John Brown: agent provocateur

Brown hand held high
Brown, circa 1847, Springfield, MA

While in college I took sanctioned history courses, and they were interesting. I was not mature enough to question what I was told, but some things did stand out, one of which was John Brown’s raid on Pottawatomie. That night in Kansas Territory he and his sons and companions visited three households, interrogated and murdered five people, letting others go if given satisfactory answers. The murders were not at all merciful, but rather by hacking with swords, brutal beyond conscience, insane and monstrous. If real.

What struck me was not what was obvious, that there was no attempt to find and imprison the murderers, well-known to be the Brown family and a couple of friends. What I took from that was that John Brown was clinically insane. Someone, perhaps the teacher, suggested that he looked to the stars for signs that guided his hand, as a schizophrenic might do.

When in prison for thirty days prior to his alleged hanging after the raid on Harpers Ferry, Brown was unwilling to address the Pottawatomie matter, showed no remorse, but also made no admission of guilt. He did not actually kill anyone that night, though he led the party. Later, part of his Harpers Ferry legal defense would again be that he had not personally killed anyone.

John Brown stands out as an oddity, and following his life I have to say that the work now being done by Miles Mathis, our friends Josh, Kevin Starr and others is of utmost importance. His ancestry can be traced back to Puritans of the 1600s in New England. I am beginning to get the sense now that these early settlers were not people fleeing religious persecution nor cults seeking refuge, but rather landed gentry dispatched to the New World to lay claim to the land and establish its institutions.

John Brown, then, is of the peerage. At various points I find among his financial backers and supporters names such as Douglass*, Garrison, Walker, Sanborn, Parker, Stearns, Howe, Forbes and Alcott. Others not so recognizable but those more experienced might make something of them.

*The name “Douglass” with two s’s on the end grabs my attention. The book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he Died and Why it Matters, was an unapologetic (even unspeakable) lionization, even a canonization of John F. Kennedy, written by James W. Douglass. I mentioned to Kevin one time that I thought this spelling odd and that it needed some research (relying on others), and he agreed but deferred as well, as he has his own agenda to pursue. In due time, in due time. Douglass is a man of interest, as is Frederick Douglass. A future post.

John Brown’s ancestry

I have never before delved into the genealogy, and this effort has to be considered rookie. So bear with me, and those of you more experienced, add your knowledge.

I first went to Geni.com, and found that if I simply stay on the outside it provides lots of information. But, if I enter the website using a free membership, it blocks that information and insists that I do a “trial” membership (an American marketing term meaning “gotcha!”). However, working outside but with Geni I learned that John Torrington Brown was the son of Owen “Squire” Brown, who died in 1856 at age 85. His grandfather was Captain John Brown (1728-1776),  who died in the Revolutionary War, and great grandfather John Brown (1700-1790), and before him gg grandfather John Brown (1668-1728), and before him and then ggg grandfather Peter Brown (circa 1630-1692), who landed in Plymouth and died in Connecticut. The whole family is centered in Connecticut. It stops there.

At Jewish.gen, just out of curiosity, I looked for the name Brown found well over 300 by that name. But searching Jewish names at a surname site, I came up with only “Braum.” Brown, of course, made me think of “Braun,” as in Eva and Wernher von. It is interesting that the name is unaffected through the New World generations, with only an “e” added now and then.

On his mother’s side, his mother was Ruth (nee Mills). Her ancestry is Gideon Mills (1749-1813), Reverend Gideon Mills (1715-1772), Peter (The Dutchman”) Mills (1667-1756), Pieter Wouterse van der Muelen (1622-1710). Searching that name we get into Millers, Milteers, etc.

For a first entrance, I find it interesting that the family is managed by Peter Spencer, as we know that name to be of the peerage. The name “Brown” is all over The Peerage, even seen as a derivation of “baroness.” “Mill,” “Milles, “Miller” and “Mills-Powell” and “Mills-Walker” also appear there.

What did I learn here?

John Torrington Brown is of Plymouth Colony ancestry, and both his mother and father have names connected to the peerage. Their blood lines stop at Plymouth Rock, but most likely go back into Dutch and British wealth, or landed gentry. Keep this in mind as we discuss his Wikipedia background. John Brown’s mother is of the Mills line.

Just this brief flurry with ancestry has me suspicious that I am sitting atop a gold mine of clues, but am too much a rookie to see them. I will keep working at this, but for now, am closing that shop. Otherwise, it might consume me.

An enticing contradiction

I have learned over time that Wikipedia is a source of lies, the whole lie, and nothing but the lies, but that we can ferret out some truth by examining contradictions. I will start out with just one, and expand on it later, after a review of John Brown’s life. If the reader here does not have antennae high after reading the words below then there is not much point in reading further. From Wikipedia:

…Brown had only 21 men (16 white and 5 black: three free blacks, one freed slave, and a fugitive slave). They ranged in age from 21 to 49. Twelve had been with Brown in Kansas raids. On October 16, 1859, Brown (leaving three men behind as a rear guard) led 18 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory. He had received 200 Beecher’s Bibles—breechloading .52 (13.2 mm) caliber Sharps rifles—and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation for the raid. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. …

Initially, the raid went well, and they met no resistance entering the town. They cut the telegraph wires and easily captured the armory, which was being defended by a single watchman. [My emphasis]

Need I say more? Yes. I will say more later, for sure.

