Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Brown: Twice-Signed Manuscript Receipt and Bonus Letter. 3 ½" x 7 ½" document on lined paper written entirely in the hand of John Brown. Osawatomie, Kansas, December 2, 1858 (one year to the day before Brown's execution for leading the failed slave insurrection at Harper's Ferry). "Received of Rev. S. L. Adair $10. Ten Dollars in part payment of the National Kansas Committee claim against Andrew Updegraff. John Brown Agent of the National Kansas Committee. Also received of same one pair Pants & one pair Mitts Decem 2d 1858. John Brown Agent of National Kansas Committee". Adair was one of Brown's sons-in-law. The National Kansas Committee was established in Massachusetts as a direct result of the 1856 sacking of Lawrence, Kansas. Its purpose was to supply funds and other support (i.e., firearms) to the anti-slavery or Free State residents of Kansas and to do whatever necessary to discourage "Border Ruffians" from Missouri in their efforts to establish Kansas as a slave state. Osawatomie was the site of an August 30, 1856 battle between Brown and a massive force of Border Ruffians that resulted in the sacking of the town. Later, Brown and some followers murdered five pro-slavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek. By the time this receipt was written, things had settled down in "Bleeding Kansas", but plans were afoot to foment a "servile insurrection" to put an end to slavery. Sold together with a 7 ¼" x 9 ¼" letter, Philadelphia, April 20, 1860, 4 pp., to Dr. Wm. Reinhardt. The unknown writer is obviously very well-educated and erudite with a dry sense of humor. He discusses development and culture in Brazil, a typhoid outbreak in Pennsylvania, slavery and its effect on both the slaveholder and the slave, and details of the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry, his trial and execution. In part: "Their act was one of such apparent madness that many were inclined to think them all insane, yet Brown and his associates exhibited from first to last such coolness and heroism, associated with the highest form of humanity, that even Govr. Wise was constrained to say that 'Brown is a brave and honest man.' They appear to have been animated by a high sense of 'religious duty', and believed that their 'call and vocation' was to be the liberators of the slaves."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 753

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 June 7 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,569,038