This post was co-authored by Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer, Legal Reference Specialists.
December 2nd marked the 154th anniversary of the execution of John Brown, an act which transformed John Brown into a martyr for the abolitionist movement and further inflamed the sectional tensions that would ignite the Civil War. We previously featured the Jefferson County, West Virginia Courthouse , where John Brown was tried and convicted for murder, inciting slaves to rebel, and treason, as our picture of the week. After the trial, John Brown was returned to the Jefferson County Jail, where he awaited execution. On December 2, 1859, this light freight wagon, owned by George W. Sadler, a local undertaker, as well as a furniture and coffin maker, arrived at the jail to transport John Brown to the gallows. Four days after the execution, the Staunton Spectator reported:
“At the door of the jail an open wagon with a pine box, in which was a fine oak coffin, was waiting for him [Brown]. He looked around and spoke to several persons whom he recognized, and walking down the steps, was assisted to enter the wagon, and he took his seat on the box containing his coffin along with Jailor Avis.”
The John Brown Wagon [Photo by Robert Brammer]
Inside the John Brown Wagon [Photo by Robert Brammer]
This wagon also carried seven of the other survivors of the raid on Harper’s Ferry to the gallows. The wagon changed hands several times over the course of the next century, before finding a permanent home in the Jefferson County, West Virginia Museum
. The museum features several other artifacts related to John Brown, including the Bible owned by Andrew Hunter, the attorney who prosecuted Brown on behalf of the state.
 Staunton Spectator (Dec. 6, 1859), as cited in P. Douglas Perks, “The old wagon will make a fine exhibit…,” 75 Magazine of the Jefferson County Historical Society 114 (Oct. 2009).
After a few months hiatus, I am bringing back my Global Legal Monitor (GLM) updates post, the Global Legal Monitor: Highlights. What I usually do with this post is provide a list of interesting GLM articles that attracted a higher number of readers within a month of their publication. I also often highlight a few additional GLM […]
I’m betting at least a few of our readers braved the Black Friday shopping crowds to get their hands on particular products at bargain prices. You may have even ventured out to shop on Thanksgiving Thursday, with a number of stores deciding to open much earlier than in previous years. Of course, as was widely […]
The following is a guest post by Tammie Nelson, project manager of Congress.gov and an Information Technology Specialist at the Library of Congress. Ever since I have been working at the Library of Congress, I have made it a practice to find and photograph the national library when I visit a new country. Judging by many of the Pics of […]
The following is a guest post by Jennifer Gonzalez, a Digital Library Technician in the Law Library’s Digital Resources Division. In celebration of Native American History Month, we have just added 428 Native American documents containing constitutions, charters, and acts from the years 1830 to 1960 to Law.gov. The collection contains two types of material: constitutions […]
This week’s interview is with Jennifer Gonzalez, a digital library technician in the Law Library’s new Digital Resources Division. Jennifer is helping to review our content and serves as a web editor. Describe your background I am a Floridian, born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Florida with my two younger sisters. My family still lives in Florida, […]
The handling and adjudication of sexual offenses in the military have drawn much public and Congressional interest in recent months following the disclosure of several high profile cases involving allegations of sexual assault by U.S. service members. Several proposals for reforming the way such allegations are handled within the U.S. military justice system have been […]
The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, a Senior Legal Information Analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Some of Dante’s recent posts include Resources and Treasures of the Italian Parliamentary Libraries, The Italian Legislature and Legislative Process: A Recent Institution in an Ancient Legal System, and A Fresh Update on the Canonical […]
Each year the Law Library of Congress celebrates Human Rights Day with a panel discussion focusing on an aspect of human rights. This year’s program will focus on refugee rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted and proclaimed in Paris, France, on December 10, 1948. The UDHR was designed to provide a […]
The following is a guest post by Peter Roudik, Director of the Global Legal Research Center at the Law Library of Congress and a foreign law specialist covering Russia and former Soviet Union jurisdictions. In a recent interview with NPR, the Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington said that “the assassination of President Kennedy […]