John Brown Timeline

Brown was born in 1800 in Torrington, Connecticut. His middle name, most often overlooked by historians, appears to be “Torrington.” That name is prominent in The Peerage too. Owen, his father, supported the Oberlin Institute, now Oberlin College, which graduated some black students prior to the Civil War, most prominently George B. Vashon, the first black admitted to the bar in New York state, and a founding professor of Howard University. Owen Brown distanced himself from Oberlin. Both Owen and son John are said to be non-church members with evangelical leanings.

At age 16, John Brown left his family and went to Plainfield, Massachusetts. From there he transferred to Morris Academy in Litchfield, Connecticut. This school, which closed in 1888, was subsidized by “wealthy subscribers” in its early years, and averaged 50-75 students a year. I read into that “exclusive,” though John would drop out due to money running out (and eye inflammations). We are told he was forced to give up the academy, but are given no clue as to how he got in to begin with, or where the money that “ran out” came from. Morris Academy was not for street urchins.

In 1820 Brown married Dianthe Lusk (name also in The Peerage, and “Luskin and Lusky” appear as Jewish surnames – as long discussed before here, I don’t know the significance of being Jewish, but will highlight it nonetheless, as somehow it seems to matter.) Dianthe’s ancestry points back to the Massachusetts Adams line. In 1825 he moved the family to New Richmond, Pennsylvania, where be bought 200 acres of land. There be built a tannery.

In a land of sharecroppers and shopkeepers, I find it odd that Brown could buy 200 acres of land. Even today such a large quantity of acreage is unaffordable to virtually all of us. Where did he get the funds? Wikipedia is silent. The Tannery was immediately successful, having 15 employees within a year. He also made money raising cattle and surveying, running an interstate business.

Dianthe died in 1832 after twelve years of marriage. The union produced seven children, two of whom died, one in childbirth shortly before her death. In 1733, Brown married Mary Ann Day. That union produced thirteen children, for a total of twenty for John. The names are too many to list for any reason, and many died young. Two would die at Harpers Ferry. One of them married a Samuel Adams.

In 1836 Brown moved to Franklin Mills, Ohio (now known as Kent, scene of the famous massacre of 1970), and there using borrowed funds bought land, founded a tannery in Partnership with Zenas Kent, president of Franklin (later Kent) National Bank. John Brown has wealthy and influential friends at every stop, as we will see later. He was also a horse and sheep breeder, that is, he was never short of ways to make a living and support those 20 kids.

Brown was said to have been enraged by the murder of abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy. A brief review of that event leaves a few questions, one of which is why no one was convicted of the crime even as witnesses were plentiful. Here’s Wikipedia:

Francis Butter Murdoch, the district attorney of Alton, prosecuted Lovejoy’s murder but no one was convicted. The jury foreman had been a member of the mob and was wounded in the attack. The presiding judge also doubled as a witness to the proceedings. These conflicts of interest resulted in a “not guilty” verdict.[11]

Normally these kinds of conflicts of interest result in new jury members, change of venue, new judge … as we see, the end result, not guilty verdict, was illogical. This smacks of inconsistency, and makes me suspicious that the Lovejoy murder might have been an intelligence operation, with no one killed.

But this is about John Brown, and that is a rabbit hole. We are told that the Lovejoy incident triggered his legendary passion, his fiery energy unbounded, even to the degree of first degree murder as seen in Pottawatomie.

Springfield Years and the abolition movement

Brown moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1846. It was said to be an “ideologically progressive” city. There he found comrades in arms among wealthy businessmen, prominent politicians, jurists and an influential publisher. Brown is said to have moved there to represent Ohio wool growers against those of New England. He was a parishioner of the Sanford Street Free Church, a “prominent platform” for abolitionist speeches.

It would help here to talk about the abolitionist causes. Of course slavery was an important issue in the country at that time, but the question is whether or not enough people were so opposed as to go to war over the matter. I doubt it, as I don’t think people easily go to war over any issue unless their passions are inflamed by outside agitation.

People are not inclined to leave their lives, abandon wives and children and girlfriends, livelihoods and homesteads and put their own lives on the line for someone else’s benefit. They might agree that slavery was an abhorrent practice. They might even cast a vote for an abolitionist candidate or listen to a town square debate. But they would for the most part just live their lives without lifting a weapon unless helped along the course by agents of causes.

So my contention is that those who wanted a war with the South used the abolitionist cause to their own advantage. At the same time, I do not diminish the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, or the people of integrity who fought for those issues. I merely suggest their worthy causes were hijacked.

