I cannot believe it has been 2 months since I last posted any updates from my research. I have been swamped with John Brown events and articles and research, Oh My!
Things that have occupied my time lately:
Saratoga CA March 8, 2009
I had the pleasure and great honor of speaking to a standing room (100+/-) only audience at the Saratoga Historical Museum in Saratoga, CA. It was very exciting to speak to such a large and obviously interested group of people about John Brown and the Family. My dad, Paul, and brother, James, also attended and saw the fun and excitement of these types of gatherings for the first time. My dad had a blast having his picture taking with every woman in the museum.
The museum display on Mary Brown and Family was informative and full of great information. I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with my good friend, Jean Libby. I accessed the Brown research files and spent a few wonderful hours reviewing the contents, and gathering new information for my tree and research.
I met Gen Guracar, the women who organized the Bi-Centennial Quilt Project that Grandma Keesey participated in, and from which Jean Libby found my family. I also met Damon Nalty's widow, and we are in discussions about me working on the book that he did not get to finish prior to his death. More info to follow!
I had the honor of sharing the stage with two "John Brown Greats" at the Allen Library John Brown Symposium in February.
Evan Carton, author of Patriotic Treason; John Brown and the soul of America, presented "John Brown's Extended Family." He discussed how John Brown considered all people connected with him to be family, and how he interacted with this extended family.
Donnie Rae Alpert, Opera Star, reprised his role as Frederick Douglass from the "John Brown Opera" world premier last year. He graced us with Kirke Mechem's beautiful rendition of Douglass' speech about slavery in America.
I presented "John Brown Abolitionist and Family Remembered" an interactive talk about what happened to the family after the hanging of John Brown. My presentation followed Mary and the body of John Brown back to North Elba for hanging, the four long years they remained in NY, their move across the country to California, and the final resting spots of the family.
Former Texas State Representative Al Price wins the award for traveling the furthest to attend the symposium. He drove up from Beaumont, TX (about 300 miles one way!) He is spending a great deal of time researching John Brown and traveling around to events about "the old man." He was a pleasure to chat with, and I hope that we run into each other again at future events.
I filled one of the library display cases with my John Brown memorabilia. This display prompted a home school group to contact me for a private discussion and tour of the display. The display also allowed me to connect to a couple of John Brown enthusiasts that I am now corresponding with regularly.
Sunday morning, Fred and I met Evan and his wife, Janice, met for brunch in Dallas and had a very enjoyable time chatting about John Brown and other fascinating items.
Paper accepted for presentation at Symposium
I am presenting my paper, "Silent Warriors,” on the women of John Brown's life at the John Brown Remembered Academic Symposium in Harpers Ferry Oct 14-17, 2009. I am excited, nervous, and honored that I will be a part of a group of scholars to discuss my favorite topic, John Brown. The Symposium expects presenters from twenty-five states and Germany. Looking forward to it.
I have been in email contact with two descendants!!!
Two descendants of John Brown that I have never heard from before contacted me through my blog and website.
One is related through Salmon, and one is related through Annie's daughter Sarah Irene. We have been getting to know each other via email and exchanging information on the family for a few weeks now.
Salmon's descendant, Susan, is from a side of the family that actually spoke out about being related to the Brown's. She did projects in school on the family and has some letters and stories of life on the sheep farm in Oregon.
Sarah Irene's descendant, Dawn, grew up knowing about the connection, but when she mentioned to her mother how my branch was; her mother remarked that even they did not discuss it too loud outside the family.
It has been a blessing to correspond with them, and I am looking forward to meeting them soon, and fully exchanging family info!
Congratulations on becoming a Grandmother, Mary!
Mary is a descendant of John Brown's half sister Florella Brown Adair. Florella played a large part in the Kansas events. Mary does an incredible "first person presentation" as Florella when she works at the John Brown/Adair cabin in Osawatomie KS. While all first person presentations are interesting and cool to watch, knowing that the person Mary is enacting was her actual blood relative and the props are family heirlooms, makes her presentation very special.
Mary is the proud grandmother of a great, great, great, great, great grandson of Owen Brown, John Brown's father. CONGRATS Cousin!!!!