in real estate; $12,100 in personal property; William Lucas, Jr. 29, lawyer; Virginia Bedinger Lucas, 21.
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide page 119.

Lucas’ enslaved fifteen persons, seven of whom escaped: three men, ages 50, 36, and 24; one infant boy; a woman, aged 32, and two girls, aged 11 and 8 years.
SOURCE: 1860 Federal Census Slave Schedules Jefferson County, Virginia, p. 30.

Over-Reactions and Poetry – Thursday, November 10, 1859
“Forebodings of a coming storm were in the air, in everyone’s heart and mind and mouths. Every natural phenomena was clothed with peculiar significance. The great comet that flamed across the heavens was taken as a sign of approaching war. Strange celestial lights, which nightly illuminated the heavens for weeks with a lurid brazen glow, the like of which had never been seen before by the people; filled their minds with morbid dread. Every one seemed on an intense strain. The slightest incident shattered the nerves.

“A few amusing things transpired which I will relate to give an idea of the popular feeling. At 11 o’clock Thursday night, November 10th, one of the pickets on the first line, stationed along the Winchester and Harper’s Ferry railroad, became nervous and shot at a cow in Mr. Ranson’s cornfield. The shot caused great excitement. Word passed from mouth-to-mouth that an army of northern men were at the edge of town bent on rescuing John Brown. It caused intense excitement. The pickets were called in, the long roll was sounded by muffled drums, the shrill piping of fifes was heard, the rattle and clatter of arms and the tramp! tramp! of the soldiers disturbed the quiet of the night. Cannons were planted all around the jail, the soldiers formed a hollow square around the building and remained drawn up in line of battle until daylight.”
SOURCE: Avey, pp. 31-32.

Fire McCormick’s neighbor, Clarke County – Friday, November 11, 1859
“On Friday last Col. ??? in Clark County lost 4,000 bu. of wheat, barns stabling & all done by his negros. Two of them are now in jail together with some of McCormick’s, his neighbor.”
SOURCE: Letter Sarah. D. Briscoe to “my Dear Sister” – Saturday, November 19, 1859.

Cyrus McCormick, 55, farmer, with $60,000 in real estate; $57,000 in personal property; Samuel McCormick, 71; George Marlon, 20, laborer. SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Clarke, County-wide, page 51.

Fire Tate’s – Saturday, November 12, 1859
“On Saturday (November 12-ED) evening last, a stable belonging to George H. Tate, Esq. together with his two carriage horses were burned. This was also supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Whilst part of our citizens had gone to the place of conflagration, a suspicious looking individual who has been working about the vicinity for some time past, attracted the attention of the Town Guard, and was arrested as the incendiary. The negro boy who had seen the man at Mr. T’s. was sent for, but he could not identify him as being the person, although he looked very much like him.”
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press” Thursday, November 17, 1859.

Abigail N. Tate, 72, lady, with $36,000 in real estate; $8,000 in personal property; George W., 46, farmer, with $6,000 in real estate; $5,700 in personal property; Mary Daugherty, 25, with $1,200 in real estate; $200 in personal property; Maria Humphreys, 47, with $2,000 in real estate. SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide, page 121.

George Tate enslaved nine persons, three of whom escaped:
three men, ages 30, 25, 21.
SOURCE: 1860 Federal Census Slave Schedules, Jefferson County, Virginia.

Gunshot Lucas’, Security Tightened – Saturday, November 12, 1859
“A shot fired under his (William Lucas) window, another night, led to the belief that the judge had been marked for assassination, and induced the mayor, Thomas C. Green, on November 12, to order the removal from Charlestown of all strangers who could not give a satisfactory account of themselves. Among those forced to leave on that day were George H. Hoyt, who was, however, ready to go, as he had finished his legal work for Brown, and a representative of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Paper, who was charged with the grave offence of being a correspondent of the New York Tribune.” SOURCE: Villard, p. 520.

Richmond Papers Keep Reporting Fires
“But the fires continued to be recorded in almost every issue of the Richmond papers from November 12 on. The resultant dread and nervousness of the citizens were intensified by repeated false alarms . . .” SOURCE: Villard, p. 520.

