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
Lock of John Brown's hair. The tags read "Hair of John Brown of Ossawatomie, given to me by Mrs. Stearns, 1869 -L. Alexander," "John Brown's hair, cut off of his funeral by his daughter, given by her to Mrs. G.L. Stearns, by Mrs. Stearns to me, L.G.A."
Courtesy of the Medford Historical Society & Museum
Program for the dedication ceremonies of the Stearns Estate marker in front of Cousens Gymnasium, held April 8, 1987. The dedication consisted of several speakers and a performance of "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" ("Battle Hymn of the Republic," sung to the tune of "John Brown's Body") by Julia Ward Howe of Medford.
Excerpt from the will of Mary E. Stearns, 1901. She dictates that a third part each of her remaining estate holdings should be given to Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Berea College, and Tuskegee College, for "The George L. Stearns Memorial Fund of [that College]" for the purpose of "promoting in those several institutions the education and elevation of the youth of the South, and especially of the youth of the colored race, in whose interest and welfare my deceased husband George L. Stearns ever felt such a profound interest and to which he gave such devoted service."
Snippet of the executor's inventory (dated July 14, 1913) of the will of Mary E. Stearns, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The typewritten document gives a list of items donated to Tufts College and their assessed value ($100.00).
Excerpts from the handwritten will of Mary E. Stearns, who died in December 1901. The excepts itemize a number of specific objects in her house that she would like to be donated to Tufts College after her sons are finished with them. The text reads, "Also to hold for the use and enjoyment of the said Henry during his life the following described articles of personal property situated in the house where I now reside namely: my tall "grandfather's clock" on the front stairway, the "highboy," the cabinet, the tripod table, the old English mirror, all the old-fashioned chairs which belonged to my deceased husband, the bust of John Brown, the bust of George L. Stearns, the bust of Beethoven, the bust of Emerson, the bust of Clytie, the Venus of Milo, and the several paintings painted by my old friend Christopher P. Cranch, excepting only the one hereinbefore given to Lenora Cranch Scott, said articles all to be kept, preserved and used by him during his life in the house where I now live and not elsewhere."