Monday, April 18, 2016

The Long Shadow of John Brown

Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859)
Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859)
On Wednesday, April 13, I spoke at the Peninsula Library. My talk, "The Long Shadow of John Brown", sponsored by the Cuyahoga Valley Civil War Round Table, is one of my favorite topics. I have followed the story of John Brown for over 40 years and would like to share some observations about Brown, his family's years in Hudson, Ohio, and his connections to Western Reserve Academy.

WRA connections:
  • Owen Brown, father of the abolitionist, was a founding trustee of the college and school in 1826.
  • Samuel L. Adair, brother-in-law of John Brown, went to our school in the 1830's
  • Charles Storrs Adair, son of Samuel & Florella Brown Adair, was named for Charles B. Storrs, first President of Western Reserve College (1830-1833) and "the first martyr of the abolitionist cause".
  • Charles Storrs Adair, nephew of John Brown, was a student here at WRA 1860-1862 before dropping out to join the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and serving for the rest of the Civil War.
  • Newton B. Hobart, (b.1854) Headmaster of Western Reserve Academy 1880-1892, was proud to be the nephew of John Brown. Hobart mentioned Brown in letters to WRA years later.
    Newton B. Hobart
    Headmaster Newton B. Hobart, who was Head of WRA 1880-1892; he was a nephew of John Brown and could recall sitting on his lap as a small child (Hobart was born in 1854).
  • Julian Scott, grandson of Lora Case to whom John Brown's last letter was addressed, was a WRA graduate, class of 1897. He was the father of Ellen Scott Mickel, WRA 1921 and Jeanette Scott McCuskey, WRA 1925.
  • Julian Scott, WRA class of 1897
    Julian Scott, WRA class of 1897
  • John Brown's last letter, written to Lora Case of Hudson, was loaned to the school in the late 1920's for a special exhibit. It is now in the Schomberg Collection at New York Public Library.
 John Brown's 216th birthday is May 9, 2016.
John Brown (1800-1859)
Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859)

His wife, Mary Ann Day Brown's 200th birthday was April 15, 2016.
Mary Ann Day Brown
 Mary Ann Day Brown, wife of John Brown, with daughters Annie and Sarah, taken in 1851.
John Brown's house built in the early 1820s
The house that John Brown built in the early 1820's, still standing at 1842 Hines Hill Road, Hudson. It was here that the first three of John Brown's 20 children were born. Photo from Reserve Record, 1929, before the house was remodeled.