Thursday, December 31, 2009

Two Great Posts About Harpers Ferry

I would like to recommend a great Blog to my readers. The Blog is called History Matters - The Historical Musings of Jerad Frederick, and he is a fellow blogger here at I hope you enjoy his blog and particularly these two posts about The Sesquicentennial at Harpers Ferry

 The first post is a detailed account of the Friday Night Events at Kennedy Farms and the walk to Harpers Ferry. A walk I wish I could have done, if my knees were better. But at least I was a participant in the events Friday evening.

The second post is a detail accounting of the Raid with great citations.

Please let Jared know that you enjoyed his blog!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Owen Brown, Son of John Brown Plaque

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Treasure - Traditions

I just read this wonderful post about Christmas Traditions on footnoteMaven's blog, and it started me thinking about my family's traditions and Christmas past.

Tradition of the trees:  Yes I said trees. We had one in the living room, standing over 7 feet tall with a branch span of around 6 feet.  The tradition of each child having a small tree in their room, covered in our own personal decorations (more about them later). The tradition of the entire family climbing into the family station wagon to  go down to the Christmas Tree lot to pick it out. We never had  fake trees, only real trees in our household.

Memories of my mother watering the tree with an empty glass coke bottle. Needles falling onto the carpet, some to be vacuumed up immediately, and others working their way down into the nap waiting to be discovered in July, a secret promise of things to come. Daddy climbing the old metal stool-chair to get the decorations down from the attic.

Tradition of the decking the tree: what memories I have of the boxes of decorations. Gold, silver, red, green, blue, smooth, shiny, new, old, small, large, every conceivable shape, size, color, and texture. Here are the small plastic balls, not much bigger than a large marble, that hook together to form a chain. The glass bird that clips to the tree branches with its full, feathery tail hanging down. The glass, gold icicles that were always hung closest to the tree trunk. Decorations that Jane, James, and I made in school, childish concoctions of paper, glue and glitter, slowly fading and falling apart, yet still placed in the prime positions for all to see. Gold and red glass beads strung on waxed thread for draping as garland on the tree. Just when you thought our main tree could hold no more decorations, we brought out the thin, shiny, silver icicles that we hung so thick our green tree looked silver.  With the many string of tree lights turned on, the tree sparkled and colors danced everywhere you looked.

Tradition of personal ornaments: My favoirite tradition was the new ornament that Jane, James and I received each year. This is one tradition that I have kept alive for my children. Each year a new ornament is presented to each child. Each one has a story behind it:  the teddie bear for the son that collected them, the nutcracker for the son who collected them, the Star Trek ornaments to celebrate the movies we saw together, the glass birds bought by Grandma, the musical instruments exactly like the instruments the boys play in school, all of the ornments have a meaning and a memory attached to them. While my mother was alive, the boys often received two ornaments a year, one from me and one from her. Last year I gave the boys a John Brown ornament from the National Abolition Hall of Fame, while this year I needlepointed a reindeer ornament for the boys and for Geoffrey's fiance, Lucia. And so the tradition continues.

Tradition of Food: My family always had two Christmas meals. Christmas Eve at our home and Christmas day at Grandma and Poppa's house. We always had relish trays packed high with radishes, celery, carrot sticks, olives (to were on your fingers), green onions, and pickles - bread and butter and sweet pickles. On Christmas, after all gifts were open and shared with one and all, we drove to Grandma and Poppa's house for Christmas Lunch! More yummy food including the Cook Family Fruit Salad - made with oranges, pineapples, bananas, and sweet condensed milk. Not healthy, but oh so yummy. We also had a tradition of making candy - lots of candy. Fudge, Almond Roca, Divinity, Orange Nut Roll, Coconut Haystacks, Peanut Brittle, Caramels. This is one tradition that I have not really continued with my children.

Tradition of the Gifts: After Christmas Eve dinner at our house, we would retire to the living room and everyone was allowed to open one gift. This early gift helped the little ones get over the "I can't wait till morningism" and allowed for a calmer opening of gifts.  One of the younger children handed out one gift to each person and then we opened them one at a time and oohed and aahed over the contents.Then cookies and milk left out for Santa and the children were put to bed. I have continued the one gift on Christmas Eve with my children.

Traditions of Santa: When I was in Jr High my parents remodeled our house and bricked up our fireplace, so Santa had to visit us through our front door from then on. But the biggest Santa tradition in our house was that he left at least one of our Santa gifts in our rooms. In fact, that is how I learned there was no Santa Claus - I awoke and saw my dad putting my portable record player in my room on Christmas. Santa left the rest of his presents and our stockings under the tree in the living room. In our house Santa left unwrapped gifts. The whole family all had to be up and in the living room before we started opening gifts and going through our stockings. Santa always brought us an orange, candy canes and nuts in our stockings, traditions that I have continued with my kids. The orange and nuts are a continuation of a tradition started in the Brown Family Line, by Annie's daughter Bertha.

NEW TRADITIONS: My friend and neighbor, Judi, and I have created new traditions for our families at Christmas. Our two families spend Christmas Eve together snacking, singing carols and doing "Christmas Crackers" that are home made. The crackers have jokes, hats, toys and treats inside. Then we all gather around for the readings. Her husband reads the Bible story about christmas and then my husband reads Twas the Night Before Christmas. Then we tuck the children into bed.  On Christmas Day, our families share Christmas lunch together.

I hope you enjoyed my memories of Christmas Traditions. I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas with your family and your own traditions


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Final Resting Place - Musings of a Genealogist

I did not fully understand funerals, casket viewing, or visiting grave sites until I was over 40 years old. I have only been to 4 or 5 funerals in my entire life, and never visited grave sites until recently.  My maternal grandparents passed away when I was in Jr. High school, and while I remember that my mother went to Arizona to take care of the details, we as a family never discussed their deaths, if they were cremated or where they are buried. Since my family never discussed such things, I never gave them any thought.

My paternal grandparents both passed away after I moved away from California. I did not go home when notified of their deaths, because my family did not have funerals for them. I did go home to be with my Dad when my Mother passed away, but again we did not have a funeral for her as she was cremated and her ashes were scattered in Monterrey Bay.

During the past three decades, as I have research and studied my family history, I have all but ignored the information about funerals and burials. Since I never gave any real thought to my immediate family's burial information, why should I care about those who passed away hundreds of years ago?

