“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Kennedy Farm

Staging and Planning John Brown's Harpers Ferry Raid

Kennedy Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
1. Kennedy Farm Marker
Inscription. This is the Kennedy farmhouse, which abolitionist John Brown (using the pseudonym Isaac Smith) leased in July 1859 from Dr. Robert Kennedy's heirs, ostensibly to do some prospecting. Brown's fifteen-year-old daughter, Annie Brown, identified the Kennedy Farm as "Headquarters: War Department." It served as a barracks, arsenal, supply depot, mess hall, debate club, and home to Brown and his fellow conspirators to plan their attack on the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, five miles away. Brown's daughter-in-law Martha Brown, sons Owen, Watson, and Oliver Brown, and eighteen other men, five of whom were African American, jammed the house and nearby cabin. Crates marked "mining tools" actually held about 400 rifles and pistols, ammunition, black powder, 1,000 pikes, tools, tents, clothing, and other items a small army needed.

Annie and Martha Brown intercepted curious neighbors while the men hid in the attic. Brown encouraged his young followers, average age 25, to debate his plans for the attack. Once, Brown offered to resign as commander over objections to his scheme, but he received a vote of confidence in the farm kitchen. Brown and his "army" marched from here to Harpers Ferry on October 16, hoping to help end slavery.

After the raid failed, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee sent Lt. J.E.B. Stuart and U.S. marines to the farm,
Kennedy Farm and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
2. Kennedy Farm and Marker
Also in the background are pavilions for the marker unveiling festivities.
where the full scope of Brown's plan was revealed. Maps, letters, spare weapons, and equipment found here further incriminated Brown's supporters.

"Men, get on your arms; we will proceed to the Ferry." - John Brown, October 6, 1859.

"If John Brown did not end the war that ended slavery, he did at least begin the war that ended slavery. If we look over the dates, places, and men, for which this honor is claimed, we shall find that not Carolina, but Virginia - not Fort Sumter, but Harpers Ferry and the arsenal - not Colonel Anderson, but John Brown, began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic." - Frederick Douglass
Erected 2009 by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 22.854′ N, 77° 42.808′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Chestnut Grove Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2406 Chestnut Grove Road, Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Brown (within shouting distance of this marker); The Moler Family
Kennedy Farm House Today image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 11, 2009
3. Kennedy Farm House Today
(approx. 2.2 miles away in West Virginia); Battle of Maryland Heights (approx. 2˝ miles away); St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (approx. 2.6 miles away); Stone Fort (approx. 2.7 miles away); Interior Fort (approx. 2.7 miles away); Exterior Fort (approx. 2.8 miles away); Brownsville-Burkittsville Pass (approx. 2.8 miles away).
More about this marker. On the lower left is a drawing of the Kennedy Farm from Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, November 26, 1859. In the upper center are portraits of John Brown and Annie Brown.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on October 25, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,568 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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