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Frank B. Sanborn

Born in 1831, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn was the youngest member of John Brown’s Secret Six. He graduated from Harvard just two years before meeting Brown and, at the urging of Ralph Waldo Emerson, established a school in Concord, Massachusetts. He soon became active in the Kansas Free State cause, and became secretary of the Massachusetts State Kansas Aid Committee in 1856, which brought him into contact with John Brown.

In the years after John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Sanborn was one of Brown’s most dedicated defenders, and he wrote many articles on John Brown as well as the biography The Life and Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas, and Martyr of Virginia, first published in 1885. Over the years, he also was editor of several publications and served in various capacities with several penal and charitable entities. Sanborn died in 1917.

Further Reading:
Rossbach, Jeffery. Ambivalent Conspirators: John Brown, the Secret six, and a Theory of Slave Violence. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Sanborn, Frank B. Recollections of Seventy Years. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1909.


Chapter Six: The Eastern Connection

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History