But all of that is changing now.  The more time I spend working in the family history, the more I have the nagging feeling that I want to know where the "bodies are buried" and have started thinking about my own arrangements. I have visited quite a few of the grave sites of my ancestors: John, Mary, Annie, Ruth, Ellen, Sarah, Owen, Hannah, Watson, Oliver, Martha, Ellen, Bertha, George, and Cora. Participating in the events leading up to and including the burial of John Brown was so moving that I now find myself wanting to visit and leave flowers at my grandparents and mothers graves, but alas they do not have graves  for me to visit (except the ocean).

All of this has started me thinking about future generations - if I, someone who never gave a second thought about death and eternal resting places, has a such a strong desire to visit her mother's grave, and feels such a strong need to visit graves of her ancestors, how will her descendants react to the lack of graves in this span of generations?  What Am I Going To Leave My Descendants???????

I have, until now, always wanted to be cremated and have my ashes scattered, just like my parents and grandparents. But now, after the Year of John Brown, when I have traveled across America visiting historic sites and family grave sites, I find that I have a desire to leave a place of interment for my descendants to be able to visit me and feel the closeness that I have felt when standing near my ancestors graves. Now I have questions about what to do after I die. Cremation or burial? If cremated do I want the ashes spread or placed in urn or interned? Do I want a full grave site or a small niche with a plaque? What about headstone wording? Where do I want to be remembered, in my childhood home of California or Texas, my home of the past 30 years? So many new questions.

Guess Fred and I have some long hard discussions ahead of us, as I try to figure all of this out. Keep you posted.

Written for the January 2010 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Blog Carnival, Topic: The Final Resting Place.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Festival of Postcards - The White Issue - Black and White Postcard

See the full Festival of Postcards here -

The black and white postcard I chose to present for your viewing pleasure is titled: "Tomb and Old Homestead in Essex County, N.Y., where "John Brow's Body Lies a-Mouldering in the Grave." Copyright 1908 by W. L. Erwin. I purchased this postcard on ebay.

W. L. Erwin produced most of the early twentieth century postcards relating to John Brown, Harpers Ferry, WV and North Elba, NY. Using a mixture of black & white photographs and period pen & ink drawings, the Erwin produced cards dominated the John Brown postcard market.

This postcard features two views of the John Brown Farm in North Elba, NY. The top view is of John Brown's gravestone. The bottom view is of the farmhouse as it looked in 1908. I have supplied detailed information about the two views below.


History of the Headstone:

There are five names on the headstone. This stone was originally carved as a memorial for John Brown's grandfather, John Brown (1728-1776) who was a Captain in the 8th Company, 18th Regiment of Connecticut during the Revolutionary war, who was buried where he died, near New York City, NY. This stone rested in small cemetery near Simsbury, Hartford, Connecticut, marking the family plot. When John's mother, Hannah, died in 1831 the stone was replaced with a larger marker.

In 1858, Brown had the old gravestone shipped to his farm in North Elba, where he arranged to have an inscription carved on the back honoring his son, Frederick, who was killed and buried in Kansas in 1856. Prior to his hanging on December 2, 1859, Brown left instructions to have his name as well as the names of Oliver and Watson, who died during the Harpers Ferry Raid added to the stone and placed at the head of his grave.

The headstone was originally free standing and open to the elements. A wooden case (shown in the postcard) was erected to protect the stone. A glass case was later erected around the stone.

Front of Grave stone

In Memory of  Capt. John Brown
Who Died At New York Sept. 3 1776
in the 48 year of his age


Born May 9, 1800
was Executed at Charleston, Va.
Dec. 2, 1859


Born Mar. 9, 1839, was
Killed at Harper's Ferry
Oct. 17, 1859

Back of Grave stone

In memory of FREDERICK
son of John & Dianthe Brown
Born Dec. 21, 1830, and
murdered at Osawatomie
Kansas, Aug. 30, 1856
for his adherence to
the cause of freedom

Born Oct. 7, 1835, was
wounded at Harper's Ferry
Oct. 17 & Died Oct.
19, 1859

History of the Farmhouse

The two story high, wood frame house was home to the Brown family from 1855 until 1863, when the family moved to California. Brown's son-in-law, Henry Thompson, originally built the house for approximately $100.00 in 1855. The original house was 30 x 25 feet with three rooms on the ground floor: a parlor, John and Mary's bedroom and a kitchen/dining area. The upper level was open and served as sleep quarters for all of the children. Temporary walls, or curtains, were installed to give privacy on a limited level. There was also a rough excavated basement for food storage. The house was heated with two stoves, a cooking stove in the middle of the kitchen and a smaller warming stove inn the parlor.

The Farm was owned by the Browns from 1855 to 1866, when it sold for $700.00 to Alexis Hinckley, a neighbor who had been renting the farm from 1863 – 1866. Hinckley sold the property to a coalition headed by Kate Field in 1870, for $2000.00. The coalition rented to the farm to Reuben Lawrence who lived in the house with his wife and eight children. To make the small house livable for this large family, many additions were made to the house. The picture on the postcard shows the house with additional porches on the front and rooms added to the back of the house. Look closely and you can see two of the Lawrence women sitting on the porch. The Lawrence family continued to live at and operate the farm until 1914. Various other caretakers lived in the house until the 1920s when the caretaker house was built.

In the 1950s the John Brown Farmhouse was restored to the original status.

  1. James A Beckman, Postcard History Series: Harpers Ferry, Copyright 2006, ISBN 0-7385-4291-1 Published by Arcadia Publishing, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2006924193
  2.  Edwin Cotter, Site Assessment and Analysis for use in the preparation of A Master Plan For John Brown Farm State Historic Site, June 1988
  3. Sate of New York, John Brown Farm State Historical Site, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Presevation, Printed 4/2004

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two Great Op-Ed Pieces from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise

John Brown, a live one

POSTED: December 10, 2009

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:
Having attended many of the events commemorating the execution of John Brown, I was impressed how the "faithful" - those devoted to the cause John Brown fought for - pay their respects very quietly, for personal reasons, without much notice from the larger world. While there was fanfare and attention to the marking of 150 years, the small number who make this pilgrimage feels like a select crowd. Obviously we haven't reached a consensus of his historical relevance, worthy of a broader appeal to our population - even from the safe distance of 150 years.

This historic importance of what Brown accomplished and stood for appeals to me as a creative person who identifies with underdogs, radicals and revolutionaries. Brown transcends the ordinary domain of bookish historians and - I think - would appeal to our local independent thinkers, especially in the context of a predominately white North Country demographic, and in stark contrast to the template of tourism and sports infrastructure of Lake Placid.

These events did "diversify" our neighborhood, yet briefly. We heard from Maria Suarez, who was enslaved in America in our lifetime, who afterward was wrongly imprisoned in the U.S. for more than two decades. One attendee reminded us of our local imprisoned population who are easily forgotten.

