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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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The Steampunk World’s Fair 2014 was an amazing event. Steam at Harper’s Ferry was very fortunate to participate in the first Steampunk Art Fair at the Steampunk World’s Fair along with other artists. Eric Holstine, Leigh Anne Cassell and Jason Edwards all had work on display at the event.

 

Eric Holstine’s “From the Earth to the Heavens” and a 3D banner from Steam at Harper’s Ferry collection featuring “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

 

What’s this? Jason Edwards’ “Steambutt.”

Steambutt by Jason Edwards

 

Here is Leigh Anne Cassell with Doc – as in Doc in her “Steampunk Dr. Who” illustration!

The Doctor Rosa and Leigh Anne Cassell

Here’s hoping the organizers make this an annual event!

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There were a few pieces that Eric Holstine didn’t disclose prior to the exhibit opening day – but were well worth the wait!

The first was his “Acoustic Roundabout Cube.”

Eric Holstine Mystery Image 2

The second was his Steampunk Time Machine version 2.

Steampunk_Time_Machine_Version_2

Some of you may have wondered what inspired the first promotional video for Eric’s solo show. Here is an illustration by Georges Melies’ “A Trip to the Moon”

Melies Le Voyage dans la Lune

 

Here is Eric’s exhibit – featured in our new video!

Music composed and performed by Garrett Boone a/k/a STAR☆DRIVER.

This excellent video was put together by Jason Edwards Steam at Harper’s Ferry Resident Artist.

Enjoy!

 

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Eric Holstine’s Solo Exhibit – Through May 25, 2014

Steam at Harper’s Ferry is pleased to present Eric Holstine’s first solo exhibit at Steam entitled “(EH=MC2): The Art of Electrodynamic Illumination” through May 25, 2014. Eric was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. His works include “Melton the Mechanical Marvel” and the “Steampunk Time Machine.” His multi-media art incorporates stained glass, brass fixtures, and robotic elements.

From_Earth_to_the_Heavens

“From Earth to the Heavens” (c) 2011 Eric Holstine (with permission)

For the opening celebration, we were treated, not only to Eric’s art, but musical accompaniment (with Game Boys, no less!) by Garrett Boone, a/k/a STAR☆DRIVER. 

Don’t miss this exhibit! These are bonafide one of a kind pieces that are guaranteed to delight! It is not every day that you will see a robot carrying his own stained glass umbrella.

Melton_the_Mechanial_Marvel

“Melton the Mechanical Marvel” (c) 2013 Eric Holstine (with permission)

3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk – April 26 and 27, 2014 – Thank you!

Thank you everyone for attending the 3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk! The weather was perfect and we had some wonderful performances on the Pavilion. Thank you Bolivar/Harpers Ferry Public Library, The Corporation of Harpers Ferry and the Arts and Humanities Alliance for Jefferson County!

What’s New at Steam?

We have the new book by Terry Pratchett, “Raising Steam,” and have a new collection of Toulouse Lautrec prints – just the right size for your home or office. Two “Lady Mechanika” signed posters are for sale and on display – so come by and check those out.

Look for Steam at Harper’s Ferry owner, Cynthia Gayton, at the Steampunk World’s Fair in a few weeks. Steam at Harper’s Ferry will also be at the Strasburg Rail Road Steampunk unLimited event in September for the second year in a row! We have just a few more prints of Leigh Anne Cassell’s work here at the gallery, as well as three original illustrations which are on display. Hope to see you soon!

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Eric Holstine’s Solo Exhibit – April 26 – May 25, 2014

Steam at Harper’s Ferry is pleased to present  Eric Holstine’s first solo exhibit at Steam entitled “(EH=MC2): The Art of Electrodynamic Illumination” from April 26 to May 25, 2014. Eric was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. His works include “Melton the Mechanical Marvel” and the “Steampunk Time Machine.” His multi-media art incorporates stained glass, brass fixtures, and robotic elements.

Eric Holstine

Eric Holstine

Don’t miss this exhibit! These are bonafide one of a kind pieces that are guaranteed to delight!

IMG_7011

3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk – April 26 and 27, 2014

The 3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk is scheduled for April 26 and 27, 2014. Please keep up with developments on the facebook page. Steam is fortunate to have the sponsorship and assistance of the Bolivar/Harpers Ferry Public Library, The Corporation of Harpers Ferry and the Arts and Humanities Alliance for Jefferson County.

Lily Pad in 3D

Lily Pad in 3D

There are over 20 venues and artists participating. It is always a good time – Steam hopes to see you!

Jason is exhibiting his 3D piece “Lily Pads” for the Art Walk this year.Aha logo

What’s New at Steam?

Steampunk-themed home décor! From drawer pulls and light switch plates to ceramics and coasters, time to decorate your home in steampunk style! New steampunk art prints are in stock and now is the time to pick up a few prints from Leigh Anne Cassell’s popular print collection.

Thank you for reading!

