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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Amissville in Rappahannock County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Dangerfield Newby

A Tragic Journey to Harpers Ferry

Dangerfield Newby Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 8, 2021
1. Dangerfield Newby Marker
Dangerfield Newby (ca. 1820-1859), a free mulatto for whose family this crossroads is named, was the first of John Brown’s raiders killed during the attack on Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859. He was the eldest child of Henry Newby and a slave, Elsey. Edward Newby, Henry’s father, built the house across the road in the 1770s. Henry Newby lived there until 1830, then sold it and moved to a nearby farm on Gourdvine Run (Thornton River). Dangerfield likely spent part of his youth near here and may have worked as a blacksmith and a deckhand on canal boats on the Rappahannock River.

In 1858, Henry Newby moved with Elsey and their children, including Dangerfield, to Bridgeport, Ohio, and freed them. Dangerfield Newby tried to buy his own wife, Harriet, and their children, who were enslaved in Prince William County, Virginia, but failed. He joined John Brown’s raiders, hoping that a successful attack on Harpers Ferry would somehow free them. Newby killed two residents before he was shot and killed near the U.S. Arsenal. He and seven other dead raiders were buried near the Shenandoah River and then moved in 1899 to John Brown’s Farm in
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North Elba, New York. Letters from Harriet Newby were found five miles northeast of Harpers Ferry at the Kennedy farm, from which the raiders launched their attack. She was sold south to Louisiana but eventually returned. Dangerfield Newby’s brother William served in the 5th U.S Colored Troops and died at Petersburg in June 1864. Elsey Newby applied for a pension based on her son’s service.

(Sidebar): In the spring and summer of 1859, Newby’s wife wrote to him three times expressing concern that her owner would sell her before he was able to raise money to free her. “[I]t is said Master is in want of money[:] if so I know not what time he may sell me an[d] then all my bright hops of the futer are blasted.” – Harriet Newby, 1859

“Dangerfield Newby, colored and born a slave, freeman now, but married to one not free who, with their seven children waited him South, the youngest baby just beginning to crawl” – Stephn Vincent Benet, John Brown’s Body
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1864.
Dangerfield Newby Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), May 8, 2021
2. Dangerfield Newby Marker
38° 38.96′ N, 78° 4.482′ W. Marker is near Amissville, Virginia, in Rappahannock County. Marker is at the intersection of Laurel Mills Road (County Route 618) and Richmond Road (County Route 729), on the left when traveling east on Laurel Mills Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Amissville VA 20106, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle Mountain (here, next to this marker); Encounter with Lee (here, next to this marker); Mt. Salem Baptist Meeting House (approx. 3.4 miles away); Hinson's Ford (approx. 4.3 miles away); Campaign of Second Manassas (approx. 4.3 miles away); Corbin's Crossroads (approx. 4˝ miles away); Eliza Brown and the Custers (approx. 4˝ miles away); Gaines's Crossroads (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amissville.
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a portrait captioned Dangerfield Newby Courtesy Library of Congress. In the middle of the marker is a portrait captioned John Brown Courtesy Library of Congress. On the right side of the marker is photo captioned US Armory Harpers Ferry - Courtesy Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
Also see . . .  Dangerfield Newby.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Submitted on December 17, 2011.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 17, 2011. This page has been viewed 2,084 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 27, 2024