Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926) to Alexander M. Ross
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03007.30
Author/Creator: Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926)
Place Written: Petrolia, California
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 19 February 1892
Pagination: 4 p. ; 20.5 x 13 cm.
Summary of Content: Hopes to unmask a man pretending to have been at Harpers Ferry with John Brown. ”It is my wish that you publish this Richard W. Howard, who claims to have been with John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, as a fraud and a humbug. It is evident that he intends to make a money making scheme out of this, by exhibiting himself as a last survivor. I think he ought to be ’nipped in the bud’ before he has time to blossom into a full blown impostor.” Sent in response to an article in the Chicago Tribune Ross sent her about Howard. Wants to prove this man was never at Harpers Ferry. She is ”certain that he was not there.” Admits impostors are common. ”The number of men who claim to have slept with John Brown the last night he was in Kansas are so numerous, that I have often wondered how wide that wonderful bed was.”
Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900
Full Transcript: Humboldt Co., Petrolia, Cal. Feby 19th 1982., , Dr. A.M. Ross, I have just recieved your note of Feby 10th with the enclosed clipping from the Chicago Tribune, and wish to say in reply, that it is my wish, that you publish this Richard W. Howard, who claims to have been with John Brown at Harpers Ferry, as a fraud and a humbug. It is evident that he intends to make a money making scheme out of this by exhibiting himself as a last survivor., Francis J. Merriam, and two colored men named Copeland and Leary, were the only men that went down to the Kennedy Farm  after I left, and I have seen every man, including Merriam, who escaped, since that affair. It is not possible for me to be mistaken in this matter, as I knew all the men except the three mentioned, gave them their meals and conversed with [inserted: them] every day, after their arrival., This man seems to have studied his lesson well, but neglected to make the acquaintance of the housekeepers at Kennedy Farm, one of them still survives, and is certain that he was not there., The number of men who claims to have slept with John Brown the last night he was in Kansas, are so numerous, that I have often wondered how wide that wonderful bed was.,  I have had men tell me that they used to know me, when I was a little girl in Kansas. I always reply that ”I do not doubt it, as I never was there.”, I saw in the papers that the Engine House at Harpers Ferry was going to be removed to Chicago, to be on exhibition at the World’s Fair. If that is so that may have been what induced this man to put forward his claim as a ”survivor.” I think he ought to be ”nipped in the bud” before he has time to blossom into a full blown impostor., As ever your friend, Annie Brown Adams, ,  P.S. I wrote you a short time since hope you recievd my letter., Feby 26th, Since writing this, I have recieved your of Feby 7th. I have been obliged to keep this letter on account of the high water since the last storm. The mailrider goes up [inserted: on the other side of] the river on a trail, and we are cut off for the time. I shall be able to send it off in a few days.
Keywords/Subjects: African American History;, John Brown;, Abolition;, Slavery;, Woman Author;, Women’s History;, Forgery and Fraud;
Background: Anne Brown Adams was the daughter of John Brown., Alexander M. Ross was a famous Canadian naturalist, also a prominent abolitionist and a strong supporter of John Brown.Order Image