Historical Markers
John Brown Raid Historical Marker
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John Brown Raid

Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
PA 233, 1 mile E of Mont Alto

Dedication Date:
June 11, 1947

Behind the Marker

John Brown was a mastermind when it came to recruiting young men like John Cook for his campaigns against slavery. And Brown maintained his followers' allegiance by organizing them in military fashion, even assigning them titles like "Captain."
U.S. Marines stormed the engine house where John Brown and his followers were barricaded with their hostages. Brown was captured and ultimately executed for treason.
U.S. Marines stormed the engine house where John Brown and his followers were...

"Captain" Cook was born in Connecticut in 1830 and had studied law in New York. A "good marksman," Cook went to Kansas in 1855, and fought in the bloody antislavery struggles. In 1858, Brown sent Cook to scout out terrain in Harpers Ferry in preparation for the raid on the arsenal. While there, Cook became familiar with both slaves and citizens in the town, including Mary V. Kennedy, whom he married in April 1859, a few months before the raid.

Seven out of Brown's twenty-two followers, including "Captain" Cook, managed to escape from Harpers Ferry on the night of the attack. While many local citizens sympathized with Brown, area slavecatchers and others, enticed by rewards, kept watch on the countryside and eventually captured Cook while he was searching for food. In the days before his own execution, Cook provided a confession that described the preparations for the raid and accused Frederick Douglass of cowardice for failing to support Brown.

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