Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jacob's Pen 5

Our favorite diarist, Frederick's own Jacob Engelbrecht, covers the news on this day, one hundred fifty years ago. But first, a final message from Old Man Brown:

Images from: Nelson, Truman. The Old Man: John Brown at Harper's Ferry. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

Charlestown, Va. 2nd, December, 1859.

I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with Blood. I had as I now think vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.

Twenty-eight miles east of the gallows, Jacob notes the occasion:

Execution - This day between the hours of 8 o'clock AM & 12 o'clock M [noon], Captain John Brown (commonly called Ossawattamie Brown)is to be hung at Charlestown, Jefferson County, Virginia for insurrection & murder at Harpers Ferry on the 16, 17, & 18 of October 1859. He had his trial & was found guilty October 31 after 5 days of trial. Four others were subsequently found guilty for the same offence (abolitionists, freeing the Negroes)and are to be hung December 16. Their names are Captain John E. Cook & Edwin Coppie - white men, & Shields Green & John Copeland [-] Negroes.
- Friday, December 2d, 1859, 10 minutes till 10 o'clock AM.

PS - 2 1/2 o'clock afternoon. He was hanged 30 minutes after 11 o'clock AM. His body was taken by his widow to North (?) Essex County, New York.

All Engelbrecht photos and diary entries in the "Jacob's Pen" series come directly from The Diary of Jacob Engelbrecht, published by The Historical Society of Frederick County, Inc.


  1. Dylan,

    I am happy to see you using, and citing, The Diary of Jacob Engelbrecht. It is an incredible resource and one of the treasures we at the Historical Society of Frederick County feel priveledged to own and care for. The original diary is actually multiple books of varying sizes and shapes that Engelbrecht used to record everyday life and national events continuously from 1818-1878. We have other diaries that cover the Civil War period that you might be interested in. Check out our research center's catalog on our website.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. I have enjoyed everything Engelbrecht since picking up his diaries at the Historical Society bookstore several years ago. Not only are his observations fascinating - his life story is equally compelling. Thank you for all the excellent work y'all do out there on Church Street; I'll be sure to check out the other available diaries next time I visit the research library. Have a wonderful holiday season!