John Brown in Canada

James Cleland Hamilton wrote a monograph in 1894 for the Canadian Magazine. This account of John Brown’s Canadian activities contains some interesting sections that relate to the story I recount in my book, John Brown and The Last Train. John Brown had 2 men who accompanied him on this entire trip, that are known. One is John Kagi and the other is Aaron Stevens. Stevens was to be captured at Harpers Ferry and executed shortly after John Brown. Stevens admitted that it was he who killed David Cruise, a Missouri slave master who resisted his efforts to liberate Cruise’s slave woman, Jane, at the beginning of Brown’s famous trip to Canada.   Following is Mr. Hamilton’s description of Aaron Stevens:

Aaron Dwight Stevens had been a subaltern in the United States army, when an officer unjustly treated a private, and was about to punish him cruelly. Stevens witnessing this, became indignant, knocked the officer down and deserted from Fort Leavenworth. He changed his name to conceal his identity, and when with Brown, was known as Charles Whipple. He was a native of Connecticut,his great grandfather was a revolutionary officer, and his grandfather served in the war of 1812. He fought gallantly in the Mexican war, and afterwards helped to keep the Navajo and Apache Indians in check. When he deserted, he, for a time, concealed himself among the Delawares on the Kaw River, then joined the Free Soil men in Kansas under his assumed name. He stood six feet two inches in his stockings, and was well proportioned. His eye was restless and brilliant. His qualities were soldierly, and he would have won fame under happier auspices.”  James Cleland Hamilton


1 thought on “John Brown in Canada”

  1. Kagi and Whipple and George Gill were most often hanging out in the Topeka area. Either at Owens /Packard or Sheridan (John BROWN cabin in Highland Park. Whipple headed militia (local) Kagi in Constition Hall ,associated with news paper. He wrote for New York paper. News from Kansas. Boarded at Owens between trips to Canada. Would be great to connect dots.

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