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On August 30, 1899, a funeral was held for 8 of John Brown’s men who were killed or soon died after the October 1859 raid in Harper’s Ferry, in North Elba, New York. Two additional men who were killed by hanging in March 1860, were also memorialized during the funeral.

Lewis Sheridan Leary, who was with John Brown during his infamous raid in Harper’s Ferry, was one of the men killed at the Ferry. Leary was born free in Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 17, 1835 and met John Brown in Cleveland. During the Brown party’s retreat across the Shenandoah River after the raid, Leary was shot and died several hours later from his wounds. Several weeks before the raid, John Brown sympathizers living in Philadelphia, sent great “blanket shawls” to the Kennedy farm as gifts.

“On the night of the raid each man had taken one of these shawls and used it instead of an overcoat. … The men had evidently been buried in these shawls, for great masses of woollen (sic) texture were found enveloping each body.”

From The New England Magazine, March – August 1901.

Lewis Sheridan Leary courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lewis Sheridan Leary courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ten of John Brown’s men were killed during the raid (Watson and Oliver Brown, William and Dauphin Thompson; Stewart Taylor; John Henry Kagi; Jeremiah G. Anderson; William H. Leeman; Dangerfield Newby and Lewis Sheridan Leary. Those who survived either escaped or were captured. Those captured were tried, convicted and executed in Charles Town. Two of John Brown’s men who were killed during the raid, Jerimiah Anderson and Watson Brown, were considered “fine anatomical specimens” and were sent to a Winchester, Virginia medical school for anatomical study. Watson Brown’s body was later recovered in 1881 and was buried next to his father in North Elba, NY. Anderson’s body was never recovered.

The remaining eight bodies which were recovered from near the Potomac or Shenandoah rivers, were denied burial in any of the local Harpers Ferry cemeteries. Soon after the raid, James Mansfield (who, at the time of a 1901 article in The New England magazine, still lived in Harpers Ferry) was given instructions to bury the bodies. He bought two boxes and divided the bodies between them and ultimately buried them about .5 miles from Harpers Ferry along the Shenandoah river where they remained until 1899, when the two boxes were found and transported for burial at North Elba, NY.

1901 MAR - AUG New England Magazine John Brown, The Final Burial There is no Question(2)

On August 30, 1899, there was a funeral held for John Brown’s men in North Elba.

1901 MAR - AUG New England Magazine John Brown, The Final Burial Funeral Attendees Photo(2)

1901 MAR - AUG New England Magazine John Brown, The Final Burial Grave Photo

Leary was married to Mary Patterson, whom he met at Oberlin. Mary Patterson Leary later married Charles Henry Langston. They had a child named Caroline, who married James Nathaniel Hughes. They had a child, James Mercer Langston Hughes, known as Langston Hughes, in February 1902.

In 2013, a book was published, entitled “My Dear Boy : Carrie Hughes’s Letters to Langston Hughes, 1926-1938which reproduced dozens of letters by Carrie (Caroline) Mercer Langston Hughes Clark, mother of Langston Hughes. While Carrie was not the daughter of Sheridan Leary, Langston Hughes had a special attachment to the shawl worn by him during the raid. Langston Hughes lived with his grandmother, Leary’s widow, for several years and it was with this shawl that she covered him while he slept.

According to the book, “Former president Teddy Roosevelt honored [Mary Leary] at a commemorative ceremony in Osawatomie, Kansas, where he delivered his re-nowned ‘New Nationalism’ speech, on August 31, 1910.” p. 45 FN 2.

Langston inherited the shawl from his grandmother and he put it into a safe deposit box in New York City in 1928.  In about 1930, Langston’s mother was in dire need of money and suggested that he sell the shawl.

Say here in Cleveland Antiques are all the rage and I was just wondering if we could not sell the Harper’s Ferry Shawl? I almost know we could and it would give us all a few dollars. Do you know where it is or do you have a receipt or anything for it. A man told me here last week I ought to get $500.00 for it. I have been in some of the antique shops here and they have old rugs, spreads, quilts &ct. I don’t know just thought I’d ask about it.

My Dear Boy, at p. 51.

He didn’t sell it. On April 30, 1943, he donated the shawl to the Ohio Historical Society, where it remains.

The original 1901 article, “The Final Burial of the Followers of John Brown” by Thomas Featherstonhaugh in The New England magazine, is available for purchase from Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Please inquire at info@steamatharpersferry.com.

 

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry has 5 editions of The National Intelligencer newpaper dating from April 10 through April 22, 1823. They are all addressed to “E.D. Howe Painesville via Pittsburg.”  This newspaper was a leading political publication and was founded in Washington, DC in 1800. The founder, Samuel Harrison Smith was married to Margaret Bayard Smith who wrote the book “The First Forty Years of Washington Society.”

E. D. (Eber Dudley) Howe was the founder and editor of the Painesville Telegraph which was published and edited by him in Painesville, Ohio from 1822 to 1835. The paper continued its publication until 1987. While living in Painesville, his wife, sister and niece converted to Mormonism. Howe became interested in the religion’s history, which was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the 1820s. His interest resulted in the 1834 publication of a book entitled “Mormonism Unvailed” (sic).

