Dorset, As[h]tabula Co., Ohio: March 26, 1860.
Unbound. Three pages (three sides of a four-page bifolium). Old folds from mailing else very near fine. Approximately 300 words written in ink in a clear, legible hand. The fourth page has an additional pencil note from Brown's traveling companion, the journalist James Redpath: "Love to all. Ever & truly Jas. Redpath." John Brown, Jr. (1821-1895) was the son of abolitionist John Brown, and essentially assumed his place at the head of the Brown family after Brown was executed. He was a member of the Kansas State Legislature beginning in 1856 and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. This letter was written just about three months after his father was convicted of murder, conspiracy, and treason, and hung at Charles Town, [West] Virginia. Brown writes to his family:
"Dear Sister Ruth, Mother, Brothers Sisters Cousins, I have yours informing me of the death of our dear sister Martha. My heart bleeds... you say she was something of a believer in Spiritualism... if to believe that death is but a stepping stone to a higher mode of existence--that we take with us to that state of being all that we are now... ." He goes on to describe at length the limits of his belief in spiritualism.
Brown notes that Mr. Redpath, Barclay Coppoc, and his brother Owen are with him. Barclay Coppoc (or Coppock) was a Quaker abolitionist who had a falling out with the Quakers over his militance, and a member of John Brown's party. James Redpath (1833-1891) was a journalist, editor of the *New York Tribune* at age 19, and a staunch abolitionist. "Mr. Redpath says there has been some talk of our folks moving from North Elba [a black community founded on land donated by the anti-slavery campaigner, Gerrit Smith] and establishing somewhere in the vicinity of Worcester, Mass. I do hope not... the family would be forced into a class of society, which in a pecuniary respect at least they could not stand with as equals... our family were not made to shine in the drawing-rooms of wealth and distinction—the wild and rugged 'Adirondacs' with their pure air, clear streams, and placid lakes constitute our most natural surroundings... ." A fine letter revealing of John Brown, Jr.'s personality and character, written shortly after the death of his father.