An Eyewitness Describes The Hanging Of John Brown

Harper’s Weekly refused to print the story “Porte Crayon” wrote at the scene. Brought to light 95 years later, it is presented here.

John Brown of Osawatomie, the guerrilla captain of Bleeding Kansas and leader of the abortive raid on Harpers Ferry to free the slaves, was hanged on the bright balmy morning of December 2, 1859. The scene of the execution of the old abolition raider was at Charlestown, then in Virginia, but soon to become Charlestown, West Virginia, through the agency of a war which Brown’s Harpers Ferry foray hastened.Read more »

The Secret Six

Without the material support of a half-dozen prominent northerners known as the Secret Six, John Brown’s attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry 150 years ago may well never have occurred

ON OCTOBER 17, 1909, a small group of former abolitionists quietly gathered in an imposing brick house in Concord, Massachusetts, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John Brown’s historic raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, then a part of Virginia. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Franklin B. Sanborn, and Julia Ward Howe, widow of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, did not want their meeting to attract attention despite the fact that Brown and his compatriots were being celebrated across the country.Read more »

The Father of American Terrorism

Two hundred years after his birth, Americans still revere him as a martyr and loathe him as a fanatical murderer. What was he?

 

On December 2, 1859, a tall old man in a black coat, black pants, black vest, and black slouch hat climbed into a wagon and sat down on a black walnut box. The pants and coat were stained with blood; the box was his coffin; the old man was going to his execution.

 
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