Through scholarly presentation, theatrical and literary presentation, spiritually inspired musical performance and solemn ceremony, we experienced a rich expression of how one life can touch many.
Peter Seward

Lake Placid
Excellent tribute to a great martyr
Adirondack Daily Enterprise  12.14.09

In my earliest memory I see myself as a very small boy, looking upward with
awe at the green, bearded giant with his arm over the shoulder of a Negro
boy. I wanted to be that boy, to be that loved.

I grew up next to John Brown's grave; I bought a California home beside
Mary's grave, lived there a decade, returned to live now where I started, on
Great Lot 94 in North Elba next to John Brown's Lot 95. My father, like his
father, was born in John Brown's house; he told endless tales of the place,
relayed by Lyman Epps Jr. and others who lived and died in the magnetic aura
of John Brown. Figure out John Brown, and you'll have figured out America.

North Elba and the world owe a debt of gratitude to Naj Wikoff, organizer of
this past week's John Brown Coming Home festival, which took place exactly
150 years after John Brown was dropped to his death on the gallows at
Charles Town, Va. (now part of West Virginia) and the ensuing week as his
widow Mary Ann Day Brown brought him home and laid him in repose beneath the
huge Labradorite in their front yard. (See this paper, prior editions, for
the coverage of all events.)

The great abolitionist's great-great-great-granddaughter was a remakable
presence throughout the festival. In Tuesday's snow, Alice Keesey Mecoy,
descendant via Annie Brown, and I went to the graves of the first Ellen
Brown, who died here in 1849, and Martha Brewster Brown, Oliver's widow.
Martha died soon after childbirth, within days of her child's death, in the
dead of 1860's winter at John Brown's farm - "collateral damage." She was
with Annie near Harpers Ferry the previous summer.

Russell Banks gave a powerful reading from his novel "Cloudsplitter" at the
Heritage House in Westport Sunday last. Setting up Owen Brown's attitude
about race, he read, in Owen's voice, "A black person made me constantly
conscious of my whiteness." He went on, "Whenever I was aware of my
whiteness, I was ashamed. Race consciousness is wrong like sex
consciousness." Owen proceeds to describe the "cure" for this condition - to
adopt "a permanent feeling of separation from his tribe," meaning from white
folks. This is exactly my case, diagnosed in better words than I would ever
have come up with. Persons sensitive to our racial dilemma and our polyglot
heritage often feel "outside"; witness Ishmael, the narrator of "Moby Dick,"
as a stereotype.

Pulitzer nominee Kevin Bales reminded us of the vast extent to which slavery
has persisted through the 20th century to now. Mr. Bales' plea for abolition
was followed by the testimony of Maria Suarez, who, as a legal immigrant
seeking honest employment, was swept up by an employer who turned
sex-enslaving monster - a monster soon murdered by another. She was charged
as an accessory, given a huge sentence in prison and supposed to be finally
deported. Her salvation was an absolute and rare miracle, as the USA today
relies more on angels than on justice.

Saturday evening's St. Eustace ceremonies included some of the finest
oratory and music ever heard in these parts. "Ironweed" author William
Kennedy gave us a hagiographic and ribald account of Russell Banks' life of
literature and always sticking up for the down. He told how Banks arrived in
Cuba too late to help Fidel kick Batista, too late to become Hemingway's
doppelganger, but not too late to endure six-hour rants by Castro on the
merits of revolution. And how, accidentally, Banks failed to become a Che
but succeeded in becoming huge in American literature and a composer of
sweeping, whooping, transcendental essays such as "Dreaming up America."

Sunday, the meaty academic core of the festival was capped by Don Papson's
historical documentation that after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, many
fugitives from slavery were moved through the Adirondacks: on Gerrit Smith's
lands, in North Elba, in Wilmington and at other points well off the main
line of the subterranean passage. Papson's huge work has put to death the
canard that no fugitives from slavery were extant at Timbuctoo, thus
validating the plot, the central and obvious assumption that a leopard
cannot shed his spots, upon which Banks built Owen Brown's tale, as told in
"Cloudsplitter." So-called historians who heretofore claimed there were no
slaves in Lake Placid are now debunked. Papson has worked in the trenches
that they ought to have excavated rather than presuming lack of evidence was
evidence of lacking.

Sunday evening's moving performance was a synchronized speaking of text
blended with folk music by Magpie, exulting in the fates of the various
heroes of Harpers Ferry. Monday afternoon, a team of grand Belgian horses
brought John Brown's casket finally home. That evening, Magpie - Greg and
Terry by now - gave the finest two-person play of the last days of John
Brown as he awaited his Dec. 2 deadline. Greg and Terry transmigrated their
obvious love to the hyper-affectionate last days as Mary descended from this
"icebox" into the warm, open arms of her soon-to-be martyr, Old Osawatomie
of the Kansas free state. Magpie's new CD on John Brown will tear your heart
with sweet passion.

Fittingly, John Brown's present-day fanatics wrapped up his 150th year of
immortality at Heaven Hill. It reminded me how the Transcendentalist words
of Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Henry Thoreau (like Naj, he inverted his
name, to Henry David) launched John Brown like a meteor from the shameful
gallows of Charles Town into the forefront of American political symbology
(using Dan Brown's coinage) and our national monomyth (using Joseph
Campbell's term) of always being saved by the hero acting in the name and
place of divine providence.

That day, with Jim McKenna's assistance, I identified a photo from the local
historical society which shows the homestead of Henry and Ruth Brown
Thompson. This house, not previously identified, is presumed the place where
John Brown was feted as he disembarked for his date with destiny at Harpers
Ferry. Also, some say that a young boy, Thomas Peacock, had walked a mile
east from his home to attend the party. This house, extant until about 1960,
was sited at the apex of Uihlein's potato fields, about one-fourth of a mile
due east from Bear Cub's 90-degree bend. These 160 acres were purchased from
Gerrit Smith in 1857 by Amos Lawrence of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid
Society for $1,000 as security for Mary when John returned to Kansas. He
wrote Mary to give half to Henry and Ruth, to repay Henry for building the
cabin near John Brown's Labradorite. I found the deed for this half recorded
in Elizabethtown.

Anthony G. Lawrence lives in Lake Placid.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Poem about Sesquicentennial

Here for the first time ever is a new poem about John Brown and the Sesquicentennial. It was written by a dear friend, who has given me permission to share it with the world on my blog.  Please enjoy!