We traveled through the south in 2013, not by design but because we were down there and other plans were cancelled. We had a chance to tour the Great Smoky Mountains, North and South Carolina and Georgia. This certainly does not make me an expert, but I grabbed local publications wherever I could. I learned that Abraham Lincoln was and is regarded as a scoundrel. Tariffs were the real reason behind the war. Regarding slavery, they said, the writing had been on the wall for some time, and the institution would have come to an end due to not just northern, but world-wide pressure. Slavery had been ended in Britain by 1833.

Tariffs had been in place since the days of the Founding Fathers, the idea to give domestic manufacturers a chance to grow strong in the newly founded country.  Heavy tariffs were levied on foreign manufactured goods, but not on raw materials. So southerners not only had to pay higher prices on manufactured goods imported from the north, but also got no break from foreign competition for their raw materials. Revenue from tariffs was used mostly in the North for canals, railroads, roads and bridges. Southerners felt double-shortchanged.

It is said that this was the main reason for the war … not for the South to break away, but rather for the North to attack the South. Slavery later became an issue of importance, but we know Lincoln had no iron in that fire. He only signed the Emancipation Proclamation as a military tactic, hoping that slaves in affected areas would rise up in rebellion. They didn’t.

As we northerners view southerners, they appear to minimize the slavery issue. I tend to agree, and yet as I look at the temper of the times, I see the abolitionists given wide exposure, and people like John Brown entering the fray with some highly publicized minor events. In our current time only insiders and controlled opposition get that kind of media exposure. For this reason, I suspect that he was an agent provocateur, his job to create the tensions necessary to eventually justify a war, one that northern manufacturing interests would benefit from. I am also leery of Frederick Douglass, William Garrison, and Sojourner Truth, but those are separate journeys beyond the scope right now.

That would explain his move to Springfield far more than to represent wool interests. Plans were being made to make the war the northerners wanted. That is my view. The idea that Springfield was transformative for him, that he just happened in there at that time and met all the people he did, is a back story supplied later.

Brown HomeSide note: After leaving Springfield, Brown moved to the Adirondacks to live among new black settlers there who received land grants from Gerrit Smith. He bought land for $1 an acre and built a log home. It is pictured here, now part of a historic site in New York. It seems quite elaborate to me, far bigger than any new black settler would be able to build. I doubt he fit in with the blacks he chose to live with. This could be a staging maneuver, and again, he seems well-funded, much in the same way that our modern-day Barack Obama worked as a “community organizer” in Chicago. It is convenient background. solidifying his image as an abolitionist.

Pottawatomie

The events of May 24, 1856 are highly suspicious. As background I want to review what became known in Europe in the post-World War II era as the “Strategy of Tension.”
Key to this strategy is the use of hired agents to carry out acts that are highly publicized and meant to arouse to the public to support for causes they would otherwise not endorse. As I read of the barbaric nature of the murder of five innocent men, I am reminded of the Tate massacre of 1969, and of Charles Manson. John Brown, we are told, had no actual part in the killings, but supervised them, similar to the Manson legend.

The public controversy of the day was whether or not the Kansas Territory would be admitted to the union as a free or slave state. In prior years leading up to that night, violence had resulted in eight deaths. Brown, who had adults sons living in Kansas, learned that anti-slavery families in Kansas were completely unprepared to deal with the violence that would be brought to bear by the pro-slavery forces.

Brown headed for Kansas, bringing along a son-in-law and stopping along the way to collect money and weapons. Albany seems to be the center for that support, though Wikipedia stops short of telling us who exactly provided it.

Two critical events preceded Pottawatomie – the sacking of the town of Lawrence by pro-slavery elements, and the caning of Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks on the floor of the Senate in Washington. Both events need thorough examination, and lead away from this subject, John Brown, but must be regarded as suspicious given their timing and high publicity. However, it was essential to the John Brown plot that he be seen as highly motivated. These events, along with the death of his father on May 8, are said to be motivating factors that fueled Brown’s passion.

Brown, we are told, learned that his family was marked for attack, which makes the actions he was about to commit preventive in nature. Even Wikipedia admits that such threats in Kansas were as “plenty as blueberries in June,” and were to be disregarded. Had every man in Kansas who engaged in such talk been killed, there would be no Kansas to admit to the union.

The massacre was carried out by Brown, four of his sons, and two other enlistees. They first kidnapped James Doyle and his two adult sons from his home, sparing the 16-year old, who would later be a useful witness to the events. They led them into darkness, we are told, and murdered them with broadswords.

They then went to the home of Allen Wilkinson and murdered him in similar fashion. From there, crossing the Pottawatomie River in darkness, the forced their way into the home of James Harris, who had three house guests. After interrogation, they let all live except William Sherman, who was murdered.

Thus ended the Pottawatomie massacre, five deaths in total leading to a three-month period called “Bleeding Kansas” in which 29 people would die.

