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In the course of the partnership of Perkins and Brown, a lawsuit arose, which is thus described by a correspondent at Vernon, near Utica:

"During the years 1852, '3, and '4, Mr. Brown was one of the firm of Perkins & Brown, doing a large wool trade, buying and selling, in Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts. The sale of a large quantity of wool to parties in Troy, N. Y., brought on a lawsuit between Perkins & Brown and those parties. Mr. Brown's counsel resided in Vernon, and he was here many times during those years. He prosecuted that suit with all the vigor and pertinacity which he is said to have since displayed in other matters. He obtained a verdict in his favor, just before the Anthony Burns affair in Boston - I think in 1853. The Trojans appealed from their verdict, and Brown then spent some weeks here in looking over the testimony with his counsel, and preparing an answer.

"The morning after the news of the Burns affair reached here, Brown went at his work immediately after breakfast; but in a few minutes started up from his chair, walked rapidly across the room several times, then suddenly turned to his counsel, and said, 'I am going to Boston.' 'Going to Boston!' said the astonished lawyer. 'Why do you want to go to Boston?' Old Brown continued walking vigorously, and replied, 'Anthony Burns must be released, or I will die in the attempt.' The counsel dropped his pen in consternation. Then he began to remonstrate; told him the suit had been in progress a long time, and a verdict just gained. It was appealed from, and that appeal must be answered in so many days, or the whole labor would be lost; and no one was sufficiently familiar with the whole case except himself. I took a long and earnest talk with Old Brown to persuade him to remain. His memory and acuteness in that long and tedious lawsuit - not yet ended, I am told - often astonished his counsel. While here he wore an entire suit of snuff-colored cloth, the coat of a decidedly Quakerish cut in collar and skirt. He wore no beard, and was a clean-shaven, scrupulously neat, well-dressed, quiet old gentleman. He was, however, notably resolute in all that he did."

Source: James Redpath, The Public Life of Capt. John Brown. London: Thickbroom and Stapelton, 1860, p. 58

Chapter Three: The Abolitionist Calling

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History