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John Brown was born in Torrington, CT, on May 9, 1800. In 1820 he married Dianthe Lusk, who died in 1832, during childbirth. Their marriage produced seven children: John Jr. (b. July 25, 1821); Jason (b. January 19, 1823); Owen (b. November 4, 1824); Frederick I (b. January 9, 1827, d. March 31, 1831); Ruth (b. February 18, 1829); Frederick II (b. December 21, 1830, d. August 20, 1856, at Osawatomie Kansas).
In 1833, John Brown married teenager Mary Ann Day, of Meadville, PA, who bore a total of thirteen children, although only six lived to adulthood. All together, of John Brown's twenty children, only half survived their childhoods, and two more were killed during the raid on Harper's Ferry. John and Mary Ann's children were: Watson (b.?); Salmon (b. October 2, 1856); Sarah I (b. 1834, d. 1843); Charles (b. 1837, d. 1843); Oliver (b? ); Peter (b. 1840, d. 1843); Austin (b. 1842, d. 1843); Annie (b. September 23, 1843); Sarah (b. September 11, 1846); Ellen I (b.? d. 1848) Ellen II (b. September 25, 1854); Amelia (b?).
The entire Brown family was involved in abolitionist work, and Brown's surviving sons were among his most trusted lieutentants. Son Frederick died during the Osawatomie raid in 1856. Jason and Salmon did not take part in the assault on Harper's Ferry; the rest of the family did.
The raiding sons:
John Brown, Jr.
Mary Ann Brown with Annie and Sarah, about 1851
Annie Brown, looking as she did while living at the Kennedy Farm, with Martha, Oliver's wife. Their task was to provide a "cover," for the men, as well as take care of them by cooking and cleaning. The picture of Martha and Oliver was taken in 1859.
The Brown family was closely related to the Thompson family as well. Daughter Ruth married Henry Thompson, whose brothers William and Dauphin took part in the raid. Furthermore, their sister Isabel was married to Watson, cementing the familial alliances.