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John Brown Melodeon

John Brown melodeon

Abolitionist John Brown gave this melodeon to his daughter, Ruth Brown Thompson, as a wedding present.

The melodeon has a rosewood case; keys are ivory and ebony keys. The front board opens to allow access to the keys. Stamped on one of the parts are patent dates ranging from 1846 through 1857. It was manufactured by Carhart & Needham Organs and Melodeons, New York.

The melodeon also was played at John Brown's funeral on December 8, 1859.  This followed his hanging for treason after his attempted takeover of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

For information on John Brown's activities in Kansas, see the history of the John Brown Museum State Historic Site. Brown occasionally stayed at the cabin, which was home to his half-sister, Florella Adair.

Entry: John Brown Melodeon

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: April 2010

Date Modified: December 2014

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