What struck me as a college student is that due to witness left behind, all knew who had committed these crimes. This was not a time of war, civil law had not been suspended. What is described here is murder in the first degree, premeditated and indefensible. All who participated in the raids should have been arrested, tried, and if found guilty, hanged.

None of that happened, which leads me to think that … none of that happened. No one died, no one was murdered in grisly fashion, but the event was publicized to such a degree that the American public was polarized on the slavery issue. John Brown became a central figure around whom the sides rallied for and against. Tensions were exacerbated to an extreme degree.

Is it possible that in 1856, like today, deaths were faked, people assumed new identities (or were ghosts)? Yes. It is indeed possible. We know now that deceit of the highest order was done in those days, and with full cooperation of the media, the military and the justice system. Given all the inconsistencies of the Pottawatomie massacre, I assert here that it was false flag, that no one died, and for that reason, no one was punished.

Later Brown’s son’s family homestead was sacked, and on June 2, Brown and 29 followers defended the town of Palmyra from attack. Prisoners were taken and treated very well, and two of Brown’s sons were taken prisoner and later released (said released delayed until September, enraging Brown).

Then in August three hundred militants crossed into Kansas with the intent of destruction Free State settlements along with Topeka and Lawrence. At Osawatomie they encountered Brown and killed his son Frederick and a neighbor. Brown, outnumbered 300 to 38, killed or wounded 60 of the invaders. Brown and his forces escaped, miraculously I would say. (It reminds me of George Washington and his troops on Long Island, or the British at Dunkirk, planned escapes.) Brown and his men ran into the woods and crossed a river. The town of Osawatomie was plundered, and Brown, still guilty of murder in the first degree after Pottawatomie, became a national hero. This was his PT-109 moment.

These days if a militant force of vigilantes were to be assembled and to cross borders and announce intent to engage in violence, they would be surrounded, captured and tried for insurrection. Again, the country was not at war, and legal apparatuses existed to protect innocent citizens from lawbreakers. In the Kansas Territory of 1856, it was a not free-for-all. It was organized under law with a government and law enforcement abilities. We are led to believe that it was the wild west, with no laws or means by which to deal with criminals and terrorists. Thus was John Brown allowed to commit capital offenses and walk away a free man.

Harpers Ferry

After Pottawatomie, Brown was well-known, and while it seems odd to say something so obvious that no one talks about, he was a known murderer. The crimes he committed were done in a U.S. territory with laws, and not during a time of war. They were premeditated. He never received anything more than rebuke and criticism … what’s more, he gained influential friends and financing.

He returned to Springfield, Massachusetts, where it seems that the center of his financial backing was. There he engaged with people whose names we recognize now, George Walker (no “Herbert”), Forbes, Thoreau and Emerson, Lawrence, Stearns, Howe, Sanborn and others. These men were said to be abolitionists, but I think it more likely they were a central planning committee preparing the country for the coming storm. Brown was one of them, a member of the peerage going back to Plymouth Rock, and no outsider. These men became the “Massachusetts Committee,” and John Brown was their public face. Out of this came a “well-matured plan” for what they said was the end of slavery in the South, but was more likely the initiation of war against the South.

Hugh Forbes is said to have threatened to expose these plans to the government, but far more likely is that elements within (or above) the government were very much aware of these men and their activities, and either approved or looked the other way.

The Underground Railroad was a very real thing, and people of conscience participated, including my wife’s ancestors on Long Island. Slavery was a very ugly thing, and people of conscience wanted it ended. I wish to make that clear, as in demeaning John Brown and his cohorts, I do not demean the good people of that era who had both moral courage and fortitude to fight for good and against evil. I merely wish to establish that these high motives and this positive energy were seized by people of less savory character for completely different purposes, one of which was complete subjugation of the South as a resource colony for northern manufacturers, the role that southerners desperately wanted to escape.

John Brown convened a constitutional convention in Canada, and had plans to make Kansas, rather than Canada the end of the Underground Railroad. But, we are told, his real plan was to start a slave insturrection in Virginia. The arsenal at Harpers Ferry was to be the starting point.

On a return trip to Kansas Brown’s financial backers had some internal squabbling (Forbes spilled the beans to Senator Henry Wilson, but it seems that the bean-spilling had no adverse impact on anyone). Also while in Kansas he led a raid in which he liberated eleven slaves. Taking them Chicago, he met with a Pinkerton and Wagoner, also said to be abolitionists. It seems that these names, so prominent then and now, had seized the baton and were leading the parade just as government agents infiltrated and took over the antiwar movement of the 1960s.