After Harper’s Ferry
                       by Gwen Gunn

snow began to fall on Adirondack rocks
as wreaths were laid to decorate the Old Man’s grave 
where for one hundred fifty years
he has lain since being hanged

Roy Innis was first    co-founder of CORE
shaky underneath a black umbrella
followed by a line of younger activists
locals from Lake Placid   travelers from afar

like Maria    who told of rape and bondage in Texas   
slavery still exists    but at least it’s now illegal
the horrors of John Brown’s days are fewer
his violence is becoming seen as justified

black folks have always understood that slavery
maintained by force of torture   of loss of family
indeed   of all identity   required force to end it
as slaves were sent farther south after the cotton gin

this peculiar institution grew more profitable
while the fugitive slave law made no free black safe
laws had to be broken to help them
abolitionists were terrorized and killed

passive resistance freed India from Britain
and improved civil rights in the Sixties
by facing detainment    dogs   even death
resistors risked their lives for their cause

but is it fair for an outsider to ask that of the victims?
moral suasion wasn’t winning after our revolution
John Brown couldn’t stand to see more ruined lives
believed he had to fight for those enslaved

American patriots fought to oust the British
the U.S. and Europe fought against the fascists
feeling there was no other way but force
now again we’re in a “just war” to free others

the Old Man in this grave farmed these hills with Africans
when most white people thought them lesser beings
his war against terror was personal    profound
seems in retrospect less mad than many others  

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Upcoming Radio Show Appearance

Featuring an All Star Panel:

The Folk Duo Magpie - Greg Artzer and Terry Leonine
Comedian and Activist -  Dick Gregory
National Congress of Black Women National Chair - Dr E. Faye Williams 
Direct Descendant of John Brown - Alice Keesey Mecoy 

Join us as we discuss the history of John Brown, the Harpers Ferry raid, the December 2, 1859 hanging, the 150th anniversary events in West Virginia and New York, as well as highlight the modern-day battles of abolitionists. 

Show:                             Make it Plain with Mark Thompson
Network:                       Sirius XM Satellite Radio 
Channels:                      Sirius Left 146 & XM America Left 167
Date:                             Thursday, December 17, 2009
Time:                             6:15pm EST (5:15CST)
Length:                          30-45 minutes
Type:                             Live by phone with callers

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Year of John Brown Comes To An End

"In Saratoga, California, my father, Paul Meredith Keesey, a great-great grandson of John Brown, and here in North Elba, New York, I, a great-great-great granddaughter of John Brown, participated in the ceremonies commingling the soil from John and Mary Brown's graves. Today, though their bodies are buried on opposite coasts, John and Mary Brown have been reunited by the actions of their descendants.

The reenactment of the burial of John Brown and the commingling of soil between John and Mary Brown's graves represent the culmination of 2009 – The Year of John Brown.

I have been both honored and proud to represent the Brown family as I have traveled to and spoken at many of the sites with John Brown historical significance: Red Bluff, Rohnerville and Saratoga, California; Hudson and Akron, Ohio; Charles Town and, of course, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and now, North Elba, New York.

Along the journey, I have had the opportunity to connect with many friends I have been corresponding with for years and have met many new friends. Like my ancestor, I do not see strangers, only friends I have not yet met.

The Year of John Brown has been an emotional year for me personally. I have experienced tears of joy and tears of sadness, moments of noise and longer moments of silence, examined the dark ugly side of humanity and celebrated the shining light of humanities greatest moments.

As I have traveled throughout this year, I have felt the presence of my great-great-great- grandfather, John Brown, close by my side -  his hand on my shoulder when I needed comforting, his fingers brushing the tears gently from my cheeks when I wept, and laughing with me in my moments of joy, although I laugh much louder than he did.

Now we come to the end of The Year of John Brown – but it is not the end of the fight. John Brown gave the ultimate gift of his life to end slavery, but we are still surrounded by this most evil of institutions.

During my travels, I have often heard people say, "Slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation, or if it does exist, it is only in underdeveloped countries. America does not have slavery." To this I answer, "No, you are wrong. Not only does slavery exist in the undeveloped countries, but in your own backyard. Slavery is not the public selling of another human, but rather the complete control of a person by the threat of violence for economic gain. A slave is a human being with no rights! This atrocity still exists today."

"But what can I do," you ask, "I am only one person. How much difference can I make?"

You must do everything you can to stop this evil:

Support the efforts of civil rights organizations such as C.O.R.E. ( and the NAACP (

Become active in an Anti-Slavery organization like Free the Slaves ( or The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (

Tell your friends, your neighbors, your family, your children, your teachers – stop strangers on the street and tell them about slavery and the need to end it.

There are so many things you can do, JUST DO SOMETHING!

As we come to the end of The Year of John Brown, we commemorate his death, celebrate his life and pledge to continue the good fight, remember, John Brown was only one man, and look at what he accomplished!"

Alice Keesey Mecoy
Great great great Granddaughter of John Brown
December 8, 2009
Heaven Hill Farm>
Lake Placid, NY

Closing Speech of the John Brown Coming Home Events in Essex County, NY. Heaven Hill Farm, December 8, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Photographs from the Hanging Reenactment

I will do a write up when I have more time. I am just back from Charles Town WV and on my way to North Elba NY for a symposium on John Brown and then a reenactment of the burial of John Brown.  So until I can write all about it, enjoy the pictures

John Brown exiting the Courthouse  

Mary Brown, Alice Keesey Mecoy, John Brown and Naj Wickoff

Comedian Dick Gregory speaking at Reenactment

Monday, November 30, 2009

I have been awarded the "Kreative Blogger's Award "

Robyn (of Reclaiming Kin), made my day today when she emailed me to tell me that she awarded me the "Kreative Blogger's Award." I am honored to be in such great company and hope that I can continue to both entertain and educate with my blog.

My research into my ancestor, John Brown, and his descendants has taken me all over the United States, and introduced me to many, many new friends. When I was younger, I never imagined that I would be friends with College Professors, Historians, Published Authors, History Buffs, Descendants of Frederick Douglass, Bloggers and many others who just share an interest in my ancestor.

I enjoy writing the blog, although I have been lax in my writing lately due to all my John Brown travels. I am on my last two trips this week, and things should quiet down around here after the commemoration of his burial in North Elba, NY on Dec 8, 2009.

This award comes with the responsibility of sharing 7 things about myself and passing the award on to 7 more bloggers.

