A staunch abolitionist, John Brown led a raid on the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry (Jefferson County) in October 1859, in an attempt to establish a colony for freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland. Brown was captured and hanged for treason in Charles Town on December 2, 1859.
John Brown (1800-1859) Engraving by
J. C. Buttre.
United States Armory From Edward Beyer's Album of Virginia (1857), this is how the armory appeared at the time of the raid.
Harpers Ferry This photo shows the ruins of the armory buildings, destroyed by retreating Union soldiers on the night of April 18, 1861.
Harpers Ferry This modern view, ca. 1950s, shows the lower town area without the restored John Brown's Fort. The original site of the fort is marked by a white monument near the railroad's right bend.
Beall Air On the night of October 16, 1859, Colonel Lewis Washington was kidnapped from his house near Halltown by several of John Brown's raiders. Brown took possession of a saber presented to Colonel Washington's great-uncle, George Washington, by Lafayette.
John Brown's Fort On October 17, 1859, Brown removed his remaining prisoners to the Armory engine house, where he was later captured. After the Civil War, John Brown's Fort became a tourist attraction and was sent to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. It was returned to a farm near Harpers Ferry then moved to the campus of Storer College, and today stands in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, one hundred feet from its original location.
Jefferson County Courthouse Site of the trials of John Brown and his raiders in Charles Town.
Andrew Hunter Charles Town attorney who assisted in the prosecution of John Brown.
Arraignment of John Brown Drawing by James E. Taylor (1899) of the arraignment of Brown at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town.
Trial of John Brown Sketched by Porte Crayon, reproduced from Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. Brown is pictured lying on a stretcher, still recovering from the sword wound inflicted by Israel Green.
Gibson House John T. Gibson built this house in 1891 on the site of John Brown's hanging in Charles Town. This photo was taken in 1898.
The Civil War and Statehood
West Virginia History Center