Fires Ruffins’ Farms – Sunday, November 13, 1859
(Edmund Ruffin arrived at Jefferson County November 26, 1859-ED)
“Nov. 13. Sunday. This is the fifth house-burning that has occurred to the properties of my different children, & four of them by design, within a few years. Yet in the 44 years in which I was head of a farm, there was not the slightest loss by house-burning, either accidental or other . . . . A stormy day of rain & wind, at intervals, & dark & gloomy through out. No one went to church. Dr. Dupuy & Charles came, bringing the bad news of a great loss to the latter. Last night, before 9 o’clock, fire was put to his stable, & that with his only three mules were burnt, together with another building containing all his saved fodder. Neither Charles nor his overseer were at home, but all his negroes were. There is every appearance that they were guilty of the designed burning-which is worse than the pecuniary loss by the fire. This is the continuation of a dreadful state of things.

“Nov. 14. Edmund . . . went to Charles’ farm, where met Julian, Dr. Dupuy, & several others of the neighbors. They spent nearly all the day in investigating the circumstances of the fire.

“Each of the negroes was questioned apart from the others- & nothing could be learned to indicate the actual perpetrator. It is certain that the burning must have been made by malicious intention-& scarcely possible to have been without the action or knowledge of some one or more of the negroes, all then at home & close by.”
SOURCE: Ruffin, Edmund. (1972). “The Diary of Edmund Ruffin: “Toward independence, October 1856-April 1861.” William Kauffman Scarborough, (Ed.). Baton Rouge, LA.: Louisiana State University Press. p. 351.

Smith Crane Detained By Mistake – Thursday November 17, 1859
“Old Smith Crane ???? of Harpers Ferry on Thursday & not being able to make the guard believe who he was, they detained him until someone identified him today.”
SOURCE: Letter from Sarah. D. Briscoe to “my Dear Sister” Saturday, November 19, 1859.

Ex-Gov. Wise, the Hot-Headed Instigator – Wednesday, November 16, 1859
“That all of this had its effect on Governor Wise’s nerves appears clearly in his letter of November 16 to Andrew Hunter, which has only recently been brought to light: ‘RICHMOND, VA , Nov. 16th , 1859. MY DEAR SIR, -Information from every quarter leads to the conviction that there is an organized plan to harrass our whole slave-border at every point. Day is the very time to commit arson with the best chance against detection. No light shines, nor smoke shows in daylight before the flame is off & up past putting out. The rascal too escapes best by day; he sees best whether he is not seen, and best how to avoid persons pursuing. I tell you those Devils are trained in all the Indian arts of predatory war. They come, one by one, two by two, in open day, and make you stare that the thing be attempted as it was done. But on the days of execution what is to become of the borders? Have you tho’t of that? 5 or 10,000 people flock into Chastown & leave homesteads unguarded! When then but most burnings to take place? To prevent this you must get all your papers in Jeff: Berk: & Fredk & Morgan & Hamp: to beg the people to stay at home & keep guard. Again a promiscuous crowd of women & children would hinder troops terribly if an emeute of rescue be made; and if our own people will only shoulder arms that day & keep thus distinct from strangers the guards may be prompt to arrest & punish any attempt. I have ordered 200 minie muskets to be sent to Charlestown at once with fixed amt u and the Col 8 of Berkely, Jeff: & Fred: to order regt 8 to be ready at a moment. I shall order 400 men under arms. Then, ought there to be more than one day of execution? Judge P. ought to have thought of this, but he did not. If Ct Appl don’t decide before 2nd Decr I ‘1l hang Brown. If they do & sustain sentence will it not be best to postpone his ext n with the rest. He ought to be hung between two negroes & there ought not to be two days of excitement. Again it gives Legislature the opportunity of uniting with Executive in hanging Brown. Another question. Ought / to be there? It might possibly be necessary in order to proc: M. law. Say to Col. Davis that I have ordered him to act as Commissary Gen 1 for all the troops in Jefferson and he must remain & act until we are through. The Gov* may pay out of contingent fund & I gave Mr. Brown the forms of U. S. army the other day, shall of course call on Gen1 Assembly for an appropriation the first week. The guards must be kept up until 16th Dec. Watch Harper’s Ferry people. Watch, I say, and I thought watch when there. Gerritt Smith is a stark madman, no doubt! Gods, what a moral, what a lesson. Whom the Gods wish to make mad they first set. to setting others to destroying. . . . Yrs. truly HENRY A. WISE’”. SOURCE: Villard, pp. 521-522.

