Thursday, October 16, 2003

Ohio Moments

Abolitionist captured in Harpers Ferry raid

On Oct. 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown - who grew up in Hudson, Ohio - was captured while raiding the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va. He had hoped to incite a slave insurrection.

Born in 1800 in Torrington, Conn., Brown moved with his family to Hudson in 1805. His father, Owen, was a strict antislavery Calvinist who later served as a trustee of Oberlin College. Nearly everyone in Hudson was involved in helping escaped slaves. Brown, too, hated slavery - especially after witnessing the brutal beating of a slave boy when he was 12.

Growing up in Hudson, Brown learned the leather-making trade. He married young and began fathering a large family, which he had difficulty supporting. He moved to Franklin Mills (now Kent), Ohio, in 1835, and found some success operating a tannery along the banks of the Cuyahoga River.

He invested a good deal of money in the Franklin Land Co., hoping for a quick return. Instead he was driven to bankruptcy.

Humiliated and broken, Brown decided to turn his attention to the abolition of slavery.

He was hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, for the raid on Harpers Ferry.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call 768-8361

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