Seven Things You May Not Have Known About Me:

1. All through my children's 12 years of schooling I answered to the name "The Twins Mom" (I am the mother of identical twin boys, now 23 years old)

2. I make really cool, outlandish, over-the-top Bows (I used to own a Gift Basket Company)

3. I can crochet, tat, needlepoint, cross stitch, crewel, embroider, quilt, smock, candlewick, weave, but I can not Knit!!! (anybody want to teach me?)

4. I have known my "Bestest Friend in the Whole Wide World" Cheryl for 48 years, ever since we collided on our tricycles.

5. I am fascinated by Serial Killers, and read every book I can find on the subject.

6. I refuse to cook fried food (If you want fried chicken, KFC is down the street!)

7. My favorite folk group is Twice as Far. My very good friend and neighbor, Judi,  is in the group and I go to all of her concerts! (You can listen to thier music on their site)

I hereby award the Kreative Blogger Award to the following  Blogs that I read and enjoy!

The Family Curator
The Tangled Branches of My Family
The Olive Tree
We Tree
Footenote Maven
The Heart and Craft of Life Writing
John Brown The Abolitionist: a biographers blog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I need help with a numbering challange

I hope some of the genealogist that read my Blog can help me with a Henry Numbering System question.

The work I am doing on the descendants of John Brown is a continuation of years of work started by Dr Clarence Gee. Dr Gee assigned the Henry Numbering System to each person in the data collection. Since Dr Gee's work has been referenced for years, I wanted to continue the established numbering system.

We start with Capt John Brown and his number is B1
His son Owen was his 8th child so his number is B18
John Brown is Owen's fourth child so his number is B184
John's 20 children are numbered B1841, B1842, B1843, B1844, B1845, .......B184X, B184XI, B184XII etc to Ellen, the 20th, with number B184Xx

Great, everything is going well until today I was trying to enter a cousin's line and she has 2 ties back to John Brown. Her Grandfather is descendant from Ruth Brown Thompson and her grandmother is descendant from Solmon Brown. This means that both grandparents have a unique Henry Number.


This is making my head ache. Does anyone have a solution to this strange problem?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Owen Brown - my gggg Grandfather

John Brown's father, Owen Brown (1771-1856) is buried in the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground, located on Chapel Street in Hudson Ohio. Also buried here are Owen's first wife, Ruth Mills Brown (1772-1808), his second wife, Sally Root Brown (1789 - 1840) and Owen and Sally's son, Watson (1813-1832). Owen is buried between his wives, with Watson next to Sally.
The graves are shown in the picture at right.  From left to right: Watson, Sally, Owen (base only), and Ruth. Owen's headstone has broken off the base.

When Owen's headstone fell, it fell face down, and to prevent the possibility of more damage to the stone being caused by well meaning public trying to turn the stone over, the City of Hudson Park and Recreation Department have placed the headstone face up in front of Ruth's headstone. The P&R Department is working on a plan to not only repair Owen's headstone, but also preserve all historic headstones in Hudson.

 As early as the 1920s,  the descendants attending the annual Brown Family Reunions, expressed concern about the maintenance of the Brown's headstones. They discussed commissioning the building of wood and glass enclosures,  similar to the one around John Brown's headstone in North Elba NY, to protect the headstones of Owen, Ruth and Sally from the elements and the effects of time. This subject was discussed at numerous future reunions, but no final decision was ever made. And so the effects of time continue to take their toll on these headstones.

These are lovely violets that I found growing wild in the cemetery. Small, yet prolific, they add a spark of color to this small cemetery.
On a non John Brown note: I found this headstone, for Stephen Thompson, Jr who served as a drummer boy in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. His stone has brass markers to show he was a veteran of each of these wars. He is buried one row behind Owen and his family.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday Treasure - Recording of John Brown's Body

Over the past 30 years, I have been the recipient of some fascinating letters, emails, FaceBook notifications, and phone calls from people regarding John Brown.

One such FaceBook connection occured in June of this year and resulted in today's featured treasure. Emeritus Professor of Mycology at Cornell University, Richard P. Korf wrote me the following:
I assume you are the lady I read about in an article sent to me by my cousin from her local paper, indicating that you are a great-great-great-granddaughter of John Brown of Harpers Ferry fame. I have a strong connection, in that I was very influenced by the story, and particularly the book-length poem called John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benét, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 1929. Probably you have read it. Oddly enough it never was made into an audio book. I finally discovered that there is a copyright issue, and managed to get permission to do a "not for sale" version (I am now 84, and a lifetime actor) which I recorded in 2006. I have a few copies left and would be happy to send you one (it is on 12 CD discs, 13-1/2 hours long!). You can send me your postal address if so.

Richard P. Korf
Emeritus Professor of Mycology. Cornell University 
Think about this, Professor Korf was so enthralled with  John Brown's Body by Stephen Vincent Benét, that he spent considerable time, effort, and his own money to manufacture 100 limited editions of a 12 CD set that he cannot sell due to copyright regulations.

I immediately responded that I would be honored to receive one of his recordings. A few days later I received a package in the mail with a professionally packaged, produced set of CDs. Professor Korf's voice is a joy to listen to, and the set is amazing. The front cover of the box features the Stephen Benét postage stamp, while the back is the 1859 photograph of John Brown with his full beard. Inside each CD is labeled and tucked into its own pocket.

From the Liner Notes: 
Dick Korf's thoughts about this audio book
     This recording was made in 2006, a last gasp of an 80-year-old lifelong actor, the culmination of a 20-year dream. It is dedicated to my actress daughter, Mia Korf, for encouragement, and to my wife, Kumi, for everything.  
     I grew up as a ravenous reader, encountering Stephen Vincent Benét's John Brown's Body at the age of 14, I was captivated by the book, which I read and reread over the ensuing sixty-some years. It surely helped form me into an anti-war activist.
     My acting career began at an early age in Riverdale Country School in New York City, eventually being cast in major roles in three annual outdoor productions of Shakespeare's plays. These contributed immeasurably to my appreciation of both drama and poetry.
     Poetry has a very special place in my heart, and as a youth I began reading and writing poetry. I agree with Stephen Vincent Benét: poetry begs to be read aloud. The skilled poet may embed in his poems frequent "stage directions" in the chose of typographic tools (punctuation, the use of parentheses, italic typeface, paragraphs, long dashes, indentations), and of course changes in meter or rhyme. Benét's use of these tools simplified my narration of the poem; these are treated here as not only readers' but narrator's guidelines.
     This recording is intended to bring this important poem about our American Civil War, the most destructive was in American history, to the attention of my family and close friends. While I recognize this is not a professional recording, it remedies the lack of an audio book version in the commercial market.
     The theatre has been my lifelong passion. I performed during my college years at Cornell University (where I later became a professor) and I continued, both on stage and in radio dramas. While on my final sabbatical leave before retirement I took a fling at off-off-Broadway performances of three plays while in New York City.
     I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of my granddaughter, Maia Vidal, for her vocal solo and Emoretta Yang for a guitar version of the song John Brown's Body. My eldest daughter, Noni Korf Vidal, contributed a violin version and is mainly responsible for post-recording production; her unstinting help and my wife Kumi's generosity made this audio book a reality. Pete Wetherbee helped me develop the reading with initial recording sessions in 2002 in San Bruno, CA, and later edited the discs. One of my twin sons, Ian Korf, helped me with recording techniques in 2005 in Davis, CA. My other son, Mario Korf, edited these liner notes.                              Dick Korf
A truly impressive presentation. It is a shame that due to copyright legalities, Professor Korf is not permitted to offer his incredibly moving rendition of this important work of literature, but I am truly blessed to have received a copy from him. I am holding onto this treasure. When I walk past my bookshelves and see the case, I always think fondly of the Professor whom I have never met, yet he felt inclined to share his lifelong dream with me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Descendant Celebrates Ancestry

