Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926) to Alexander M. Ross
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03007.23
Author/Creator: Adams, Anne Brown (1843-1926)
Place Written: Petrolia, California
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 2 April 1889
Pagination: 8 p. ; 20.5 x 13 cm.
Summary of Content: Intends to send him all of her recollections regarding Kennedy Farm and preparations for Harpers Ferry Raid, and gives a biography of John E. Cook, one of the raiders. Discusses Cook’s upbringing, his marriage, and an affair he had. Tells how Stevens’ fiance broke off their engagement hours before he was hung. Upset by comments against her father. Opposed to vaccination of her children. Recipient inferred from content.
Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900
Full Transcript: Petrolia, Cal. Apr. 2nd 1889., , My Dear Friend, I received your letter of Feby. 26th the last of March, owing to the storms and high water, we had not been to the Post Office for a month, and the last mail we had before that, for a long time, was brought to us by a neighbor. We shall not be shut in so again, probably this year. , The children send thanks for the books and papers so kindly sent by you. They were very much interested in the snow pictures, as snow only falls here occasionally and then does not stay longer than a few hours, making snow and ice pictures a great curiosity to them. And also much  pleased with the spring flower pictures too. The [fruit] trees are now loaded with lovely sweet scented blossoms, and the woods and green hillsides are covered with spring flowers, which the little ones gather and bring in by the armsful, they are so greedy and love them so well. , The ”Chatterbox” is a great treat to all, from the eldest down to the baby. , I shall divide my ”opinions” of some of the men at Kennedy Farm, and what I write in my letters to you are private, not intended for any public use. If at any future time, any historian or writer for publication, should wish to make any use of any things that I may have written, I will here say that it has all been written under great disadvantage for lack of [inserted: leisure] time and quiet. And that [struck: at] sometimes I can remember things more vividly  than at others, even to the minutest details, so if they compare what has been written for Mr. Sanborn, or the Kansas Historical Society, there may appear to be a seeming difference, owing to my moods or feelings at the time of writing. I would also beg of them to be as charitable in their criticisms as possible., I intended to have written it all on the same kind of paper, but as I have exhausted that [inserted: I commenced with] and it is now impossible to procure any more like it at present, I shall be obliged to use what I have on hand. , I will give you some facts concerning John E. Cook and leave you to judge him as you please. He was warm hearted, generous and impulsive in the extreme, bred in fashionable society in New York City. Brave and fond of adventure, He for some reason went to Kansas, where he joined the  Free state men soul and body, joining father. (He went to Harper’s Ferry (When the rest gave it up and scattered the year before on account of the Forbes exposur), where he engage in schoolteaching and writing for magazines, poetry and light literature. While there he was tempted like many another and went astray with the daughter of the woman he boarded with. He finally married her, and a little son was born shortly after. She was coarse, lowbred, and in every sense an unfit companion for him. He taught her to read and write, and always treated [inserted: her] with the utmost kindness, sent her to a place of safety, at Chambersburg, and after he was taken prisoner, begged of his rich fashionable sisters to take her and the child and care for them for his sake., When he left Iowa for Harper’s Ferry he was [inserted: supposed to be] engaged to a pretty little Quaker girl at Springdale. As she had not heard from him for a long time, she sent her picture to him by Charles. P. Tidd but he, finding that Cook was married concluded  to not give it to him. One day when Cook was visiting at Kennedy farm house he was looking at some things in Tidd’s writing desk and found the picture. He looked at it then bowed his head over it and [inserted: for a long time] the tears trickled through his fingers. He finally put the picture back in the writing desk, but never said a word to any of us concerning it. The original of the picture has long since forgiven him, she assures me. Did he do a better and a braver thing than most young men, and men that the world calls great and good even, in trying to repair the wrong he had done? by marrying the woman he had wronged most? This was what father and all of us had against Cook. And it is the only thing to which any disgrace is attached in connection with that affair., Stevens also had an unfortunate love affair. But there was no disgrace attached to it [inserted: on his part]. Jennie Dunbar  who went down and plead for his life, of Gov. Wise, was engaged to him and he loved her as a noble man would, with his whole soul. She told me at North Elba, that she changed her mind, and concluded they were not ”affinities,” and so when she visited him in jail, twenty four hours before his death, she broke the engagement, claiming that she was too truthful and good to decieve him. She could hurt a man who was about to die - and such a death, by breaking the engagement that death would release her from in so few hours! The heartless creature! She seemed to be trying to make a ”charm string” of mens hearts,” the last I saw of her, she had several married men perfectly infatuated with her, and was working hard to make other conquests. One young man  went insane because of her breaking an engagement (”after changing her mind,”) with him., Of the age, birthplaces, or past life of the men, I know very little, as I never was in the habit of asking such questions of people. If I have made any mistakes in any statements of this nature in regard to any of them I am ready to be corrected. , I was very indignant about a description of the men given by a colored woman in Chicago, in which she said ”they were a bloodthirsty looking lot” I think I never saw a better looking (in all respects) lot of men gathered together. They impressed me as person who ”had left all and followed Him.”, You will see by the enclosed slip that our free State (?) has passed the Compulsory Vaccination Act, my children are not attending  school at present, the school house is on the opposite side of the river and the water is too high to ford yet so I am teaching them myself. That with all my other duties keeps me very busy. If the trustees [inserted: here] insist on enforcing the law, my children will be barred out of school, as I cannot afford to send them to a private school., June 9th , I have tried for a long time to get time to finish this long delayed letter, but have been so busy by day and tired at night that I kept postponing it, and trust you will pardon me. My two oldest girls are absent from home so my time is more than occupied at present, if that is not an impossibility. , With many thanks for your kindness and love to your family , I am as ever your friend, Annie Brown Adams
Keywords/Subjects: African American History;, John Brown;, Abolition;, Slavery;, Woman Author;, Women’s History;, Literature and Language Arts;, Marriage;, Death;, Death Penalty;, Children and Family;, Health and Medical;, Disease;
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