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John Brown Receipt

John  Brown receipt

Famed abolitionist John Brown wrote this receipt for horses he sold after taking them from proslavery men in Kansas.

". . .the stalion horse. . .was taken near Fort Scott in Kansas. . .he was my riding horse."--John Brown, March 1959

Abolitionist John Brown was in Kansas with family members intermittently from October 1855 to January 1859. During this time, Brown became known across the nation for his violent opposition to slavery.

After pro-slavery forces sacked the city of Lawrence in May 1856, he and his followers sought revenge. They murdered and mutilated five proslavery men on Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County. This action, called the Pottawatomie Massacre, earned national recognition for Brown, and motivated his further efforts.

Late in January 1859, Brown left Kansas and headed east to continue his campaign. He arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, in mid-March. Ignoring a $250 bounty for his arrest, Brown boldly gave a public speech detailing his time in Kansas. He defended the stealing of Missouri slaves, along with two horses and a mule. Brown then auctioned the animals at the City Hotel stables and claimed they had been "converted" to his abolitionist beliefs.

Cleveland: Ohio. 24th, March: 1859.
I hereby certify that the stalion horse I have this day sold to Mr A K Lindsley of Cleveland was taken near Fort Scott in Kansas about the middle of Nov 1858 during the border troubles of the last Fall, & Winter: & think that the same was considered to be a horse of great value: & further that he was my riding horse throughout my entire movements in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska; & Iowa.

John Brown

A. K. Lindsley, the man who bought Brown's horse, was the grandfather of Herbert Lindsley who served as president of the Kansas Historical Society in 1934. A. K.'s great-grandson, Tom, donated the receipt to the Historical Society in 2006.

Entry: John Brown Receipt

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: March 2006

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.