John Brown Hanging Was a Game Changer

John Brown rode from the jail to the gallows on top of his own coffin, which was hauled in a “criminal’s wagon” drawn by two white horses.

It was just before 11 a.m. on Dec. 2, 1859, in Charles Town, Va., now part of West Virginia. Brown, the fierce abolitionist who had led an armed insurrection against slavery, was ready to die.

He had written a note in his cell before leaving for the gallows: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”

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