How many people went to see Brown executed?

John Brown’s Martyrdom Read more from
Chapter Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

Something in the neighborhood of two thousand, but virtually none of them were casual onlookers. Fearing a rescue attempt would be made, the Commonwealth of Virginia had militia regiments from all over the state on the scene.

Brown was taken from his jail and led to a wagon on which there was a coffin (he rode on the coffin on the fifteen-minute ride). Arriving at the place for his execution, Brown exchanged heartfelt goodbyes with Captain John Avis, who had been his jailer. Brown handed Avis a note that read: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much blood shed, it might be done.” Minutes later, Brown was led to the gallows and hanged.


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