This is all was to lead to Harpers Ferry. I will repeat here, to save the reader scrolling back up to the beginning, the important passages from Wikipedia’s account of that raid:

…Brown had only 21 men (16 white and 5 black: three free blacks, one freed slave, and a fugitive slave). They ranged in age from 21 to 49. Twelve had been with Brown in Kansas raids. On October 16, 1859, Brown (leaving three men behind as a rear guard) led 18 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory. He had received 200 Beecher’s Bibles—breechloading .52 (13.2 mm) caliber Sharps rifles—and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation for the raid. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. …

Initially, the raid went well, and they met no resistance entering the town. They cut the telegraph wires and easily captured the armory, which was being defended by a single watchman. [My emphasis]

Readers here are sharp, and will note, as I do, that on the night of October 16, 1859, the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, was in stand down mode. They must have known he was coming, and dispatched the normal troops guarding the place to their homes.  The event was to be highly publicized, meant to add to the national state of tension surrounding slavery and threat of war.

The draft plan for Harpers Ferry called for a brigade of 4,500 men. Brown had managed to assemble 21. But he had a plan, as follows. After a successful raid, fully armed …

…They would then head south, drawing off more and more slaves from plantations, and fighting only in self-defense. As Frederick Douglass and Brown’s family testified, his strategy was essentially to deplete Virginia of its slaves, causing the institution to collapse in one county after another, until the movement spread into the South, essentially wreaking havoc on the economic viability of the pro-slavery states.[citation needed]

Indeed a citation is needed, as that is such a far-fetched plan that has to be thought of as fanciful. It was poorly conceived and had no chance of success.

After the raid, they rounded up hostages, including one named Lewis W*********, speaking of involvement by prominent people*. Lewis was George’s great-grandnephew.  They stopped a train, shot a black porter, and then let the train go forward. The porter, Hayward Shepard, a free black man – ironic.

*Interesting, maybe cause for paranoia, but I wrote a piece on Montana business tycoon, Dennis W*********, detailing is life and background and suggesting that because of his name he is part of the peerage and that his ownership of the mining operations at Berkeley Pit in Butte are merely a continuation of a Rockefeller enterprise under new name. The piece is gone. The link on the right-hand side is gone. I did not delete it. I just looked through the seventy or so pieces left in trash from earlier this week, and it is not there either. Someone got to me … somehow. The only others with access are fellow writers, and it was not them. Anyway, I will re-write and re-post it. It should go fast since the work is already done.

“News” of the raid, well-known in advance anyway given the stand-down at the arsenal, was in Washington by morning. The militia moved in, seized the bridge, surrounded Brown and his men. Brown lost another two of his twenty children, Watson and Oliver, we are told. Brown was captured, along with six others.

The attack had taken place on Federal property, but in these pre-14th amendment days when the Federal Government was not the all-powerful force it is now, state governments still had power, so we find that Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise ordered that the men were to be tried locally. I leave it to the reader to accept or reject that move as real or pre-planned. It appears obvious that the trial and hanging were planned events.

Imprisonment, trial, hanging

Brown had a prime OJ-style defense team that included six men, and the trial, which concluded only two weeks after the event, on October 31st, found Brown, Anthony Copeland, Jr. and Shields Green guilty. Sentencing on November 2 set the hanging one month later, December 2, 1859.

While in jail Brown was allowed correspondence, one letter in particular receiving wide exposure, that of Mahala Doyle, whose husband and sons were Pottawatomie victims. The son who was then 16 was spared that night wanted to be in Charlestown for the hanging. We are still left to wonder why the Pottawatomie killings were not also capital offenses.

Other letters to and from Brown were said to have been picked up by the northern press and won him supporters in the North and opponents in the South. Harpers Ferry, a minor skirmish that hatched a harebrained scheme with no chance of success, was amplified to become a major event. The official start of the Civil War was still 17 months in the future, so this event was merely a fanning of flames. Brown, we are told, was a hero in the North.

While in jail, Silas Soule “somehow” (???) infiltrated the jail and offered to break him out. Brown chose instead to die as a martyr, or perhaps other plans were already set for him to live out his life somewhere else, in lower profile. The hanging was guarded by cadets from the Virginia Military Institute.

On the morning of December 2, Brown wrote:

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.[53]

Hanging

At 11:00 AM, he was escorted through a crowd of 2,000 soldiers including Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson and somehow infiltrated by a man borrowing a militia uniform, John Wilkes Booth … the well-known actor.* He was taken to a small meadow for hanging.  Poet Walt Whitman, an alleged spook who also chronicled the death of Abraham Lincoln for the American public, was said to have witnessed the Brown hanging, and wrote as follows:

YEAR of meteors! Brooding year!
I would bind in words retrospective, some of your deeds and signs;
I would sing your contest for the 19th Presidentiad;
I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the scaffold in Virginia;
(I was at hand—silent I stood, with teeth shut close—I watch’d;
I stood very near you, old man, when cool and indifferent, but trembling with age and your unheal’d wounds, you mounted the scaffold;) …

I am no judge of poetry and leave that to others. In 1859 news was spread by word, telegraph, and newspapers. Poetry was more widely read then than now. So it must have been seen as essential by Intelligence that one of their own would bear witness to the hanging of one of their own. We are told that “most northerners, including journalists,” were run out of town. Brown was hanged at 11:15 a.m, his body placed in a wooden coffin and placed on a train headed for New York, where a large memorial was held that included Emerson and Thoreau. (Wikipedia footnote 56.)

