John Brown House Journey

Who was John Brown?

John Brown is significant because he was a courageous abolitionist and a key player in the battle to free enslaved African Americans. His Calvinist/Abolitionist roots gave him a deep belief in the equality of all creatures. To an abolitionist, everyone was created equal, so everyone deserved to be free. If a person was against slavery and didn't do anything about it, they were just as guilty in his eyes. John Brown was a strong advocate for the use of violence to rid the nation of slavery.1 Born in Ohio, he and his wife followed their sons to the territory of Kansas, like many other abolitionists, for the sole purpose of voting on whether Kansas, a new State, would enter the Union as a Free or Slave State. This was in 1855, after the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854,2 and bloodshed followed.

Who Was John Brown?

Battle at Home

The Adair Cabin, a stop on the Underground Railroad and the home of John Brown's half sister and her husband, Samuel Adair. The cabin and its surrounding property was the site of the Battle of Osawatomie. Pro-slavery militia brought the fight over African American's freedom or enslavement to the front door of abolitionist John Brown. A child was born to one of the African Americans living in the home during the Battle, and John Brown lost one of his sons who was killed. The rest of his family made it out and headed to Lawrence, Kansas where the fight continued.

Battle at Home

At the Center of the Battle: African Americans

The Adair's shared their home with John Brown, his wife and their 5 sons, and African Americans who were liberated from enslavement. At one time, 12 African Americans lived there with the Adair and Brown families, which is astonishing because the rooms are so small. In one room, there is a small bed, desk and other pieces of furniture. Upstairs is an attic where the children slept. It was a violent time. it was horrible for those who had to endure battle. African American people were already enslaved in the United States for over 200 years at this point in history. Those who escaped were being captured and returned to slavery or killed. John Brown led others who thought like himself in the killing of those who wanted to keep African Americans enslaved

Bedroom & Attic

The Battle Doesn't Stop Here!

The dining room is housed with artifacts of battle. Muskets that were used on the actual Battle of Osawatomie are cased in glass. John Brown was determined to keep the fight going. Next stop, Lawrence, Kansas, then, onto Harpers Ferry, Virginia with courageous warrior enslaved African Americans ready to do battle alongside him. His infamous Raid at Harpers Ferry4 on October 16, 1859 was unsuccessful. John Brown's mission to train enslaved African American to kill those who stood in the way of their freedom ended in his conviction and death by hanging on December 2, 1859. Dining Room & Artifacts