News Article about my cousin Mary Ward Buster - John Brown's Half Second Great Grandniece

News - Osawatomie
Written by Brandon Steinert
Wednesday, 04 November 2009 07:00
John Brown’s descendants relived the raid on Harpers Ferry, W.Va., during the event’s sesquicentennial on Oct. 16.

Mary Buster, who grew up in Osawatomie and lived here until she was 23, is a direct descendant of Brown. Brown’s half-sister, Florella Adair, is her great-great-grandmother.

Buster made the drive to West Virginia to participate in the 150-year observance of Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, which was a plan to spark a revolt of slaves in the area and to arm them with weapons that Brown planned to capture from a federal arsenal.
The plan failed, and Brown and his men made a long last stand in a firehouse. The sesquicentennial involved a reenactment of this violent event.

“I loved just the excitement of getting to be where it all happened,” Buster said. “I felt like I was standing on holy ground.”
She said Brown’s plan had been lost on her until this trip, when it finally made sense to her.
“(It helped) getting to hear it from the authors there and the people who were talking about John Brown,” she said. “It was an excellent plan. People say he was crazy to think he could do this, but if it hadn’t been for one or two accidents, it probably would have worked. He really thought it out.”

Months prior to the attack, Brown stayed with his men at the Kennedy farmhouse four miles north of Harpers Ferry. The farmstead is still standing today, and Buster said that was her favorite part of the trip.

“I got a personal tour by the man who owns the house, through the entire house,” she said, “including the room Brown and his men hid for the months leading up to the raid.”

Buster also encountered a group in possession of the last letters John and Mary Brown exchanged during their final hours.
“It shows the human side of John Brown,” she said.

Her plan is to get the letters to Osawatomie to be displayed for next year’s Freedom Festival.

“It was amazing to be so far from home and still have people talk about John Brown all the time,” Buster said. “It’s obvious in that park that John Brown is viewed as a hero. Every African-American I met threw their arms around me and hugged me. It was wonderful. (They were) very positive toward the man and what he was trying to do, and that was very nice to see.”

During her three-day stay, she met descendents of Brown’s men, townspeople of Harpers Ferry and others whose lives were affected by the event in some way.

“I am extremely proud,” she said. “The more I read about John Brown and his sister Florella, the more I am proud to say I am related to them.”

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Continuation of Dr. Clarence S. Gee's work on Brown Family Line

Dr. Clarence Stafford Gee (1884 – 1975), a Congregational Minister from Ohio, was also a highly respected John Brown historian. He specialized in the genealogy of the Browns and once said of his collection, "My interest is not that of a collector, save a collector of facts." This dedication to the facts helped to establish his credibility in the numerous articles he wrote about John Brown and items related to John Brown.

Dr. Gee's introduction into the intriguing world of John Brown occurred in 1921, while he was reviewing parish records at the Hudson (Ohio) Congregational church. He discovered that, as a youth, John Brown had been a member of the Hudson Congregational Church, which at the time met in a small hand-hewed log church on the green. His further research revealed that the wedding of John Brown to Dianethe Lusk, in June of 1820, was one of the earliest events to take place in the newly built and larger church building located at East Main and Church Street.

During his daily interaction with church members, Dr. Gee learned that there were old-timers in town who had personally known both John and his father Owen, as well as younger parishioners who had grown up hearing stories about the abolitionist family from their parents. He began interviewing the townsfolk and documenting their memories. He continued to study Brown and his descendants for the next 54 years.

His most valuable contribution to the history of John Brown was his detailed study of the family lines from John Brown's father, Owen, through the 1950s. He carefully documented his findings on "genealogy sheets," which now reside in the Hudson Library and Historical Society, in Hudson, Ohio.

Dr. Gee regularly corresponded with numerous members of the Brown family and attended nearly all of the Brown Family Reunions that were held every year from 1921 to 1965 (excluding the three years of World War II). He often presented charts, histories, and updated information on the many branches of the family. His contributions were so highly regarded within the family that during the 1932 meeting the following resolution was passed:

Whereas, the Rev. Clarence S. Gee has shown such an interest in and devotion to the study of the life and activity of John Brown; and because of his faithful attendance upon the annual meetings of our family; and because of his valuable and willing contribution to our reunion meetings,
Therefore, be it resolved that Rev. Gee and family be admitted as honorary members of this family, and,
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be transmitted by the Secretary to the Rev. Clarence Gee and family, and that a copy be written into the minutes of this meeting.

                                                                                                    Signed Committee on Resolutions

In May of 2009, I visited the Hudson Library and Historical Society to prowl through the archives. I too have been interested in the genealogy of John Brown and his descendants and wanted to review Dr. Gee's work for myself. What I found fascinated me, and I eagerly stood at the copy machine and copied all of the pages in the 6-inch binder. Once home I set about the momentous task of comparing Dr. Gee's mountain of data against my large database (Legacy 7.0). Some additions here, some corrections there, more research needed over there, and I finally completed merging the two sets of information into one database. For some of the family lines I had more information than Dr. Gee had, on other lines Dr. Gee's information far surpassed my information. I am now ready to continue collecting and updating the family history.

I am looking forward to many more years of research and communication with other Brown family members.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday Treasures - Bee Keesey Fuchsia

Bee Keesey Fuchsia
Originally uploaded by fuchsiajp

 The treasure I am sharing today is the beautiful Fuchsia named "Bee Keesey" (Pennisi, USA 1972). This fuchsia was developed and named in honor of my grandmother, Beatrice Cook Keesey.