“Another outbreak of fear at Harper’s Ferry, two days after Governor Wise wrote this letter, led him hastily to call out four hundred men in Richmond and Petersburg, and go with them in person, on November 20, to that place and to Charlestown, which, in great excitement, were momentarily ‘expecting from one to two hundred armed men from the West to rescue Brown.’

“One hundred and fifty more soldiers reached Harper’s Ferry with cannon on November 21, but they were destined to stay only a short time, for the impulsive Governor ordered them back that night. The railroad men were at a loss to know why the Governor had called out so many men, but thought he ‘must be in possession of information we have not to justify him.’ All except one company were on their way back again by the 22d. Four days later, Governor Wise began the concentration of troops for the execution, and with it came the end of what may truthfully be called the reign of terror in Charlestown and Harper’s Ferry.” SOURCE: Villard, pp. 522-523.

More Troops and Gov. Wise – Monday, November 21, 1859
“Charles Town has had for some weeks three companies of soldiers stationed here with two cannon. Yesterday another company came from Alexandria and today another company comes there with two more brass cannon and tomorrow Governor Wise will bring 500 more regular troops.” SOURCE: Letter Sarah D. Briscoe to “my Dear Sister”, Saturday, November 19, 1859.

“Some of the Virginians disapproved of Gov. Wise having so many state troops at Charlestown, which put the state to an unnecessary heavy expense. He reviewed the troops every Wednesday afternoon, telling them the object of the North and what the slave states might expect. I never failed to attend these drills. Wise was a good talker and as stated in my lecture a red-hot secessionist. “ – SOURCE: Avey, p. 49

Fire Shirley’s – Friday, November 18, 1859
“and last night Our neighbor, Walter SHIRLEY’s crop of wheat & barn with all his outbuildings. . . “
SOURCE: Letter Sarah D. Briscoe to “my Dear Sister” Saturday, November 19, 1859.

Walter Shirley, 35, farmer, with $30,000 in real estate; $9,000 in personal property; Elizabeth, 31; children: James A. (4), John E. (2).
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide page 147.

“To add to the nervousness of the authorities, there occurred in the neighborhood of Charlestown a number of fires, all of them doubtless accidental. They continued through November, instances being the burning of the barn and stock-yards of Mr. Walter Shirley, three miles from Charlestown, loss four thousand dollars, and also those of George H.
Tate and John Burns, all three of whom had been on the jury that decided Brown’s fate.”
SOURCE: Villard, p. 520.
NOTE: John Burns was on the jury of John Brown.
SOURCE: Circuit Clerk Records of John Brown Trials, Jefferson County, WV.

Fire at Burns’ – November, 1859
John Burns, 32, farmer, with $26,4000 in real estate; $5850 in personal property; Martha E. Burns, 32; Nancy Burns, 61, lady, with $2,500 in real estate; Mathew Doran, 25, laborer; children: Mary E. (7), Fanny E. (1). SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide page 159.

