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George Luther Stearns

George Luther Stearns, 1809-1867, was a self-made and very successful businessman in Massachusetts. He was generous in his support of the free-state cause in Kansas and served as chairman of the Massachusetts State Kansas Aid Committee. From a financial standpoint, he and his wife Mary also proved to be two of John Brown’s most important benefactors between 1857 and 1859.

During the Civil War, Stearns became as a recruiter of African American soldiers for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiments and was commissioned a major. He unsuccessfully advocated equal pay for black troops and continued his work on behalf of African Americans until his death in 1867.

Further Reading:
Heller, Charles E. Portrait of an Abolitionist: A Biography of George Luther Stearns, 1809-1867. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.
Rossbach, Jeffery. Ambivalent Conspirators: John Brown, the Secret six, and a Theory of Slave Violence. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.
Stearns, Frank Preston. The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1907.


Chapter Six: The Eastern Connection

His Soul Goes Marching On

West Virginia Archives and History