John Brown’s Dream: The Devil is Dead

by  Jesse J. Gant (

On December 8, 1859, Brown was buried near his small cabin at North Elba, New York, following his one-week journey from the gallows at Harper’s Ferry.  Blacks and whites, men and women, came together in the Adirondacks to remember and mourn those executed for the raid on Harper’s Ferry.  Yet we rarely associate John Brown and the other conspirators in the raid with the hills and valleys of his upstate New York farm.

The lands near North Elba deserve space alongside the other frames of John Brown’s life–Harper’s Ferry and Bloody Kansas. On December 8, 1859, Brown’s body returned for the last time to a farm he had purchased in 1849.

Though the majority of Americans remain unfamiliar with this story, Brown had purchased the property with the explicit intention of living with and among freed African Americans, whom he hoped he could help in farming and living sustainably on the land.

The Adirondack lands were made available through the efforts of wealthy abolitionist Gerrit Smith, who hoped to distribute his lands to freed people. Brown believed that living in an interracial society was the most important step in overturning slavery.

John Brown’s memory is still alive in the hills and valleys of upstate New York. 

Listen to this tribute to John Brown played by Jeb Puryear, of Trumansburg, NY : “John Brown’s Dream”
                                                                                                                     Jeb Puryear

One Response to “John Brown’s Dream: The Devil is Dead”

  1. Rick Says:

    There is a great new book on Brown’s raid of Harper’s Ferry.

    Review at:

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