Sarah Briscoe Describes Fires and Foreboding – Saturday, November 19, 1859

“my Dear Sister:
I wrote you a letter last week, but the unsettled state of the county prevented my sending it . . .I was much relieved by hearing through old uncle Bob that Molly M. had a letter from Fannie telling her you were much better . . . John has just returned from his mountain trip and came to see if I had heard from you. . . . he was sure the change would help you and Nelly too. And in the dreadful state we are in, it is all for the best that you are away from this alarming state of things. The whole country is under Martial law, No person, who is not well known, permitted to pass without giving an account of where they are going. Old Smith Crane ???? of Harpers Ferry on Thursday & not being able to make the guard believe who he was, they detained him until someone identified him today. Charles Town has had for some weeks three companies of soldiers stationed here with two cannon. Yesterday another company came from Alexandria and today another company comes there with two more brass cannon and tomorrow Governor Wise will bring 500 more regular troops. Smith CRANE brings word that ??? hundred men are coming on from Ohio to ??? in the insurection, which I looked for hourly as the negros show every sign of disposition to rebel being more than usually insolent. Mr. W. Lucas ???? yard was burned last Monday. Mr. Tate ??? carriage house and horse on Wednesday and last night Our neighbor, Walter SHIRLEY’s crop of wheat & barn with all his outbuildings. On Friday last Col. ??? in Clark County lost 4,000 bu. of wheat, barns stabling & all done by his negros. Two of them are now in jail together with some of McCormick’s his neighbor. And no doubt all the rest was the work of their own slaves. No one feels their property or even their ??? safe. Such a state of things was never worse in any country. Farmers guarding their property & the products of their industry from the black miserable wretches that they have reared & fed & who, it has been proven, could not, would not work to feed them selves. But depend on their freedom to commit every enormity & crime they can, and yet their precious friends, the Abolitionists of the North, encourage them to do this and more. Why the miserable prisoners were not executed to prove to those miserable fanatics of the North that they should all ???? of Virginia’s sovereign laws, whilst the lives of such men as TURNER and BECKHAM, sacrificed by them, require in all justice Lynch Law only. Frederick asked old BROWN, why he did not escape from the Ferry. He answered: “I don’t know. I can’t tell why I did not. I intended to do it & I intended to kill the prisoners, Washington and other. Why I did not I can not tell for I determined to do it.” I will answer why. Twas an all-wise God prevented the murderous deed. And again Smith CRANE’s overhearing at a publick house where he staid for the night, a lot of the abolitionist planning their attack on us. Is a special interposition of Providence as it enables the troops to be prepared. That an attempt at a rescue of the prisoners is what I fear. For, if rescued, they will commence their work again. I am sorry I have nothing cheerful to write. Even now Henry & Will are out with their muskets to guard their property. While I am in the house with doors bolted, wishing God & he alone can tell how it will all terminate. Do be careful. My best love to Netty & all. Write soon.”
SOURCE: In the possession of Earl Jackson in Charles Town. Transcript – Belle Boyd House, Martinsburg, WV.

Fire Larue’s – Thursday, November 24, 1859 “Clarke county – Incendiaries: On last Thursday (November 24-ED) night, three large straw ricks belonging to Mr. John D. Larue, of this county, were entirely destroyed by fire. Supposed to be the work of an incendiary.”
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press,” December 1, 1859.

John D. LaRue, 43, farmer, with $16,472 in real estate; $4870 in personal property; Maria, 20; Juliet, 77; Anna, 2.
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Clarke, County-wide, page 51.

Fire Willis’s – Thursday November 24, 1859
“Another fire – The barn of Thomas H. Willis of this county was destroyed by fire Thursday night last. Mr. Willis’s loss is about $2,000 apart from the $2,000 insurance on the barn. The hay was consumed.”
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press,” December 1, 1859.

Willis, Thomas H (b: 1801)
Household:
Willis, Elizabeth F (b: 1808) Willis, Fannie E (b: 1834) Willis, Roberta (b: 1837) Willis, Nathaniel H (b: 1842) Willis, Emma E (b: 1844)
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide. p. 134

Fire Stephenson’s – Friday, November 25, 1859
“Clarke county – Also on Friday night, (November 25-ED) the granary and carriage-house of Dr. Stephenson, near Castleman’s Ferry, were destroyed by fire. A large quantity of wheat was in the granary – some 1,300 bushels – but only about 300 bushels of it was destroyed. This is also supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Dr. S.’s loss is about $1,000.”
SOURCE: “Virginia Free Press”- Thursday November 30, 1859.

James W. Stephenson, 37, farmer; with $20,000 in real estate; $1700 in personal property; Gertrude, 33; children: William (10), Henry (7), Charles H. (3); Isabella (1).

SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Clarke, County-wide, page 54.

