Tuesday, December 1, 2009

John Brown in Cavendish VT

The November 29 Rutland Herald, contains an article about John Brown in Vermont, ) including Cavendish.

Below is the portion of the article that pertains to Cavendish.

What Coffin only discovered six weeks ago, however, was that Brown made a visit to Cavendish in 1857, probably in hopes of securing some of the $20,000 the Vermont Legislature had approved to support anti-slavery settlements in Kansas. Although Vermont's governor at that time, Ryland Fletcher, was a devout abolitionist, he turned down Brown's request for some of the money at the Cavendish meeting.

Coffin tripped across a newspaper recounting of the visit in a microfilmed copy of the Rutland Herald from May 7, 1869.

The writer, who is not identified, described how Brown's physical appearance on that visit differed from the bearded photographs taken around the time of the Harpers Ferry raid.

"... Hair closely cut, beard neatly shaven, tight, stiff stock around his neck, no collar, or dickey, closely fitting swallow-tailed coat ..." the newspaper described. "As soon as it was known that 'John Brown' was stopping in our village, all manifested a desire to see and hear the man ... Notice was given that he would meet the people at the school house, and at the appointed hour an audience assembled.

"We introduced the modest and unassuming old man ... He went on and told the tale of his struggles with the despotism of slavery ... We little thought then how soon 'John Brown's body' would be mouldering in the ground, but his soul was even at that hour 'marching on.'"

"I thought, 'Wow,' Coffin said of the article's discovery. "It's an authentic account, there's no question because you couldn't make this stuff up. It's somebody in Cavendish who was working for the Herald."

Brown was raising money all over New England at that time. "I'm sure he had Harpers Ferry in mind then," Coffin said. "You can see what a celebrity he is here. People apparently flocked to see him, to meet him."

1 comment:

  1. So glad you picked this up. I heard Howard Coffin talking about it on Vermont Edition in connection with the guy who did the book on John Brown. Fascinating!