Howe was an abolitionist and his home was used as a station for the Underground Railroad. His wife was one of the first women in the region to join the anti-slavery movement.

Though it is most likely that Howe read the newspaper because of its political content, he may have been just as interested in the slave sales advertised within its pages. On the front page, for example, there is an advertisement for

“A NEGRO WOMAN, about 25 years of age. She is a good cook, washer, and ironer and can be recommended as strictly honest. Apply at the new City Auction and Commission Rooms, corner of 7th Street and Pennsylvania avenue, Opposite the Centre Market. , P. Mauro, auctioneer.”

On the same page is an article about Major General La Fayette,:

“The President of the United States, in commemoration of the distinguished services of Major General La Fayette, during the Revolutionary War, has directed that the fortress recently erected at the Narrows, near New York, an hitherto called Fort Diamond, shall hereafter be known by the name of Fort La Fayette[Note:  Fort La Fayette was used for Confederate prisoners from 1861 – 1866]. The ceremony in conformity thereto, took place on Monday last, at 1 o’clock, P. M.”

[Fort Lafayette.]

Fort La Fayette was used for Confederate prisoners from 1861 – 1866.

Promoting revolution and slavery in the nation’s capital circa 1823.

These newspapers and others are available for purchase from Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Please contact us for prices and shipping fees.

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To give you an idea about how old this original copy of American Railroad Journal is, consider that it is one year older than when the B&O reached Harper’s Ferry. Published in New York, it was edited by D.K. Minor.

It contents include:

Suspension Bridges

Hydraulics as a Branch of Engineering

Public Lands

Agriculture

Literary Notices

Foreign Intelligence

Poetry (!)

There is an unusual account of the proper storage for butter that has been salted, yet not intended to be eaten for several months.

The quantity of salt for butter that is not to be eaten for several months after salting, should not be less than half an ounce of salt, mixed with 2 drachms of sugar and two drachms of nitre, to sixteen ounces of butter. The sugar improves the taste, and the nitre gives the butter a better color, while both of them act with the salt in preserving the butter from rancidity.

Miscellaneous news

Temperance Meeting of Mechanics – We were led by the call of a public meeting, published in the papers, and numerously signed by some of our most respectable mechanics, to look in at Chatham-street Chapel last evening, and we know not when and where we have seen a more gratifying spectacle, than was afforded by the gathering there, in such a cause, of more than 2000 persons, most of whom were, we have little doubt, mechanics.

It is to be regretted that the taste for music is not more prevalent in this country. It has a humanizing and gentle influence upon the character of a people, and affords a source of refined and innocent delight which nothing else can supply. A taste for music encourages all the social virtues; it furnishes an amusement which delights without danger, and affords instead of the dull and sating pleasures of dissipation, a source of delight as refined as it is endless. The ladies are particularly interested in this matter. – When a taste for music becomes more general in the other sex, they may depend not only on having more of their company, but having that company rendered more agreeable by the charms of gentleness, refinement and harmony.

It has a great masthead and is in good condition.

1835 American Railroad

This and other original Victorian Era newspapers are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Contact us for purchase price and delivery options. In most cases, there is only one copy.

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This Scientific American edition covers the 1900 Paris Exposition. On the front, there are photos of “The Large Palace of Fine Arts,” the “Small Palace of Fine Arts,” the “Moving Platform,” the “Electric Railway and End of Electricity Building,” and the “Street of Nations” on the Bank of the Seine.

1900 SciAm Paris Exposition

There is an article entitled “The Protection of American Game” which talks about The League of American Sportsmen which was formed to create “in every State and Territory a well organized standing army of game protectors, which shall secure the enactment of more stringent general laws, which shall see that lawlessness is punished, which shall discourage game slaughter, and protect the wild creatures that still remain.”

An extensive description of the Paris Exposition starts on page 86, where the publishers discuss the electric railway:

The electric railway is intended to enable visitors to move in an opposite direction to the sliding platform, three cars capable of conveying about two hundred persons forming the train, and electricity is delivered to the motors by means of a third-rail. The trains follow each other at intervals of two minutes. The circuit is completed in about twelve minutes, including stoppages.

Further in the edition, there is an article about Count Zeppelin’s balloon entitled, ”The Ascension of Count Zeppelin’s Airship.”

The second day of July will long be remembered by aeronauts, for on that day occurred the first ascension of the great airship just completed by Count Zeppelin, the cavalry officer of Wurtemberg, who has so long been superintending the construction of his balloon in a huge floating house on Lake Constance, a site admirably adapted for work of this kind, as it offers ample space and in case of accident the results are likely to be much less disastrous than on land. … The Zeppelin airship belongs to the class of so-called aerostatic balloons or dirigible airships which hold a middle ground between the purely dynamic flying machines and the manually-operated devices, resembling in this respect what are known as “balloon flying machines;” that is, those airships in which hydrogen is used only for keeping the apparatus suspended, which the mechanical power is employed for driving and steering it.

There are some wonderful engravings which accompany this article.

