Image Collection at the Charles Town Courthouse

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Southern Unionist

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These framed eyewitness drawings hang in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town, WV (formerly VA), the site of John Brown's trial, depicting that trial and subsequent execution. Sorry about the glare; I did what I could to minimize it.

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Jefferson County Courthouse as it appears today, rebuilt after war damage:

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luinrina

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Thanks for sharing! You did good with minimizing the glare. And I think I recognize (future Stonewall) Jackson in the first picture of the hanging.

Do you mean with "eyewitness" that they hang at the courthouse during the Civil War? Or are you refering to the fact that an eyewitness of the trial and execution drew them?
 
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Southern Unionist

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Do you mean with "eyewitness" that they hang at the courthouse during the Civil War? Or are you referring to the fact that an eyewitness of the trial and execution drew them?
They're supposed to be accurate, though of course there's no way to prove that.

I thought it was interesting that John Brown had to be carried into court, being too ill to walk or even sit upright during his trial.
 
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I thought it was interesting that John Brown had to be carried into court, being too ill to walk or even sit upright during his trial.
That was what caught my eye also. I did know that Brown had been wounded during his capture, but I did not know that he actually attended his trial on a cot! This Wikipedia article says he had asked for a delay of the trial to recover more from his wounds, but his request was denied.
Probably (my own personal opinion) because it was feared that Brown, when in full command of his rhetoric skills, would have caused some change of opinion in the audience.

I think I recognize (future Stonewall) Jackson in the first picture of the hanging.
Wow, I did not! I have to admit I did not even know he was present at the hanging. But yes, he was, along with John Wilkes Booth (as per the above linked Wikipedia article)! Which one is he in the picture?
Does anyone know if JEB Stuart was present at the hanging also? He played a major role in the capture and now I thought maybe he was one of the mounted guards on the right side of the first picture?

Great thread, @Southern Unionist!!
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is proven here again. I think we all have read enough about John Brown, his capture, trial and hanging, but only now I literally "got an image" of what happened!
 

DBF

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He may have been on a cot - but he was able to deliver a statement at the end of his trial.

"I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say. In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted, of a design on my part to free slaves. I intended certainly to have made a clean thing of the matter, as I did last winter when I went into Missouri, and there took slaves without the snapping of a gun on either side, moving them through the country, and finally leaving them in Canada. I designed to have done the same thing again on a larger scale. That was all I intended to do.

I never did intend murder or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite the slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrection. I have another objection, and that is that it is unjust that I should suffer such a penalty. Had I interfered in the manner which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved - for I admire the truthfulness and candor of the greater portion of the witnesses who have testified in this case - had I so interfered on behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, the so-called great, or in behalf of any of their friends, either father, mother, brother, sister, wife, or children, or any of that class, and suffered and sacrificed what I have in this interference, it would have been all right, and every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.

This Court acknowledges, too, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed, which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act upon that instruction. I say I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done on behalf of His despised poor, os no wrong, but right.

Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I say let it be done.

Let me say one word further. I feel entirely satisfied with the treatment I have received on my trial. Considering all the circumstances, it has been more generous than I expected. But I feel no consciousness of guilt. I have stated from the first what was my intention, and what was not. I never had any design against the liberty of any person, nor any disposition to commit treason or excite slaves to rebel or make any general insurrection. I never encouraged any man to do so, but always discouraged any idea of the kind.

Let me say also in regard to the statements made by some of those who were connected with me, I fear it has been stated by some of them that I have induced them to join me, but the contrary is true. I do not say this to injure them, but as regretting their weakness. Not one but joined me of his own accord, and the greater part at their own expense. A number of them I never saw, and never had a word of conversation with till the day they came to me, and that was for the purpose I have stated. Now, I am done.

While Mr. Brown was speaking, perfect quiet prevailed, and when he had finished the Judge proceeded to pronounce sentence upon him. After a few preliminary remarks, he said, that no reasonable doubt could exist of the guilt of the prisoner, and sentenced him to be hung in public, on Friday the 2d of December next.


Mr. Brown received the sentence with composure.”

The illustrations give a solemnity to the entire trial. Thank you for posting.
http://www.wvculture.org/history/jbexhibit/dewitt55.html
 
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luinrina

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Wow, I did not! I have to admit I did not even know he was present at the hanging. But yes, he was, along with John Wilkes Booth (as per the above linked Wikipedia article)! Which one is he in the picture?
Do you see the row of men on horses in the right middle of the picture? I think Stonewall is the lefternmost man. The beard looks like Jackson's, though the hat does not. :laugh:

Does anyone know if JEB Stuart was present at the hanging also? He played a major role in the capture and now I thought maybe he was one of the mounted guards on the right side of the first picture?
I don't think he was. From what I remember reading he wasn't mentioned, though I could of course be mistaken.
 

Tom Elmore

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Some recollections of Charles Town in summer 1863:

-Hundreds of lovely women greeted us with waving handkerchiefs, with abundance of meat, bread, buttermilk, cakes, custards, etc. (Reminiscence of Chaplain Charles H. Dobbs, 12th Mississippi)

-Place made famous by the hanging of John Brown. (Diary of G. W. Bynum, Company A, 2nd Mississippi)

-Quite pretty, the ladies turned out in large numbers to see us. I scarcely ever before heard such cheering as the boys gave. (War Talks of George S. Bernard, 12th Virginia)

-11 a.m., June 23, just passed Charleston [sic] and met such a hearty reception by the ladies and citizens of the place that we felt very much cheered. Flags waved from every window nearly and the ladies turned out in mass to salute us; provisions, tacks, and bouquets were distributed in great profusion. (Letter of Joel Blake, Company K, 5th Florida)

Fall of 1863:

-Courthouse, jail and other buildings in the center of town, all loop-holed for musketry – defended by the Federals in October 1863. Major Locke, Imboden’s Commissary, had his residence in Charles Town. (Four Valiant Years in the Lower Shenandoah Valley, by Laura V. Hale)
 

Stone in the wall

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The VMI website is a good place for anyone looking for more information about this. To put a little color into John Brown, here is part of what Jackson wrote Dec 2nd 1859. "He was dressed in carpet slippers, predominating red, white socks, black pants, black frock coat, black vest, and black slouch hat. Nothing around his neck besides his shirt collar." William Gilham commanded the 64 cadets ,Jackson was in charge off 21 of these cadets and the 2 howitzers.
 
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I don't think he was. From what I remember reading he wasn't mentioned,
I did not find any mention of JEB Stuart either, but this gentleman here reminded me of him (hat and beard):

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The horse seems to be a dapple grey though, while JEB Stuart's horse "Highfly" was a bay, as I have learned here:

 
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Eleanor Rose

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A block up the street is the Jefferson County Museum.
What about Beall-Air, also known as the Colonel Lewis William Washington House. I know it was the home of a great-great nephew of George Washington who was held hostage in John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. I'd love to see it, but I think I read that it's now part of a gated community.
 

JPChurch

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Turner Productions filmed the trial of Brown in the courthouse for "Gods and Generals." The clerks in the treasure's office (where you get your hunting/fishing licenses, pay property taxes, etc) told me all about it one afternoon. I was in there to get my out of state fishing license after the filming I took part in. Too bad all of that wound up on the cutting room floor. There's a really neat map of Jefferson county in the clerks office dated about 1870's. It's huge and worth looking at. So is the original courtroom that's been preserved.
 
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