Beatrice Cook Keesey (1902-1992) was a great granddaughter of John Brown, the abolitionist. She was very active in the American Fuchsia Society (AFS) and the local Santa Clara Valley Branch from 1960 through the late 1980s. Her dedication to these intriguing  flowers was legendary in the Santa Clara Valley. She taught seminars about growing, pruning, and  propagating the hundreds of varieties of these graceful flowers. She was an accredited fuchsia judge in great demand throughout the state of California. Her own small garden was filled with 400 + varieties of fuchsias, as well as begonias, African violets and roses. She served as President of the AFS in the 1980s and was influential in organizing the first annual AFS convention.

Description of the Bee Keesey Fuchsia -- Double. Tube white, thick, short sepals white with green tips, long, standing straight out. Corolla wisteria-blue with white veriegations, large, full, box type. Growth, trailer with weights, easily trained as a weeping standard. Source: Find That Fuchsia website

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were taken by Alice Keesey Mecoy and remain the property of Alice Keesey Mecoy. If you would like to use a photograph or post on your site, please ask for permission first and give proper credit. Thank you!

Wordless Wednesday - I hang out with really cool people!!

Taken in Hudson Ohio 2009

Louis DeCaro, author of   "John Brown: The Man Who Lived,"  "John Brown--the Cost of Freedom" "'Fire from the Midst of You': A Religious Life of John Brown"Alice Keesey Mecoy,  David Reynolds, author of "'John Brown, Abolitionist' The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights"

Tombstone Tuesday - When there are no graves.

While I was searching through my database deciding whose gravesite to feature on today's Tombstone Tuesday, I thought that I would feature my Mother, since her birthday would have been November 5.

Let me begin by saying that my family doesn't "do funerals". Both sets of my grandparents and my mother have passed away and I have never been to a family funeral. I was 30 before I ever visited the grave of a relative. I know for sure that my paternal grandparents and my mother were cremated and their ashes scattered in the ocean. I need to find out if my maternal grandparents were buried or cremated.

 Norma Jean Fullerton Hancock Keesey

 Born: Nov 5, 1931 in Los Angeles, CA

Died: Dec 30, 1997 in Palo Alto, CA

My mother died peacefully after a long battle with diabetes.

I miss you mom.

Photo Credit: Paul Keesey (my Dad)

Unless otherwise noted, all Photographs taken by Alice Keesey Mecoy and remain the property of Alice Keesey Mecoy. If you would like to use a photograph or post on your site, please ask for permission first and give proper credit. Thank you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

John Brown Sentenced to Hang Today in 1859

On November 2, 1859, John Brown faced the court and heard his sentence of hanging from the neck until dead. His sentence was scheduled to be carried out on December 2, 1859. When asked if he had any words for the court, Brown stood and addressed the court with what many feel is the second most important speech of the antebellum era, surpassed only by Lincoln's Gettysburg address.
"In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, of a design on my part to free the slaves. I intended, certainly, to have made a clean thing of that matter, as I did last winter when I went into Missouri and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moved them through the country, and finally leaving them in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again, on a larger scale. That was all I intended to do. I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite the slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection.... This court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done - as I have always freely admitted I have done - in behalf of His despised poor is no wrong but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments - I say, let it be done!"
For the next thirty days Brown sat in his cell in Charlestown, Virginia where he conducted what may have been one of the earliest PR media blitzes. He gave interviews to both Northern and Southern journalists, greeted and spoke to almost all of his visitors, wrote prolific amounts of letters, and refused to even consider plans to break him out of prison. He had come to realize that his death, as a martyr, at the hands of the government of Virginia, would be the best way for him to strike a blow against slavery.

Now 150 years later, we see that his martyrdom did in fact bring the conflict into the light of day, and was a catalyst for the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but did not bring about the end of the horror of slavery.

Today you have a chance to do something. Join one of the great organizations listed below; boycott products that use indentured workers, particularly children; participate in the United Nations International Abolitionist Day;  JUST DO SOMETHING.

Frederick Douglas Family Foundation
Free the Slaves
U. N. International Abolitionist Day


Sunday, November 1, 2009

John Brown's Favorite Hymn

     John Brown was a man of action. Whether drilling his raiders, fighting for equality, or leading the family in daily religious services, John Brown both expected and demanded participation of those around him. However, there was also a softer side to John Brown.

     Brown was a loving, compassionate father of twenty, who enjoyed singing hymns to his children. Eight of his children outlived him, and in their letters and written remembrances, we find many references to their father singing them to sleep, and nursing them through sickness.

     Brown's favorite hymn was "Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow," by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1787). Wesley, who also wrote "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," was a founding father of the Methodist movement in England. On the Methodist calendar, May 24 is recognized as "Wesley Day," commemorating the date of his spiritual awakening.

     Brown's great love of the hymn "Blow Ye the Trumpet Blow" was well known by his acquaintances. Lyman Epps, a North Elba neighbor, sang the hymn during Brown's funeral in 1859. On December 8, 2009, this hymn will once again be heard at John Brown's gravesite, during the John Brown Coming Home events. Join me in North Elba as we raise our voices in unison....
The year of jubilee is come!
The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.

     Take a moment to read the words of this simple, yet powerful hymn. The melody can be heard by clicking here

Blow ye the Trumpet, Blow!

Blow ye the trumpet, blow!
The gladly solemn sound
Let all the nations know,
To earth’s remotest bound:

The year of jubilee is come!
The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.

Jesus, our great high priest,
Hath full atonement made,
Ye weary spirits, rest;
Ye mournful souls, be glad:


Extol the Lamb of God,
The sin atoning Lamb;
Redemption by His blood
Throughout the lands proclaim:


Ye slaves of sin and hell,
Your liberty receive,
And safe in Jesus dwell,
And blest in Jesus live:


Ye who have sold for naught
Your heritage above
Shall have it back unbought,
The gift of Jesus’ love:


The Gospel trumpet hear,
The news of heavenly grace;
And saved from earth, appear
Before your Savior’s face:


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Treasure Thursday - John Brown Christmas Ornament

The treasure I am sharing with you today is a Christmas ornament featuring my great, great, great grandfather, John Brown.

The ornament was commissioned by the National Abolition Hall of Fame and features Joe Flores' unique likeness of John Brown. This image was used in the 2008 induction ceremony.

Want to find out more about the National Abolition Hall of Fame, John Brown or purchase abolitionist items? Visit the NAHoF store or website!

