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John Brown

John Brown in Linn County

In the fall of 1858, John Brown appeared upon the scene of Linn County. He had been invited into the county by Agustus Wattles to assist in fighting the Pro-slavery men. Mr. Wattles had known the old man in Douglas county.

Mr. Wattles introduced Brown to his friends and others as “Shubel Morgan” and it was by that name that Brown was generally known while he was operating against slave holders and other Pro-slavery men with Linn County as his base of operations. Only a few of his friends knew that is was Old John Brown. His personal safety required that he should conceal his identity and often times his whereabouts.

While in Linn County, Brown usually made his headquarters at Mr. Wattle’s house (an old stone house two miles north of Mound City) here as elsewhere was followed by a few men on whom he could depend.

On the 20th of December, Brown’s men in two parties, one under his own command, and the other under command of J. K. Kagi, went into Missouri to liberate slaves. Brown’s party liberated ten slaves and returned. Kagi’s party liberated one slave and killed the owner, a German who could neither understand nor speak English.

While these eleven slaves were secreted in an old cabin, John Brown, in the Wattles’ house wrote his famous “Parallels,” dating them at Trading Post, the purpose of shielding from suspicion his friends were assisting him to secrete the fugitives.

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