Saturday, November 7, 2009

John Brown's Body...

John Brown's Tannery image from Explore PA History

In Crawford County, John Brown ran a farm and tannery in New Richmond, about a dozen miles from Meadville, from 1825 to 1835. Indeed, he spent more time in New Richmond than any other place during his adult life.

It was also, as you might surmise, a major stop of the Underground Railroad, passing some 2,500 slaves through it's hidden room.

After some early success, the business eventually failed and John Brown moved on to Ohio, then New York, and marched on into history. But his body doesn't lie mouldering in the grave, according to some reports.

A tall, strapping man that many believe is John Brown has been allegedly seen here, although his spook is more commonly associated with Harper's Ferry.

It's debated whether he's returning to the place where he knew peace, or if he's drawn to the site because it's where his first wife, Dianthe, and two children are buried. In fact, one visitor claims to have a photo of Brown with his wife and kids at the small graveyard.

There's also the spirit of a black man seen at dusk and dawn, perhaps one of the escaped slaves. Voices have been heard, and there's a cemetery on the property that may be the final resting spot for the bodies of slaves, workers, family, even soldiers; no one's exactly sure who all reside there.

The place is a museum now, offering historical displays and tours. And who knows what piece of history you may run across there? Haunted Pennsylvania by Patty Wilson & Mark Nesbitt briefly covers the Tannery's spooks.

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