Charles Town in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Two Treason Trials
In the room immediately behind this wall, the abolitionist John Brown and five of his raiders were tried for treason against the state of Virginia, murder and inciting slaves to rebel. Brown had led 21 men to seize the federal arsenal and armory at Harpers Ferry on the night of October 16, 1859 to start an insurrection to topple slavery. Fifteen people died before the raiders were taken.
Treason Trials in Charles Town - Again
Sixty three years after John Brown's raid, labor leader Bill Blizzard and about 800 miners from the coalfields near the Kentucky border were brought to this historic courthouse for trial. The charges were treason against the state of West Virginia and murder. Violence between mine guards and miners in counties 250 miles away had boiled over into full-scale open warfare in the summer of 1921. Fifteen thousand miners armed themselves and marched toward Blair Mountain, going up against trenches and machine guns. At least two dozen men died before federal troops arrived and the fighting subsided.
Location. 39° 17.362′ N, 77° 51.603′ W. Marker is in Charles Town, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of George Street and Washington Street Touch 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. Explore the Washington Heritage Trail / Afoot in Historic Charles Town (here, next to this marker); Charles Washington's Town (here, next to this marker); Colonel Charles Washington (a few steps from this marker); Martin R. Delany (a few steps from this marker); The Trial of John Brown (a few steps from this marker); New Central Restaurant (within shouting distance of this marker); Jefferson County World War II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Soldiers of Jefferson County (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charles Town.
Regarding Two Treason Trials. Right portrait and sketch 1859
John Brown Portrait
Jurors in this courthouse convicted Brown and his surviving men. All were subsequently hanged.
Left Photos 1922
Jefferson County jurors in the courtrooms in front of you found Bill Blizzard innocent. Then miner J.E. Wilburn and his son were found guilty of murder and sent to prison.
One other miner, Walter Allen, was convicted of treason. The rest of the 1922 miner trials were moved to other venues.
Bill Blizzard and his wife outside this courthouse.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. See William Blizzard marker in Charleston, WV.
Also see . . . William Blizzard - West Virginia Archives & History. (Submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. • 20th Century • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Labor Unions • Notable Buildings • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,890 times since then. Last updated on August 18, 2009, by Sarah Hovde of Rocky Ridge, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.