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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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Leigh Anne Cassell’s Solo Exhibit – Through March 30, 2014

The Gallery’s theme for this exhibit is “Rêves et Rêveurs – Dreams and Dreamers” drawing inspiration from the book “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

Leigh Anne with Lizzie Lyra Performers (courtesy Leigh Anne w/ permission)

Leigh Anne with Lizzie Lyra Performers (courtesy Leigh Anne w/ permission)

Leigh Anne’s work covers a broad range of visual interest, from whimsical to contemplative. Her strongest and most commented upon works so far are the portraits, of which the Steampunk Dr. Who and her self-portrait are two examples. Leigh Anne will show her recent as well as earlier work, some of which will be on loan to the gallery for this solo show.

It was great to see so many people coming into the gallery in the theme colors  of black, white and red! Here is a photo of our first visitors of the day on Saturday, February 22!

Our very own Reveurs! Thank you for dropping by!

Our very own Reveurs! Thank you for dropping by!

 

What’s New at Steam

Please put April 26 on your calendar for Eric Holstine’s solo exhibit  opening! Here is a sneak peek of a new piece!

Can you guess what this is? Courtesy Eric Holstine with permission.

Can you guess what this is? Courtesy Eric Holstine with permission.

IMG_7011

We also have a new supply of Steam at Harper’s Ferry exclusive goggles and tiny top hats!

3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk – April 26 and 27, 2014

The 3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk is scheduled for April 26 and 27, 2014. Please keep up with developments on the facebook page. Steam is pleased to announce that the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library and stair-mate Waffle Buzz will provide some welcomed assistance with this year’s event.

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Leigh Anne Cassell’s Solo Exhibit – February 22 – March 30, 2014

The Gallery’s theme for this exhibit is “Rêves et Rêveurs – Dreams and Dreamers” drawing inspiration from the book “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

Postcard_Front_Leigh_Anne_show

Leigh Anne’s work covers a broad range of visual interest, from whimsical to contemplative. Her strongest and most commented upon works so far are the portraits, of which the Steampunk Dr. Who and her self-portrait are two examples. Leigh Anne will show her recent as well as earlier work, some of which will be on loan to the gallery for this solo show. Visitors are encouraged to participate on opening day wearing theme colors white, red and black. An artist’s reception is scheduled for February 22. Please contact Steam at Harper’s Ferry directly for an invitation.

What’s New at Steam

Please put April 26 on your calendar for Eric Holstine’s solo exhibit! He is sending along preliminary photos of his work – this promises to be a very exciting show!

With the heightened interest in the revitalization of the Hill Top House, Steam at Harper’s Ferry has a mini display of related historic postcards. This is also a good time to buy “Of Steam and Spring” the first  of a series (hopefully) which features Hill Top House and the B&O Island Park.

We are always looking for new folks to come in and show their work, so there will be a call to artists in early 2014 for our next open call exhibit. Over the course of the year, we will feature several local and regional artists.

3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk – April 26 and 27, 2014

The 3rd Annual Bolivar-Harper’s Ferry Community Art Walk is scheduled for April 26 and 27, 2014. Please keep up with developments on the facebook page. Steam is pleased to announce that the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library and stair-mate Waffle Buzz will provide some welcomed assistance with this year’s event.

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Here is the poster for the exhibit beginning February 22.

Leigh_Anne_Casell_Poster

 

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Another reason to love historical fiction!

The first work I read by Joyce Carol Oates was “The Poisoned Kiss and Other Stories from the Portuguese“. Then I read her Gothic novels, “Bellefleur,” “A Bloodsmore Romance,” and  “The Mysteries of Winterthurn.” I took a break from her work for a very long time, and recently picked up “The Accursed” which lead me to my post on Woodrow Wilson, who was a character in this story during the time when he was president of Princeton University (1902 – 1920).

This week, I finished reading the second book from an additional favorite  author, Lyndsay Faye, “Seven for a Secret,” the second of the Timothy Wilde series, the first being “Gods of Gotham“, both of which take place in 1840s New York.

Timothy Wilde, a “copper star,” learned about a particularly vile form of law enforcement, “blackbirders” who kidnapped free northern blacks and sold them into slavery. The book contains several quotes and, not surprisingly, quotes from “Twelve Years a Slave, Narrative of Solomon Northrup, a Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City and Rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River in Louisiana” which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture  – Drama and  has been nominated for nine Academy Awards.

A quote that Ms. Faye included in her book was one that struck me particularly. Here is the complete paragraph from pages 206 & 207 of the Narrative:

“There may be humane masters, as there certainly are inhuman ones—there may be slaves well-clothed, well-fed, and happy, as there surely are those half-clad, half-starved and miserable; nevertheless, the institution that tolerates such wrong and inhumanity as I have witnessed, is a cruel, unjust, and barbarous one. Men may write fictions portraying lowly life as it is, or as it is not—may expatiate with owlish gravity upon the bliss of ignorance—discourse flippantly from arm chairs of the pleasures of slave life; but let them toil with him in the field—sleep with him in the cabin—feed with him on husks; let them behold him scourged, hunted, trampled on, and they will come back with another story in their mouths. Let them know the heart of the poor slave—learn his secret thoughts—thoughts he dare not utter in the hearing of the white man; let them sit by him in the silent watches of the night—converse  in trustful confidence, of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and they will find that ninety-nine out of every hundred are intelligent enough to understand their situation, and to cherish in their bosoms the love of freedom, as passionately as themselves.” [emphasis added.]

