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    John Brown of Osawatamie Autograph Docket Including his Surname "Brown" at top corner of a single sheet, 8" x 5.25", containing letters (one on each side) from his sons Owen and Jason Brown. John Brown acknowledges receipt of his son's letter: "Jason & Owen Brown / Requires no reply" at the top margin of a cryptic and undated letter from his son Jason. Jason writes to his father: "What I wrote John [likely his brother, John Brown, Jr.] about Pikes Peak, while you was there was designed entirely for your Mountain enterprise [underlined for emphasis]. It seems that I worded it so that you and John both misunderstood me. I have always felt a deep interest in this golden project, but have not had confidence for some years, that the real ore would be dug out so near home and on your plan of mining till this last winter. As you say, when prosperity and success attend you you will have plenty of friends.... May God spare your life; and lives, many years, J.B."

    Owen's letter on the verso is dated "Akron, May 2nd 1859... We have not seen your writing case, which you say was lost, either at Chicago, or somewhere this side -- I believe & hope that your life & health, may be spared for several years. I cannot think you have finished your work yet. -- You have mistaken Jason's ideas of 'moorings' entirely. He is heartily engaged in the measure & as he says 'At this late hour, wished to be considered one of us [underlined for emphasis]... While you was in Kansas last season, I wrote you once. Sometime in August... We have not heard from John [Jr.] in several months, if it was myself, it would be no wonder; as it is him, I am beginning to think strange of it..."

    These letters were written just two short months before the attack on Harper's Ferry. During this time John Brown was traveling throughout New England, trying to raise funds, arms, and men to join his plot to overthrow slavery in the south. The family had already taken to writing in code, so it is likely that the underlined words and cryptic phrases were in fact allusions to the Brown's plans. Brown would return to Akron in June, at which time sons Owen and Oliver would join him on his ill-fated quest to Harper's Ferry. Brown had already forfeited all ventures besides his quest to abolish slavery, so it is likely Brown's abolitionist plot that Jason refers to when he references Brown's "golden project". Likewise, Owen's admonishment that Jason wishes to be "considered one of us" is meant to denote that Jason had planned to join in the struggle. John, Jr. was conspicuously absent during this period. There is conflicting information that states he was opposed to his father's plans, and also that he had misunderstood the timing. Whichever the case, he spent the rest of his life defending his father's legacy.

    Soiled with smudged fingerprints and a few stray inkspots; otherwise near fine and very legible. An excellent letter and important relic from the last months of preparation prior to Brown's arrival at Harper's Ferry. Brown arrived in Harper's Ferry in early July of 1859. Brown would lie in wait until October, and on the 16th would lead his 19 men in an attack on the Armory. His original plan had called for 4500 men.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 821

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