“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charles Town in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

John Brown Hanging Site

Creation of a Martyr


—Prelude to War —

John Brown Hanging Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
1. John Brown Hanging Site Marker
Inscription. This is where seven men were hanged in December 1859 and March 1860 for their part in John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry. The scaffold stood here in a large field.

A month after the trial, on December 2, 1859, John Brown was the first to die. He rode here in a wagon, sitting on his casket, with his arms tied. His last message, which he gave to a jail guard, read: “I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land: will never be purged away; but with Blood. I had as I now think: vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed; it might be done.”

Eight hundred militiamen under Col. John T. Gibson stood guard to prevent any attempt to free Brown. Brown’s body was returned to his wife in Harpers Ferry and taken home to North Elba, New York, for burial. Many Northerners regarded him as a martyr.

Among those present at Brown’s execution were Thomas J. (later “Stonewall”) Jackson, then an instructor at Virginia Military Institute, John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, and Edmund Ruffin, who fired one of the first shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter.

On December 16, white raiders John Cook and Edwin Coppic and black raiders Shields Green and John Copeland were hanged here. Raiders Aaron Stevens and Albert Hazlett followed on March
Marker in Charles Town image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
2. Marker in Charles Town
The Victorian house built by militia commander Col. John T. Gibson can be seen here behind the marker.

In 1892, Gibson, the militia commander, built the Victorian house that stands here today.
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 17.147′ N, 77° 51.388′ W. Marker is in Charles Town, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of South Samuel Street and East Hunter Street on South Samuel Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charles Town WV 25414, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Brown Scaffold (here, next to this marker); Site of the Execution of John Brown (within shouting distance of this marker); Happy Retreat (approx. ¼ mile away); Zion Episcopal Churchyard (approx. ¼ mile away); Charles Town Post Office (approx. 0.3 miles away); Charles Town (approx. 0.3 miles away); Jefferson County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away); John Yates (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Charles Town.
More about this marker. Library of Congress pictures of John Brown being read his death warrant and John Brown ascending the scaffold are at the lower left and upper center of the marker.
John Brown Hanging Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
3. John Brown Hanging Site Marker
The scaffold used to execute John Brown on December 2, 1859 was located on this ground.
A third picture of John Brown’s execution by Porte Crayon, courtesy of Richard A. Wolfe, appears at the lower right.
The right side of the marker contains a map which highlights significant Civil War Sites in Jefferson County, WV, many of which are interpreted by Civil War Trail signage.
Also see . . .  Biography of John Brown. (Submitted on April 12, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 4,854 times since then and 261 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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