About John Brown
Brown was born on May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut. After moving to Ohio at five, he acquired a deep seated hate for slavery, from his father. In 1834, Brown established a program to educate young blacks. The next 20 years of his life were dedicated to this and similar abolitionist ventures. In 1855 he followed five of his sons to Kansas Territory, a high tension slavery area. Under Brown's influence, his sons became active participants in the fight against pro-slavery terrorists from Missouri, whose activities resulted in the murder of a number of abolitionists at Lawrence, Kansas. On May 24, 1856, Brown and his sons avenged these crimes, at Pottawatomie by killing five proslavery adherents. Withstanding a large party of attacking Missourians at Osawatomie in August, along with this move, made him nationally famous as an irreconcilable foe of slavery.
In 1857, with increased financial support from abolitionists in the northeastern states, Brown began to formulate a plan to free the slaves by armed force. He secretly gathered a small band of supporters for this project, which included the establishment of a refuge for fugitive slaves in the mountains of Virginia. He finally launched the venture on October 16, 1859 with a force of 18 men, seizing the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and winning control of the town. After his initial success he made no attempt at offensive action, but instead occupied defensive positions within the arsenal. His force was surrounded by the local militia, which was reinforced on October 17 by a company of U.S. Marines under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee. Ten men, including two of his sons, were killed in the following battle, and he was wounded and forced to surrender. He was arrested and charged with various crimes, including treason and murder. He distinguished himself during his trial, which took place before a Virginia court, by his defense of his efforts in behalf of the slaves. After conviction, he was hanged on December 2nd at Charleston, Virginia.
For many years after his death Brown was generally regarded among abolitionists as a martyr to the cause of human freedom. Brown's rebellion and causes are considered one of the contributing factors to the civil war. For years after his death, his methods and cause were carried through, and the tension he raised resulted in a greater barrier between the abolitionists and pro-slavery people.