Letter written by John Brown in his jail cell a few days before his execution. The original letter was given to Mary Ann Brown at the time of her visit to her husband December 1, 1859. After his execution, Mrs. Brown sent the letter to Mrs. Stearns in a Bible. The letter reads: "Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Va., 29th Nov. 1859. Mrs George L Stearns, Boston, Mass. My Dear friend, No letter I have received since my imprisonment here, has given me more satisfaction, or comfort: than yours of the 8th inst. I am quite cheerful: & was never more happy. Have only time [to] write you a word. May God forever reward you & all yours. My love to All who love their neighbours. I have asked to be spared from having any mock; or hypocritical prayers made over me, when I am publicly murdered: & that my only religious attendants be poor little, dirty, ragged, bare headed & barefooted, Slave Boys; & Girls; Led by some old greyheaded, Slave Mother. Farewell. Farewell. Your Friend, John Brown."
Image courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives, John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection
Letter from Lydia Maria Child in Wayland, MA, to John Brown while in prison, October 26, 1859. (Note: The front and back page of this letter have been placed side by side.) In the letter, she decries Brown's violence, but assures him "that no honest man ever shed his blood for freedom in vain, however much he may be mistaken in his efforts."
Child, Lydia Maria
Image courtesy of kansasmemory.org, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply
Oil on canvas painting of John Brown on the way to his execution on December 2, 1859. Brown, still injured from the failed raid at Harpers Ferry, was said to have kissed the head of a black baby on his way to the gallows.
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Stoeckel, 1897
Page on which are reproductions of photographs of John Brown's Northern Supporters, known as the Secret Six: George L. Stearns, Gerrit Smith, Frank B. Sanborn, T. W. Higginson, Theodore Parker and Samuel G. Howe. This six funded John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry.
Image courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives, John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection.
Pike said to be one of the 954 pikes purchased by John Brown (with funds provided by George L. Stearns) for the attack at Harper's Ferry. The label associated with the object reads "Col. Stearns Estate, John Brown's pike." Whether the pike is truly one of the 954 is unknown; its previous whereabouts were not recorded.
Courtesy of the Medford Historical Society & Museum