(Charles Town, WV)— The 150th anniversary of John Brown’s execution will be commemorated on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 in Charles Town. The commemoration will begin at 11 am on the Jefferson County Courthouse steps located at N. George and E. Washington Sts. in Charles Town, West Virginia.
The verdict from the trial will be read and an actor playing the role of John Brown will be led to a horse drawn wagon. He will be seated atop a coffin, just as John Brown was, and transported to the gallows site several blocks away.
The Jefferson County Courthouse was the site of the 1859 trial of John Brown. A jury of Jefferson County men found Brown guilty of treason and inciting slaves to rebellion. Sentenced to death, Brown was hanged near the courthouse.
At the December 2nd Commemoration Visitors will be encouraged to follow the wagon on foot or watch the processional from the sidewalk. A replica of the gallows will serve as a backdrop to the events.
Once the wagon procession reaches the execution site, a short program will be presented. Alice Keesey Mecoy, great-great-great granddaughter of John Brown will offer remarks and lay a wreath at the site.
The home of John Frederick Blessing, a local baker and confectioner who befriended John Brown during his imprisonment in Charles Town, will be open for tours from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm. Prior to his execution, Brown inscribed and presented his jailhouse Bible to Blessing. The Blessing house, located at 303 East North Street in Charles Town is now owned by the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society.
Exhibits in the Charles Town Museum (basement of the library) may be viewed from 9:30 to 4:00 pm. All exhibit sites are within one-block of the courthouse, which will also be open from 9:00 -5:00..
The commemoration is sponsored by the Jefferson County Branch of the NAACP with help from the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, volunteer re enactors, the Job Corps, the Jefferson County Commission, the City of Charles Town, the City of Ranson, the Charles Town Police Department and Gene Perkins, present day owner of the site where John Brown was hanged.
For more information, please contact Lyn Widmyer at 304-279-3201.