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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


On a warm spring day in 1859, Rebecca Harding saw a gaunt man walking down a street in Wheeling, his eyes fixed and lips moving, she noted, like a man under the influence of morphia.

He was a poor farmer from the west, Harding wrote in her diary, who is insane on the question of slavery. A few days later, the man left town heading east.

He had roamed through six states, failed as a cattleman, merchant and land speculator, fathered twenty children and fallen deeply into debt. Yet Brown felt God had given him a special mission.

Dennis Frye: John Brown came to Harpers Ferry because of the United States armory and arsenal. There were 100,000 weapons stored in two arsenal buildings here at Harpers Ferry. Brown intended to utilize those weapons to bring about an end to slavery throughout the south, and Harpers Ferry would be the beginning of that liberation.

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