Col. Smith Sees Fire Plan with Ruffin – Sunday, November 27, 1859
“. . .Some discreet men here think that there are unknown agents in this village,& that it is to communicate with them that the rockets are fired in the mountains, as signals. Col. Smith, in whose opinion I place more confidence than in any other, thinks that if any rescue is attempted, it will begin by setting fire to the town. The patrol duty, in the village, & through the surrounding country is strict, & very severe on the military, & also those not in military service. For my part, I wish that the abolitionists of the north may attempt a rescue. If it is done, & defeated, everyone engaged will be put to death like wolves.” SOURCE: Ruffin, p. 362.

Sabotage Castleman’s – late November, 1859
“The stock of Mr. Castleman and Mr. Myers in the same neighborhood, had (also) died very mysteriously. The excitement caused by this was very great. Col. Davis had the Fauquier Cavalry in readiness to go out and inquire into the truth of the report about the fire. The body of Brown arrived by the special train, and will be taken on by Mrs. Brown and friends by express direct to Albany. It is desired to avoid all public demonstration, and it is determined that the body shall not be visible anywhere on the route. . . “
SOURCE: “The New York Times,” Saturday, December 3, 1859, p. 1.

Henry Wm. Castleman, 39, farmer, with $46,600 in real estate; $1300 in personal property; Charles Grimm, 15, his laborer; Catherine Wilson, 50; Duanna Sinclair, 26; children: Emily (10), John (8), Mary (7), Estelle (5), Henry (2).
SOURCE: Record Group 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide, page 154.

Henry Wm. Castleman’s chopping mill had a $1,000 capital investment, processed yearly 3000 bu. corn, rye; his plaster manufactory had a $900 investment and used yearly 100 tons plaster; he invested $300 in his saw mill and yearly sawed up 400 logs.
SOURCE: 1860 Census, Products of Industry, Virginia, Jefferson County, p. 209.

Sabotage Myers’ Farm – late November, 1859
“The stock of Mr. Castleman and Mr. Myers in the same neighborhood, had (also) died very mysteriously. The excitement caused by this was very great. Col. Davis had the Fauquier Cavalry in readiness to go out and inquire into the truth of the report about the fire. The body of Brown arrived by the special train, and will be taken on by Mrs. Brown and friends by express direct to Albany. It is desired to avoid all public demonstration, and it is determined that the body shall not be visible anywhere on the route . . . “
SOURCE: “The New York Times,” Saturday, December 3, 1859, p. 1.

Joseph Myers, 59, farmer, with $26,000 in real estate; $10,000 in personal property; Wm Myers, 19, blacksmith apprentice; Samuel Strain, 27, blacksmith; Elizabeth Myers, 56; Joseph, 22; Thomas F., 18; George W.; 12; Lucinda, 24.
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide, page 156.

Joseph Myers was a juror in the trial of John Brown.
SOURCE: Circuit Clerk, Jefferson County.

Joseph Myer’s blacksmith business required a capital investment of $800 and used eleven tons of iron and coal annually.
SOURCE: 1860 Census, Products of Industry, Virginia, Jefferson County, p. 209.

John Brown Hanged – Saturday, December 2, 1859
“I had in my possession my employer’s field glasses and with the aid of these powerful lenses brought the principle actor in this awful drama as close to me as you are. Brown stood on the scaffold facing the south, with his arms tied at the elbows and his legs tied at the ankles. He was asked if he had anything to say, but with an expression of weariness on his face he only responded: ‘No, I have nothing to say. I shall not detain you. Whenever you are ready, go ahead’ Sheriff Moore then pulled the white cap over his face, placed the hangman’s noose about his neck, adjusted the knot under the left ear. “He stood waiting for death. ‘Captain Brown’ said the sheriff, ‘you are not standing on the drop, will you come forward’ ‘I can’t see,’ was his firm answer; ‘you must lead me.’ The sheriff led him forward to the center of the drop. ‘Shall I give you a handkerchief, and let you drop it as a signal?’ ‘No, I am ready at any time, but do not keep me needlessly waiting.’ The sheriff then came down off the scaffold, took a hatchet and cut the rope, which ran down the right hand post from Brown. This tripped the trap on which he stood and the victim dropped with lightning quickness, the four-and-one-half feet which made the fall. His neck was instantly broken. He drew his legs up twice and turned facing the southeast, and when twenty minutes had transpired, Dr. Strath felt his pulse and pronounced him dead. John Brown died as he lived tragically, bravely, as a lion to the last. His body was cut down and placed in the casket which George Sadler, the undertaker, had made for him from walnut.”
SOURCE: Avey, p. 42-43.