A later Senate investigation of Harpers Ferry would find no evidence of conspiracy, even as we know that Brown’s backers in Springfield advised him, financed him, armed him. Abraham Lincoln distanced himself, saying that Brown was “insane.” That sort of investigation and rhetoric is fairly standard, then and now: See nothing, know nothing.

The raid on Harpers Ferry is “generally thought” by historians to have set the course towards civil war. It was, however, a small event blown out of proportion by a man who received undue publicity throughout his public life and was never tried for real crimes involving savage murder. We have seen how only one guard was there to protect a huge complex with thousands of weapons on the night of the raid, indicating that it was staged, and that the arsenal was in stand-down mode.

The only images of the Brown execution available are drawings by artists, as seen above. Photography was well-established by that time and daguerreotypes had been around since the 1820s. I opened this piece with one of Brown. I have wondered, in writing this piece, how to handle the matter of his hanging, probably staged. I see it now as quite simple: Journalists sent home, no photographers present, Walt Whitman sent in to write a poem, a wooden box sent back to New York. The best evidence, a body … not available.

The final pages of Wikipedia, regarding John Brown are titled “Viewpoints of Historians.” I’ll pass, thank you.

*And ancestor of modern-day publisher Claire Boothe Luce and wife of British Prime Minister Cherie Booth Blair. The Booth family was and is quite prominent.

 

22 thoughts on “John Brown: agent provocateur

  1. Mark, this is as good as anything Miles has ever done. Thank you. (Moreover, I do enjoy his genealogical work so I am glad to see you dip your toe in here)
    Indeed, I do believe you are standing on a rich vein of research. The stretch of American history from the time Jackson decommissioned the National Bank up to the Civil War is a gold mine. Western expansion provided endless boom and bust cycles. Like the internet in its infancy, the land itself was rife with innovative thinking and co-opting of the viable by the greed heads at the top. Until now, I could still not shake off the false dichotomy of North/South; but like all wars, the Civil War was planned and staged for the usual reasons: Forced immigration and population/cultural replacement. (Drilling it into my brain that Lincoln is just another tool, even if erudite, is the key to getting me off this Aristotelian fallacy of thing/not thing)
    In that era, economic, technological and even medical experimentation was abundant. I suspect slaves, black, white and Indianbetween, were used Mengele-style for medical research. We don’t read about that but I don’t think you can curb mortality rates without a lot of non-consensual trial and error. Medical experiments are “voluntary” in prisons today. Back then, plantations weren’t just for harvesting crops, IMO.
    British intelligence worked through Masonry and its bastard child, Mormonism*, along with what could be seen as a species of economic sanctions through Southern favoritism, to deepen the apparent rift between the resource and manufacturing bases, allowing the Northern control group to restructure the South as a client state. Post war southern men could pick cotton, immigrate North or join the occupying Union Army, and that predation held tight for more than a century after.

    *From this perspective, Joseph Smith’s story is just as ludicrous, including his “death”. Any takers, or is it even necessary at this point?

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate them. I need to ask too, while at it, if your work on Hitler was more than one blog post. I linked it todayon the right hand side, but if there are more than one piece, they are not linked to each other.

      I am betting that from a slave’s perspective, New and Old South were pretty much the same. They were never really the issue anyway. Chomsky drives home the point that plantations were not in any sense humanitarian, happy slaves my ass, and the system of control over slaves … forced breakup of families, selective breeding, no hope nowhere … was as barbaric as any form of human torture ever devised. I probably did not hit that hard enough, as it was not the reason for the war. But the plantation system did give us the NBA and NFL, and if Chris Rock is right, blacks would own the NHL too except for it being played on fucking ice.

      Regarding genealogy, I intend to keep at it and get better. I asked MM while down there how he keeps track of names and connections, and he just kinda shrugged like Joey Votto shrugs if you ask him how he hits home runs … “I just remember.” I will just try to be reasonably competent.

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      1. The Hitler pieces have links at the bottom in blue. I would think that would suffice. Yes/No?
        Rock also noted that black men aren’t all that interested in running up against a white dude in a hockey mask. Jason, was it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I probably did not hit that hard enough, as it was not the reason for the war.

        I see no need for that – there are plenty of Lincoln quotes that prove he gave a f**k about slaves, and went to war for other reasons.
        BTW, I had never heard about this “event” up to now. Still waiting for Hollywood to turn it into a pretty compelling propaganda piece …

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  2. The fact that Hollywood made a movie about John Brown – starring Ray Massey I believe – confirms he was a spook. Like Stephen Fry, when he opens his mouth and denounces something virulently, you know he’s a BS merchant and spook.

    Your Challenger link is dead, you know?