All Photographs taken by Alice Keesey Mecoy and remain the property of Alice Keesey Mecoy. If you would like to use a photograph or post on your site, please ask for permission first and give proper credit. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - NAHOF Induction of John Brown

Dot Willsey and Alice Keesey Mecoy
John Brown Induction to National Abolition
Hall of Fame, 2008
Photo Taken by Fred Mecoy

If you would like to post pictures or articles from my blog somewhere else on the internet, please ask my permission first. Thank you.

Tombstone Tuesday - Annie Brown Adams and children

Annie Brown Adam's grave site was thought to be lost for a number of years. Historians and my father tried to locate the grave site and were unable to do so, not because it had moved or they had the wrong address, but because the graveyard was completely overgrown with weeds and brambles making identification of the individual graves impossible.

My father's cousin, Dede, was instrumental in getting the cemetery cleaned up and de-thorned. In 2008, my father and I traveled to Rohnerville Pioneer Cemetery to take pictures of the famly graves there. If you look through the hole in the redwood burl sign at left, you can see  the grave of Annie Brown Adams, John Brown's daughter who worked as housekeeper and watcher at the Kennedy Farmhouse in the summer of 1859.

Annie's grave is a long rectangular block of rough stone with a small marble headstone that reads "Annie Brown Adams 1843-1926." No mention of her historical significance nor are there any references to her infamous father, John Brown. Next to Annie are the graves of two of her 10 children, Lolita and Grace, as well as the grave of her grand twin Kenneth Cook. Annie's grave is in need of repair: it is not level, the right side is jutting up from the ground and Lolita's headstone is broken on the ground. My Great Aunt Alice, Annie's granddaughter, remembers visiting Annie's grave once after one of the great floods and finding the entire topstone displaced and the coffin sticking out of the ground. 

Below are closeup photographs of each of the headstones.
Close up of Annie's head stone

 Annie Brown Adams

Close up of Lolita's head stone lies broken on the grass

Dau. of
S.S & Annie Brown
Died Oct. 2, 1874
Aged 1mo. 4 ds
Of such is the Kingdom of heaven

Close up of Gace's head stone

Our Gracie
Dau of
S.S. & Annie Brown
Died March 12, 1878
Aged 1 yr. 10 mo. & 12 ds
He doeth all things well

Close up of Kenneth's head stone

Kenneth Cook

Kenneth was the 6th child of Annie's daughter Bertha (my great grandmother). Kenneth and Clinton were twins. Kenneth lived for 1 month and 2 days..

Asos buried in this cemetery is Cora, Salmon and Abbie's 17 year old daughter who died after being thrown from a horse. Not long after her death, Salmon and his family left the Rohnerville area of California and moved to Oregon, leaving Cora behind.

Closeup of Cora's Head stone

Cora A.
Daughter of
S. & A.C. Brown
May 19, 1877
17 yrs 4 mos 3 days

All Photographs were taken by Alice Keesey Mecoy and remain the property of Alice Keesey Mecoy. If you would like to use a photograph on your site, please ask for permission first and give proper credit. Thank you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - 2 free music downloads

Two Great Musicians are offering downloads of their John Brown music free this month.

David Rovics - songs with a conscience. Excellent singer reminiscent of Harry Chapin and Arlo Guthry. David is a believer in the rights of humanity and offers his songs via download for free.

Directions to download John Brown by David Rovicks

Go to his music website
1. Click on the music link on the left hand menu bar
2. Scroll halfway down page and click on John Brown
3. Click on "Full song info"
4. Click on "download" and follow the prompts. 
See David on YouTube singing John Brown

Alastair Moock- bluesy edgy folk music is the best way to describe Alastair's music.
In honor of the 150th Commemoration of John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Alastair is offering his song, Cloudsplitter, inspired by the novel by the same name, for download free through October 31, 2009

Directions to download  Cloudsplitter by Alastair Moock
Go to this special webpage
Follow the directions

These two wonderful musicians have written some amazing music honoring "The Old Man".  Hope you enjoy them as much as I have and do!

PS if you like the songs please consider supporting them by purchasing their albums or donating to their causes. Thank you

Monday, October 19, 2009

Incredible Week at Harpers Ferry!

To all the wonderful people that I met over the past week during the Harpers Ferry Commemoration,  

Thank You for making the week the best time of my life!

I will have updates, pictures and stories posted soon, but today I am resting up! 

Love and Hugs,
Alice Keesey Mecoy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Loong Day in Harpers Ferry -Tired but Happy!

We have been to 3 sessions about John Brown, had lunch on a covered patio while it was 30 degrees and raining, toured Charles Town courthouse and museum, had yummy Chinese food for dinner, attended a book discussion about John Brown's Trial, attended an excellent play about John Brown and his wife, Mary, and their correspondence. Gave 2 interviews, made many new friends, hugged old friends Louis, Jean, Larry, Brenda, and many more. My cousin Mary left me a voice message and I met some of Brenda's 55 relatives that are here. Wow am I tired! good night

Monday, October 12, 2009

Salvery is still a problem....

Many people believe that John Brown's vision of a world with out slavery has been achieved, and while great victories, such as the Emancipation Act and the 13th amendment to the Bill of Rights,  have been recognized around the world, slavery is STILL an issue around the world.

Women are kidnapped and forced into the sex industry; immigrants are forced to work for years to pay off unjust travel fees; children as young as 6 and 7 are forced to work 12-hour days in unsafe factory conditions - these are just some of the heart-wrenching examples of modern slavery.

How does this apply to me, you ask? As long as even one person is enslaved, the value of the entire human race is diminished. Join the fight against slavery now, today, this instant. As John Brown said in 1858, "Talk-talk-talk! That will never free the slaves! What is needed is action-action." 

Ways you can take action against slavery in 2009:

1. Research companies work conditions before you make purchases. Beware of the "cheap" knockoffs offered on street corners and discount houses. Many are made with slave labor as shown in this article, "As You Were Saying...Human Cost Not Bogus"

2. Support organizations that oppose slavery such as The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, which was started by the great, great, great grandson of Frederick Douglass.

3. Prostitution/Sex industry is a large part of the slavery market - do not participate in an industry that degrades and exploits women and children.

John Brown gave his life for the eradication of an unjust institution. The proprietors of slavery no longer stand in the limelight shouting "It is my right to own slaves and to treat them anyway I see fit," now they hide behind corrupt foreign governments, bogus companies, and unbridled greed.

As we commemorate the 150 anniversary of John Brown's attempt to end slavery, let us all take a vow to continue to fight this ugly and degrading practice and work to eradicate it once and for all.