A Previous Comment by Brown to Wise:
“Governor, I have, from all appearances, not more than fifteen or twenty years the start of you in the journey to that eternity of which you kindly warn me; and whether my tenure here shall be fifteen months, or fifteen days, or fifteen hours, I am equally prepared to go. There is an eternity behind and an eternity before, and the little speck in the centre, however long, is but comparatively a minute. The difference between your tenure and mine is trifling and I want
to therefore tell you to be prepared; I am prepared. You all [referring to slaveholders] have a heavy responsibility, and it behooves you to prepare more than it does me.”
SOURCE: Villard, p. 71.

Fire/Sabotage Wm Turner’s, George Turner’s – Dec. 2, 1859
“While on the scaffold, Sheriff Campbell, asked him (John Brown) if he would take a handkerchief in his hand to drop as a signal when he was ready. He replied: ‘No, I do not want it – but do not detain me any longer than is absolutely necessary.’ Shortly before (?-ED) the execution, and whilst the body was being taken to the depot great excitement was raised by the arrival of a horseman, announcing that Wheatland, the late residence of George W. Turner, who was shot at Harper’s Ferry, was on fire, and that the fire was extending to the farm and buildings of William F. Turner. “The latter, who was in town, said that he had left home around 10 o’clock in the morning. He said that several of his horses had died very suddenly, and also some of his sheep. He intended to have their stomachs analyzed as he believed them to have been poisoned.”
SOURCE: “The New York Times,” Saturday, December 3, 1859, p. 1.

William F. Turner, 47, farmer with $78,000 in real estate and $25,000 in personal property.
SOURCE: Record Group: 29 NARA Population Schedules for the 1860 Census, compiled 1860 – 1860 M653. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedules. Virginia, County: Jefferson, County-wide, page 130.

Copeland, Green, Coppic and Cook Hanged a the same location John Brown and the others were. – Saturday, December 16, 1859

Beginning of the War Against Slavery – Andrew Hunter
That Hunter and Governor Wise realized that the State would profit largely by the drill and experience the troops obtained at Charlestown, Mr. Hunter admits in these words:
“From facts disclosed in the trials, from the intercepted correspondence of Brown and his followers, and from other sources, a new view of the case was opened to us in respect to the political significance of this movement of John Brown; we began to see that, Wise, and before the trials both he and became convinced, that this Brown raid was the beginning of a great conflict between the North and the South on the subject of slavery, and had better be regarded accordingly. This furnishes an additional explanation of the reason Governor Wise assembled so large a military volunteer force at Charlestown and the neighboring points. It was not alone for the protection of the jail and the repelling of parties who were known to be organizing with the view of rescuing Brown and the prisoners, but it was for the purpose of preparing for coming events.”
SOURCE: Villard, p. 527.

References:

Avey, Elijah. (1906).”The Capture & Execution of John Brown: A Tale of Martyrdom.” Chicago, IL: Hyde Park Bindery. Print.

Avey, Elijah. (1906).”The Capture & Execution of John Brown: A Tale of Martyrdom.”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 17 April 2011.

Ruffin, Edmund. (1972). “The Diary of Edmund Ruffin: “Toward independence, October 1856-April 1861.” William Kauffman Scarborough, (Ed.). Baton Rouge, LA.: Louisiana State University Press. Print.

Ruffin, Edmund. (1972). “The Diary of Edmund Ruffin: Toward independence, October 1856-April 1861.”
Google Books. 19 July 2008. Web. 17 Feb. 2010.

Villard, Oswald Garrison. (1910). “John Brown 1800-1859: A Biography Fifty Years After.” 1910, London: Constable & Co. Print.

