John Brown's Hanging - Henry S. Olcott - New York Tribune
Petersburg, Va., Nov. 27, 1859
"As the second of December approaches, the excitement relative to the execution of Old Brown increases in this usually torpid town. A deeply-settled feeling of rancor and bitter hate against the North has taken possession of the community - a feeling which you may readily imagine is not lessened by the ridicule showered upon Virginian chivalry by the Northern press. There seems to be a firm belief that on the day of execution an attempt at rescue will be made, and the more excitable ones believe a terrible and protracted civil war will be the result. "
John Brown's Remains
The mortal remains of John Brown were brought to this city on the Amboy boat, on Saturday evening, in the charge of J. Miller McKim, esq., of Philadelphia, one of the gentlemen who accompanied Mrs. Brown to Harper's Ferry for the purpose of receiving them from the authorities of Virginia. The intention, at first, was to stop over Sunday in Philadelphia, partly that the body might, as soon as possible, receive the attention of an undertaker, and partly that Mrs. Brown might have opportunity for rest, after the terrible ordeal through which she had passed; but the prospect of the body's approach produced such an excitement in that city - an excitement of enthusiasm among his admirers, and of curiosity on the part of the people generally - that the Mayor believed it would be impossible if the body should remain, to preserve that order which the decencies of the occasion and a proper regard for the feelings of the afflicted window required, and therefore be peremptorily insisted that another stopping-place should be selected.
He Make No Speech; He Dies Easy; The Body Hangs Half an Hour; Brown Firm and Dignified to the Last
Charlestown, Va., Wesneday, Nov. 30, 1856.The GallowsThis instrument of death has been constructed, but will not be erected on the place of execution until Friday morning. For the present, it stands in the enclosure of the new Baptist Church. It is made according to the ordinary pattern, with uprights, a cross-beam and trap. It is continually visited by large crowds, and every person seems anxious to procure at least a splinter of wood for remembrance. The loose chips were long ago exhausted, and I saw this morning all sorts of knives used to separate fragments.
Further Interesting Incidents of the Execution
The sun arose clear and bright, but was presently lost behind a haze which I thought augured badly for the day. By 9 o'clock, however, almost the entire expanse of the blue heavens was free of clouds and the thermometer stood so high that, until late in the afternoon, the windows of houses were open, and all the world were sitting on their porches or promenading the streets. I walked out to the field of execution at an early hour to watch all the preliminaries, and secure a good a place as the fears of the military authorities would accord to a...citizen from the North.