Surprisingly the Transcendentalists loved him

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau thought he was “Jesus come to life,” such was the aura around John Brown abolitionist. Born on May 9th, 1800 in West Torrington, Litchfield County, Connecticut, he was the third of six children to Owen and Ruth Brown. The first having died in infancy, the second was a girl named Anna, and then John was named for Owen’s father and grandfather.1

The Sword is mightier than the pen

I have John Brown pegged to 18 Libra or the Hyperion symbol of a “Church in the Andes” because his elevated standard call for some degree of separation or isolation. The keyword is Adherence because of maintenance of a consistent loyalty and faithful attachment to something larger and greater than his self. His Part of Fortunate at 01 Taurus 04 is a Ship’s compass or his unerring sense of direction that others mouth but he works hard to manifest.

The Browns desolate after their first son’s death, felt that this was a sign from God, and in the aftermath of the “great awakening” joined the Torrington Congregational Church. In 1804 the Brown family left Connecticut and moved west to Ohio’s Western Reserve where others in their congregation had gone and settled in Hudson, Ohio. He married his first wife, Dianthe Lusk, on June 21 1820. After bearing six children, Dianthe died in 1832 and John remarried Mary Ann Day on June 14, 1833.

Brown was executed on December 2, 1859 in Charles Town, West Virginia for his raid on Harper’s Ferry with “General” Harriet Tubman and their planned slave uprising. Frederick Douglass and Wm. Lloyd Garrison had both against the plan and recommended he consider different tactics.

Truth to Power

Garrison in particular believed in a nonviolent crusade because he felt bloodshed was evil and ungodly. He sought to bring the slaveholder, whom he considered an unregenerate sinner, to his knees and unto God by the sheer moral force of abolition argument. Douglasson the other hand, believed that bloodshed was inevitable because “in their proud hearts they could never give up their slaves unless a big stick was over their heads” but after touring around the North, particularly throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio advocating insurrection, Douglass was stunned to find his Yankees audience did not support that idea at all. Most were horrified by his suggestions, so that by 1859 and Brown’s Harper’s Ferry Raid, he had changed his tune and counselled Brown heavily against it.

Brown did not listen. Instead he crossed swords with US General Robert E. Lee with JEB Stuart under his command and was captured. Slaves in the area did not rise up to join him as he had thought, and two of his sons from Mary were killed; his son Owen from his union with Dianthe and named for his father, escaped. Brown’s exploits in Kansas “Bloody” Kansas have been noted previously here.


  • Oates, Stephen B., Purge this Land with Blood, A biography of John Brown, New York, Harper & Row, Publishers c. 1970, first edition.
    • chapter 1, page 7.

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