Villard, Oswald Garrison. (1910). “John Brown 1800-1859: A Biography Fifty Years After.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967).
“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia [microform] (Volume Reel 1355 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules – James City and Jefferson Counties).” Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). “Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia. [microform]
(Volume Reel 1392 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules Slave – Henrico, James City, Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1964). “Population schedules of the seventh census of the United States, 1850, Virginia.” [microform] (Volume Reel 0953 – 1850 Virginia Federal Population Census Free Schedules – Jackson, James City, and Jefferson Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 31 July 2008. Web. 3 March 2011.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1964). “Population schedules of the seventh census of the United States, 1850, Virginia. [microform] (Volume Reel 0988 – 1850 Virginia Federal Population Census Slave Schedules – Hampshire, Hancock, Hanover, Hardy, Harrison, Henrico, Henry, Highland, Isle of Wight, Jackson, James City, and Jefferson Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 31 July 2008. Web. 3 March 2011.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967). 1860 Census, Products of Industry, Virginia, Jefferson County.

“The New York Times,” Saturday, December 3, 1859, p. 1.

“Virginia Free Press”- Thursday November 30, 1859.

Sarah Briscoe Letter, Saturday, November 19, 1859; In the possession of Earl Jackson in Charles Town. Transcript – Belle Boyd House, Martinsburg, WV.

Jefferson County Circuit Clerk, Jefferson County

589 Enslaved Counted in 1860 as “Escaped”

589 Enslaved Counted in 1860 as “Escaped”
By Jim Surkamp on June 17, 2011 698 words

Why So Many Enslaved Persons Got Away

The 1860 Census, taken by Mr. Joseph Coyle across Jefferson County during the summer following the raid, trials, and executions related to John Brown’s group, shows 589 persons, listed as “slaves,” as having escaped. The escapes on the Census form are denoted as “E” , (shorthand for “escaped”), under column number six, denoting “fugitives, out of state.” Moreover, pages 11-51 all show at least one recorded escape, except one page (45), and the first ten pages record no “escapes”, suggesting that the Census-taker may have not begun deliberately counting the escapes until the eleventh page of the Slave Schedule Census. Census takers in adjacent counties do not record escapes in any significant number in column number six. Very, very few, in fact. Escaping enslaved persons, it appears, was a major problem unique in the region to Jefferson County.

NOTE: Recording the “escaped” might have been a peculiarity of Mr. Coyle’s recording preferences. In 1860, an escaped person was still considered, under existing laws as “missing property” still owned by the person being interviewed for the Census. Mr. Coyle had reported for himself the loss from an “escape.”)

The pattern of escape puts much of the escaping in the southeastern portion of the county where the farm land is uniformly the most fertile, and where the most mills were operating on the Shenandoah River.

The following four maps show the property locations of persons who reported five or more persons escaping them. While no conclusions can be drawn, the ferry to the famous resort – the Shannondale Springs – in that area but on the eastern, mountainous side – was run by the Goens or “Goins,” a family of free, black boatman in 1860.

Moreover, Thomas Goens bought, in early 1859, 29 acres of land adjacent to a ten-acre parcel recently bought by another free black man, named Jackson Newman. They bordered the Shenandoah River and were a short distance south of the Shannondale Springs and its ferry ramp. The conditions and opportunity existed for an enslaved person to escape, depending on the willingness of the Goens family.

Osbourn Anderson, a free black man with John Brown who escaped successfully, chose this same mountainous ridge as the safest way to get to his destination, Chambersburg, PA.

References:

Anderson, Osborne. (1861). “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry: A Narrative of Events at Harper’s Ferry; with Incidents Prior and Subsequent to its Capture by Captain Brown and His Men.” Boston MA: self-published. Print.

Anderson, Osborne. (1861). “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry: A Narrative of Events at Harper’s Ferry; with Incidents Prior and Subsequent to its Capture by Captain Brown and His Men.” Date of publication online not available. Web. 29 Dec. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967).
“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia. [microform]
(Volume Reel 1392 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules Slave – Henrico, James City, Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

7 Biggest “People-Owners,” Jefferson County, Va. 1860

by Jim Surkamp on June 15, 2011 660 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20191004124917/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/7-biggest-people-owners-jefferson-county-va-1860/

The County reported 1,926 dwellings and 1941 free families in them, 34 fewer dwellings than in 1850’s Census report and 59 fewer families.