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    1. I had to watch this film in a film genre class in college- Alan Hale got the biggest (unintentional) laugh (of many) when he says: “We’ve been deliverin’ Bibles with triggers on ’em!”

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  3. Great piece. The era is so ripe for the digging. The Civil War/ Reconstruction period seems to be full of contradictions. The savage killing that Brown did is made to seem like it was for the greater good. Which is still the reasoning behind all these current false flags.
    The same families showing up again and again brings more power to the belief that 8-13 families are controlling the world we live in today. Thanks for the fresh take on what’s becoming the same old, same old.

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    1. I see no need to limit the power to 8-13 families. Who are these 8-13 families? In Mathis’s work there are many families that intermarry. Nonetheless I would be interested in these 8-13 families that some consider more important. There are articles on the internet about 13 Illuminati bloodlines. Probably all of the 13 families on this internet list are branches of more ancient families. They probably needed a few branches with new names. So names like Rockefeller or Rothschild were probably invented to give the appearance that new families are in town, when in reality they belong to more ancient families. They have to play the rise and fall game so the average Joe doesn’t know that there are the same families in 1000 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Miles Mathis also stated that the stock market is faked. He does not appear to have any other papers on his website that go any further than just making that assertion. I would like to learn more about that – What should I do with my 401k now?

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        1. Mathis is probably a person that doesn’t care about stock markets. In his paper on Max Keiser he only said that a sane citizen should not play their game (like for example being a day trader). The better word to describe the stock market is probably “manipulated” or “controlled”. On internet there was a graph about how the life of Steve Job influenced the stock price of Apple http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2011/01/18/technology/apple_jobs/apple_stock.top.jpg . You see how hoaxing is connected to the stock price. If you are interested in cryptocurrency see the Death Hoax section on Vitalik Buterin wiki page. Of course the software programs used by the stock exchanges probably have backdoors. Can a day trader keep up with all the booshit in order to make a profit?
          I recommend Brandon Smith from http://www.alt-market.com/ . He is good regarding finance, global economy and geopolitics. He sees beyond East vs West and he is not a Trumptard. He is more like a revisionist, while this blog and Mathis belong in the hyperrevisionism category.
          I don’t think there is a simple answer on what to do with the 401k. You can keep your 401k while still doing other things in order to have a secure future. Diversification is probably a good thing (like gold and silver). Also investing in yourself , starting a business or investing in local real estate can also be a good idea (the number of renters is increasing in many cities). I am not a gold or silver worshiper, but a small amount of gold or silver can be useful as an emergency. Maybe we should also pay attention to automatization, to see what jobs and skills are in danger in order to diversify our skill set. Also beware of economic collapse prophets (i do believe that the dollar will decrease 20-30% in value in the near future).
          To tie all this to 19th century, I recommend the wiki page regarding the Panic of 1825, which is the start of modern economic cycles (according to wiki). A nice hoax that includes the imaginary Latin American country called Poyais. Well, are the stock markets a hoax?

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        2. John, my attitude about the stock market is that it cannot be predicted, so leave it alone. But money in the mattress is self-defeating, as the currency by design loses value every year. (They allow inflation at a managed rate to prevent deflation, always seen as devastating.) Beyond losing value, they can also replace the currency at any time.

          So my attitude is that I am powerless and can only take advantage of those things that are allowed. There are interest-bearing mutual funds out there that yield 2% or more. It is better than seeing your savings shrink. Of course, all the boats in the harbor will sink in a 2007-08-like flood. Like I said, we are powerless.

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      2. Changing names is a staple of these creeps. One reason is to keep the hoi thinking they might have a shot. When I was a kid, the claim that “anyone could become President of the United States” went a long way to convincing us kids that the playing field was level. The Romans played this game with successive “dynasties” but I’ll wager Julio-Claudian, Flavian, Severen and everyone to at least Diocletian was just one clan cluster swapping names with first cousins, nephews/nieces once or twice removed.
        For a more modern example, just look at Windsor and that ilk.

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  4. Great article Mark. You have inspired me to look deeper into Brown’s genealogy. I’m only 4-5 generations into it and have already made many connections. I will complete it tomorrow and share the results with you and your readers. Here are two items that I can share now.

    John Brown’s paternal g-grandmother was Hannah Higley (married to an Owen.) He also had a maternal g-grandmother named Elizabeth Higley (married to a Mills.) And yes, Hannah and Elizabeth were sisters, both children of Brewster Higley and Esther Holcombe. Seeing that kind of cross/in-breeding is rare indeed. Esther Holcombe descends from the Courtenays, Earls of Devon and the Barons of Hungerford. Brewster Higley ran away from home only to land in the lap of the wealthy Drake family, eventually marrying their daughter, and you know the rest. Brewster descends from Mayflower passenger William Brewster who entered the service of William Davison. Davison was secretary to Queen Elizabeth I and played a key role in the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    Fun Fact: Brewster Higley VI wrote a poem that eventually became the lyrics to the song “Home on the Range.” Because Higley wrote “The Western Home” while living in Smith County, Kansas, and because Kansans felt it described their state very well, the Kansas legislature voted to make “Home on the Range” the official state song on April 8, 1947. Higley was a doctor who specialized in ear, nose, and throat. His first wife died from “disease.” His second wife “ran away.” His third wife was “injured and died.” He ran away from his fourth wife. His fifth wife had the pleasure to watch him die at the age of 88 in 1911.