This Narrative was published in 1853, one year after the publication of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,  or Life Among the Lowly.” Theodore Weld wrote “American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of A Thousand Witnesses” and it was published in 1839.  I can’t help but think that Solomon Northrup was directing this comment toward Harriet Beecher Stowe and Theodore Weld followers. These two authors fell from different branches on the abolitionist tree. Harriett Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist along the lines of gradual emancipation and “returning” the slaves to Africa, otherwise known as colonization. Theodore Weld, who attended Harriet Beecher Stowe’s father, Lyman Beecher’s school, the Lane Theological Seminary School located in Cincinnati, Ohio, was of the immediate emancipation branch. Weld broke away from the school in 1834 when the school’s trustees prohibited the discussion of slavery, and Weld held debates anyway for 14 days in February 1834, while Lyman Beecher was out of town. When Weld was kicked out of Lane, he took the financial backing of the Tappan brothers. Lewis and Arthur, with him to Oberlin College.

In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise Act, was passed to strengthen the existing Fugitive Slave Act of 1783, which was also passed to enforce Article 4, Clause 3  of the United States, which stated:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

This was the foundation upon which fugitive slaves were to be returned to their owners. Article 4 on the whole is fundamentally an article outlining the relationship between the states and the federal government. On the up side, it requires the states to recognize the laws of public acts, records and court proceedings of other states. This article is extremely important to civil rights in the United States, starting with slavery, to inter-racial marriage, violence against women and same-sex marriage.

Harriet Beecher Stowe often stated that it was the Fugitive Slave Act which compelled her to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Every once in a while, I have to remind myself that the federal government used slave labor (and was sometimes sued for non-payment for services), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that congressional representatives at the time would, more likely than not, reflect the sentiments of that government. In the newspaper, Radical Abolitionist, dated July 1856, Dr. James C. Jackson, of Glen Haven, NY said:

What new thing is it with us, that a man like Charles Sumner is knocked down?

And if you don’t recall, Charles Sumner was nearly killed on the  Senate floor two days after giving his speech, The Crime Against Kansas: The Apologies for the Crime; The True Remedy, in May 1856, the same month John Brown and his volunteers killed five men associated with the pro-slavery Law and Order Party  in Pottawatomie, Kansas. So much for the other parts of the Constitution – the Second Amendment.

It was in this same  publication that the Radical Abolitionists nominated Gerrit Smith (one of John Brown’s Secret Six) for President of the United States. It was also reported that at the Republican Convention, Mr. Lincoln of Illinois received 110 votes for Vice President, second to Mr. William Dayton of New Jersey who received 259 votes in the informal ballot.

Dr. Beriah  Green, a close associate of Gerrit Smith, who made a speech at the Radical Abolitionist convention,  made what I think sums up the federal government’s complicity in slavery correctly.

It has been affirmed, more than once, by names making a prominent figure in the sphere of politics, and enjoying a large amount of the general confidence, that slavery, from the very commencement of our political history, has been especially,  prominently, and constantly, a cherished and petted  “institution” of what bears the name of Government.  … The thing has not only been endured by the Government – it has not only been cherished by the Government, but it has been regarded as pre-eminently, controllingly, the object to which, in the measures they might devise, they have been devoted. … I know it  is claimed that the people at large are deceived and devoted to freedom ; … There will always be found a striking correspondence between those who grant office and those who hold office. We have therefore to refer this to a majority of those who wield power in this republic. …. If we look a little more earnestly, we shall be constrained to admit, that slavery without us, has its origin in slavery within us. A man will give expression to his own appropriate character. What he may be, within himself, he will be … in the objects he may pursue. … The fetters, the chains and the whips – whatever belongs to slavery, as it presents itself to they eye, has its origin within the depths of the human spirit.

Readers are reminded that the Republican Party platform at the time did not propose the suppression of the slave trade between the states, it did not propose the prohibition of slavery in the District of Columbia (which was, and continues to be, in many ways, under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress), and failed to propose a repeal of the Fugitive Slave bill.

Frederick Douglass was present at the convention and was reported to have made two speeches. The second one was directed at the Republican Party attendees who sympathized with the abolitionist cause:

You are called Black Republicans. What right have you to that name? Among all the Candidates you have selected, or talked of, I have not seen or heard of a single black one. (Laughter.) Nor have I seen one mentioned with any prospect of success, who is friendly to the black man in his sympathies, or an advocate for the restoration of is rights. … And then there is the man who was struck down in the Senate; and he is the man you would be  first to elevate, if acting on the tactics of Napoleon. … If you want to give us an example of your Black Republicanism – of your determination to resist and defy the Slave power, take Charles Sumner, and make him master at Washington.

to be continued …

The Radical Abolitionist, July 1856, Volume I, Number 12, edited by William Goodell, is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

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