John Brown was an abolitionist during the Civil War; his deeds inspired the words a song: “John Brown’s Body lies a-moldering in the grave….” He was born on May 9, 1800, in Torrington, Connecticut.
Brown was an unsuccessful businessman. He opposed slavery – as did his father. In 1849 .he moved his family into a Negro community at North Elba, New York. He led a group of people fighting against slavery and had a crusade to help escaping slaves. He led a group in 1856 to Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas; there his men brutally murdered five suspected pro-slavery settlers.
Brown occupied the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, on October 16, 1859. He was finally captured by then Colonel Robert E. Lee. He was tried and convicted of murder, promoting slave insurrection and treason against Virginia. Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859, and became a martyr to many Northerners. It is possible that “John Brown’s Body” was the most popular Union song of the Civil War!