    The second item concerns the name, Douglass (with the double S.) Our communication that you referenced earlier was in regards to my profile of Kingman Douglass, former CIA director and husband of Fred Astaire’s sister Adele. You may recall that Adele was previously married to a Cavendish and lived in a castle. Well, John Brown was directly related to Kingman Douglass through Anthony Hoskins (1632-1706) and Isabel Browne (1636-1698), i.e. they share the same g-grandparents.

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      1. That’s probably a good idea. It could get lengthy.

        Just to follow up on Adele Astaire Cavendish Douglass, this is from Vanityfair.com:
        Shortly after the birth of Caroline, when Jackie (Kennedy) was 28 and (Rachel) Bunny (Mellon) was 46, they were introduced over tea by their mutual friend Adele Douglas(s), the sister of Fred Astaire and the wife of Kingman Douglas(s), who owned an estate next to the Mellons’.
        J.F.K. liked to visit the Mellons and Adele Astaire Douglas(s), but otherwise he spent his time taking long naps and playing backgammon with Lem Billings, who came along most weekends to keep him company. The two old friends would often escape boredom by driving around the countryside to look at old houses and check out where various people lived.

        Mathis outed Lem Billings as JFK’s gay lover. JFK’s sister Kathleen married the eldest son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, and bore the title Marchioness of Hartington. She is buried in the Cavendish family plot.

        Of course, James F. Douglass’ history is scrubbed to avoid these connections. Among many others, to be sure.

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  5. I’m reminded of a song by a band called “Masters of Reality”. It’s called John Brown and the lyrics go thus:

    John Brown bring him down
    Pull his body to the ground
    Left him up for long enough
    Let me be the baby gruff
    John Brown bring him down
    Pull his body to the ground

    John Brown bring him down
    Pull his body to the ground
    Left him up for long enough
    Let me be the baby gruff
    The goat he ran, the goat he hid
    Left to Billy, walk the bridge
    John Brown bring him down
    Pull his body to the ground

    Holiday, holiday
    I declare a holiday
    Holiday, holiday
    No matter what the doctors say
    Holiday, holiday
    We pull John down at noon today
    Tomorrow day, nothing rings
    Nothing brings and nothing rings

    The song references the folk tale known as “Billy Goat Gruff” or “The Three Goats” etc. In those stories it is always the “baby gruff” or baby goat who tricks the Wolf/Troll/whatever into not devouring him, but rather waiting until the next (scape)goat comes along. The song implies that the goat “ran, the goat he hid”, though I can find no form of the folk tale in which any of the goats run away or attempt to hide. The song’s author also makes a plea to “let ME be the baby gruff”, i.e. he wishes to be the one who distracts the wolf/troll’s attention to the next (scape)goat in line.

    The reference to “tomorrow day, nothing rings”, coming as it does on the heels of the lines about John Brown’s body, would appear to me to be referencing the “death knell”, i.e. the church bells that would ring after someone had died. If no bells are ringing on the day after Brown’s body is removed from the scaffolding then I can only conclude there was no death, hence no need for a “death knell.”

    “No matter what the doctors say” could reference that same fact, i.e. that Brown didn’t die. But even though the doc says he ain’t dead, and there certainly won’t be any church bells ringing tomorrow, still we’ll declare it a “holy-day”.

    As an aside the songwriter’s name is Christopher Ryan Goss. He’s perhaps best known as a producer, but has also fronted the band Masters of Reality for several decades now. Goss as a surname appears identical to Gosse, Gose, Goose, perhaps Gosling. (For that matter you can permute Goss into Hoss, Hess, Kess/Kesse, and many more. Then there’s the “geas”, which is a sort of obligation or vow, sometimes an outright curse, put upon someone to ensure loyalty to a cause or person and so on.) Whether he’s related to, say, Porter Goss of the CIA, or Ryan Gosling, etc., I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me. One commonly repeated tale of the coming of the Gosse family to America has them arriving as 3 (or 4, or 5) brothers, all “trip trapping” across the Atlantic as it were.

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  6. Thank you, Mark. I enjoyed reading that.

    I’d never heard of Harper’s Ferry, so I looked for it on Google Maps. It’s just across the river from Sandy Hook, is that correct? What a coincidence. Another thing struct me was that it seems a very un-military position. A commanding narrow strip of low-lying ground, dominating the surrounded steeply sided wooded hills. Did I read that it changed hands eight times during the civil war? Odd.

    Another thing from your article was the link to Thoreau. Ouch. Another one falls.

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