Crimes & Disasters
Documents & Records
Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. II
Henry Howe, C. J. Krehbiel & Co., Cincinnati,
John Brown, abolitionist who led the famous
attack on Harper's Ferry in 1859, was born at Torrington, Conn.,
May 9, 1800, the son of Owen and Ruth (Mills) Brown. He is said to
have been descended from Peter Brown who came to America on the
Mayflower, and was the grandson of Capt. John Brown who served in
the Revolutionary War.
The family moved to Hudson in 1805 and Owen Brown opened a small
tannery west of the village and later farmed and raised sheep.
On June 21, 1820, John Brown was married to Dianthe Lusk, of
Hudson. They had seven children: John, Jason, Owen, Frederick,
Ruth. Frederick (2), and an infant son buried with its mother
August 10, 1832, three days after birth. About a year later he was
married to Mary A. Day, at Meadville, Pa. They had thirteen
children: Sarah, Watson, Salmon, Charles, Oliver. Peter, Austin,
Anne, Amelia, Sarah (2), Ellen. infant son, and Ellen (2).
Mr. Brown worked with his father until about 1826 when he went to
Crawford County, Pa., and engaged in tanning, sheep raising
and surveying for about nine years. He then returned to Ohio
locating in Franklin Mills (now Kent), which was then booming, and
in partnership with Zenas Kent started building a tannery. Before
the tannery was completed, the partnership broke up and Mr. Brown
bought a farm just south of the village in partnership with a Mr.
Thompson and laid out a subdivision, also erecting a large wooden
building for stores and hotel purposes.
On the collapse of the Franklin Mills boom in 1839, Mr. Brown
entered into partnership with Heman Oviatt, a large land owner of
Hudson and Richfield, and went into the sheep and wool business on
an extensive scale. This venture too proved unprofitable and Mr.
Brown became bankrupt in 1842.
As related in the general text, Mr. Brown then became associated
with Col. Simon Perkins in Akron, moved to North Elba, N.Y., in
1849, and in 1855 went to Kansas and took a leading part in the
border warfare between the pro-slavery and free-state settlers.
Subsequently, with the intention of destroying slavery, he
attacked Harper's Ferry on the night of October 16, 1859. with 21
men, including two of his sons who were killed during the battle
with Federal forces two days later. Brown was captured and on
December 2 was hanged in Charlestown, Va. His body was claimed by
his widow and buried at North Elba on December 8.
John Brown - SA
PBS TV Documentary, The American Experience,
John Brown’s Holy War