One of the familiar attacks on John Brown (and by extension his anti-slavery legacy) involves his failed business ventures and accusations that he was a swindler and a drifter, roaming from place to place – only briefly and uneventfully staying in North Elba, Essex County, NY.
“Over the years before his Kansas escapade Brown had been a drifter, horse thief and swindler,” Columbia University historian John Garraty once wrote. Garraty served as the president of the Society of American Historians and was co-author of the high school history textbook The American Nation (he died in 2007).
A closer look at Brown and the his family, however, reveals an experience typical of many Americans, then and today, and the importance of North Elba in Brown’s plans for a raid into Virginia. [Read more…] about The Last Days of John Brown: North Elba