Sunday, February 19, 2017

Voice of America Interview for Black History Month

Dennis Frye, Harpers Ferry Historian, and I were interviewed for the Voice of America story, Debate Still Rages Over Controversial American Abolitionist John Brown, for Black History Month.

I hope you enjoy the article.



Thursday, January 26, 2017

John Brown III, the church bell ringer

I received an email yesterday from a very kind gentleman alerting me to the sale of a gold watch formally owned by John Brown III, John Brown's grandson. Here is his email:

Alice, I collect Excelsior Pocket watches and one hit Ebay today that sparked my interest that should find its way back into your family.  It was presented to John Brown III  in 1910 by the Saint Pau'ls Church .  After his death in 1917 the watch appears to have been in possession of another family member of yours named J B Alexander whom added some free-hand art to the face of the watch and I believe this same Alexander became the Mayor of "Put-In Island" as well.
  Hope this piece makes it back into the family.   Cheers


 Here are some pictures of the watch


 The inscription on the back reads "Presented to John Brown by the members of St Paul's Church Dec 25 1910."  The members of St Paul's church gave the watch to John to thank him for his years of dedication as the bell ringer for the church.

John was mentally challenged, and after the death of his parents he lived with his sister Edith and her husband Thomas B Alexander. Thomas must have used the watch after John's death, you can see his name on the front of the watch.

Guess what?  I bought it!  Just as my kind email friend hoped, the watch is now back in the family.

I thanked the seller for allowing the watch to return to the family and he responded:

Alice,  Your very welcome. 
  I would ask the church  if they have records of when they presented the pocket watch to John Brown III and get a copy of the record if possible. 
 Uncle Alexander's free hand  Masonic /Odd fellow art on the face of the watch is a major distraction to collectors but with out it , I would not have been able to connect it / authenticate it using genealogy records ect. ;  Gods work...
  
 This watch presented to his grand son by  Saint Paul's Church was given to him for his dedication as the bell ringer  for the community there on the Island which seems symbolic to me in some way.  

  The church's  selection of an" Excelsior " pocket watch also interests me, but that's a whole other story.
Congratulations on it finding its way back to the family  ; You have no idea how happy I am for you and that watch.