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In addition, the ads on the back page are noteworthy and interesting. Here are some examples of competition in the early automobile industry – hydrocarbon system for the Winton Motor Carriage and steam for the Standard Model Steam Carriage.

Winton Motor Carriage

img038

“For Your Wife’s Sake be in the social swim and get the best of the modern conveyances a Winton Motor Carriage. No horse or coachman required. No danger, no hard work. $1,200.”

 

 

The Standard Model – Steam Carriage

“Extra large boiler and engine. We do away with torch, and light with direct burner, furnish a supplementary water pump, also coil water heater from exhaust steam.”1900 SciAm For Your Wife's Sake

Have your own automobile design? Contact the “Automobile Patents Exploitation Company” which undertakes “The manufacture of Automobiles and Motor-Cycles. The examination of Automobile patents. To enlist capital for the development of inventions.”

This and other original Victorian Era newspapers are available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. Contact us for purchase price and delivery options.

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Jefferson County West Virginia is facing a budget crisis – and in the crosshairs is the Bolivar/Harpers Ferry Public Library, among other public libraries in the county. The public libraries are facing 15% cuts for FY 2015 which are largely due to decreased gambling revenue to the tune of $1.5 million over the past 2 years. There are other critical services being threatened – among them emergency services and arts organization funding.  But, in my humble opinion, without access to knowledge, opportunities are slim – whether you want to be a paramedic or an illustrator. Libraries open up worlds of opportunities to young and old minds alike.

In the May 22, 1909 issue of Harper’s Weekly, there was an article about travelling libraries, written by C.P. Cary, the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public instruction entitled “Educating All of the People All of the Time.”  In it, he quotes:

“In the work of popular education,” said Melvil Dewey, “it is, after all, not the few great libraries, but the thousand small, that may do the most for the people.”

According to regional newspaper, The Journal, Gretchen Fry, the director of the Bolivar/Harper’s Ferry Public Library, said that the library received $65,000 in funding from the county last year and that the reduction in county funding could impact the library negatively.

1909 MAY 22 Harper's Weekly Traveling Libraries008 (2)

What a small price to pay for the resources, helpfulness and general public service provided by this and other county libraries! For myself, libraries have always been such an important part of my life, I can only express sorrow that anyone would threaten such an important part of the communities’ fabric.

Please support your local libraries!

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Steam at Harper’s Ferry has a copy of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper dated June 24, 1876. Among its contents is an article about Queen Victoria’s visit to the London Hospital:

On Queen Victoria’s recent visit to the London Hospital she spoke to a boy eight years of age, who had his leg broken by having been run over. After he left the hospital the child wrote of his own accord, and without his father’s or another’s knowledge, a letter to the Queen, bought a stamp and posted it. The letter bore no other address than the words “Lady Queen Victoria.” The letter was delivered to the Queen, and Her Majesty, finding on inquiry that the writing of the letter was the boy’s own act, sent him a gift  of 3 pounds through the Rev. T.J. Boswell. Since this incident was made public the London cab-drivers find it impossible to get through the city for the crowd of small boys waiting to be run over.

London Cabmen

Hard to know whether to laugh or cry…

This newspaper, along with many others, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

 

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One of many reasons why Steam at Harper’s Ferry opened was to offer an opportunity to learn about Harper’s Ferry in all its historic glory. Steam sells many historic newspapers from the Victorian Period, but the one especially loved is The Ladies’ Garland, published by John S. Gallagher. One recent acquisition is dated October 21, 1826, volume 3, no. 37.

Ladies Garland October 21, 1826

This particular edition contains an article on Female Education, reprinted from the Edinburg Review. Here is a sample:

“A great part of the objections made to the education of women, are rather objections made to human nature, than to the female sex ; for it is surely true, that knowledge, where it does produce any bad effects at all, does as much mischief to the one sex as to the other, and gives birth to fully as much arrogance, inattention to common affairs, and eccentricity among men, as it does among women. – But it by no means follows, that you get rid of vanity and self-conceit, because you get rid of learning. Self-complacency can never want an excuse ; and the best way to make it more tolerable, and more useful, is to give to it as high and as dignified an object as possible. But at all events, it is unfair, to bring forward against a part of the world, an objection which is equally powerful against the whole. When foolish women think they have any distinction, they are apt to be proud of it ; so are foolish men. But we appeal to any one who has lived with cultivated persons of either sex, whether he has not witnessed as much pendantry, as much wrong-headedness, as much arrogance, and certainly a great deal more rudeness, produced by learning, in men, than in women.  …

We are quite astonished on hearing men converse on such subjects, to find them attributing such beautiful effects to ignorance. It would appear from the tenor of such objections, that ignorance has been the greatest civilizer in the world. Women are delicate and refined, only because they are ignorant ; they attend to their children, only because they know no better ! Now, we must really confess we have all our lives been so ignorant as not to know the value of ignorance !  … Let any man reflect too upon the solitary situation in which women are placed, the ill treatment to which they are sometimes exposed, and which they must endure in silence, and without the power of complaining – and he must feel convinced, that the happiness of a woman will be materially increased, in proportion as education has given to her the habit and means of drawing her resources from herself.”

Purchase this and other limited editions of The Ladies’ Garland at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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