Adam Stephen Dandridge II – 80 enslaved
Dr. William F. Alexander – 28 enslaved
Francis Yates – 35 enslaved
  • Adam Stephen Dandridge – 80 enslaved
  • Thomas Hite – 41 enslaved
  • Henry Shepherd – 35 enslaved
  • Francis Yates – 35 enslaved
  • Braxton Davenport – 35 enslaved
  • William Grove – 30 enslaved
  • William F. Alexander – 28 enslaved

References:

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967).
“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia [microform] (Volume Reel 1355 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules – James City and Jefferson Counties).”
Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967).
“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia. [microform]
(Volume Reel 1392 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules Slave – Henrico, James City, Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1964). “Population schedules of the seventh census of the United States, 1850, Virginia.” [microform] (Volume Reel 0953 – 1850 Virginia Federal Population Census Free Schedules – Jackson, James City, and Jefferson Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 31 July 2008. Web. 3 March 2011.

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1964). “Population schedules of the seventh census of the United States, 1850, Virginia. [microform] (Volume Reel 0988 – 1850 Virginia Federal Population Census Slave Schedules – Hampshire, Hancock, Hanover, Hardy, Harrison, Henrico, Henry, Highland, Isle of Wight, Jackson, James City, and Jefferson Counties).” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 31 July 2008. Web. 3 March 2011.

Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. Maps Collection. Print.

Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. 27 Oct. 2009 Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Free, Black Families in Jefferson County, Va., Towns 1860

by Jim Surkamp on June 15, 2011 550 words

https://web.archive.org/web/20190710015148/https://civilwarscholars.com/2011/06/free-black-families-in-jefferson-county-va-towns/

BOLIVAR:
Free Black Families in 1860 with the number in each:

Fisher 8
Short 5
Bateman 9/Myers 1
Brady 5
Harvey 7
Brown 5
Jones 6
Bateman 13/Myers 3
(1860 Census)

CHARLESTOWN:
Free Black Families in 1860 with the number in each:

Brown 3
Goins 1 (Thomas, a Blacksmith)
Freeman 6
Spellman 3
Chapman 2
Walker 6 (Nancy, a Washerwoman)
Pippin 4
Harris 6
Parker 6
Buckner 5
Webb 1 (Matilda, a Washerwoman)
Brady 1 (James, a Barber)
Welcome 1 (John, a Farmer)
Webb 3
Hunter 3
Dixon 9 (Achilles, a Blacksmith)
Moore 3
Johnson 4 (Martha, a Washerwoman)
Davenport 4 (James, a Blacksmith)
Williams 3 (James, a Butcher)
Brown 3
Hart 4
Blue 7
Redman 4
Warrick 2 (separate households)
Whiting 7
(1860 Census)

HARPERS FERRY:
Free, Black Families in 1860 with the number in each:

Seibert 2 (Jacob, a Cook)
King 5
Trammer 2
Welcome 6 (Anthony, a Blacksmith)
Pippin 5
Harris 5 (Jeremiah, a Plasterer)
(1860 Census)

KABLETOWN:
Free Black Families in 1860 with the number in each:

Hall 7
Newman 8
Johnson 4
Goins 13 (Stephen, Lawson Boatsmen)
Hart 4
(1860 Census)

SHEPHERDSTOWN:
Free, Black Families in 1860 with the number in each:

Hopkins 6
Stripling 5
Ross 4 (Mary, a Washerwoman)
Hopewell 2
Stripling (2nd household) 2
Morrison 2 (Julia, a Washerwoman)
Hopkins (2nd household) 6
Ferguson 1 (James, a Blacksmith)
(1860 Census)

References:

United States. Bureau of the Census; United States. National Archives and Records Service. (1967).
“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Virginia [microform] (Volume Reel 1355 – 1860 Virginia Federal Population Census Schedules – James City and Jefferson Counties).”

Jefferson, Kanawha, King George, King and Queen, and King William Counties).”
Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” United States. The Library of Congress: American Memory. Maps Collection. Print.

Brown, S. Howell. (1852). “Map of Jefferson County, Virginia from actual survey with the farm limits.” Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2010. 27 Oct. 2009 Web. 10 Sept. 2010.

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