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Union or Secession
  • "What are the people doing up your way about John Brown?"
  • "What are the people doing up your way about John Brown?"
On December 4, 1859, John W. Anthony, a student at Randolph-Macon College, wrote a chatty letter to his sister Callie Anthony that mentioned the hanging of John Brown.
Related documents:
  • "He asked me to take my hat and leave the house"
« Return to December 1859 to June 1860
My Dear Callie

"What are the people doing up your way about John Brown?"

John William Anthony to Callie Anthony, December 4, 1859, Anthony Family Papers, 1785–1952, Acc. 35647, 35648, Library of Virginia.

Callie Anthony says: My younger brother John William Anthony is eighteen years old and is attending Randolph-Macon College in Boydton, in Mecklenburg County. He typically writes about his doings at school. I am glad he likes his new counterpane (a bedspread like a quilt), and I'm sure part of the reason he is so partial to it is because the other boys like it so much. Johnny must not have heard that John Brown was hanged at Charles Town on December 2, 1859. There were some fears that Northern abolitionists would try to free him before he received his punishment for trying to incite slaves to rebel by attacking the United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry a couple of months ago.

John William Anthony to Callie Anthony, December 4, 1859, Anthony Family Papers, 1785–1952, Acc. 35647, 35648, Library of Virginia.

R M College
Dec 4th/59

Dear Callie

I guess you are thinking, that I am treating you badly about not writing, but when I give you my excuse, you will forgive me, the reason I have not written to you before now is simply this, I had just written to Bettie and I thought you would hear from me in that way and moreover this is such a dull place I never can find any thing to write about.
I sent home after a counterpane and I got it when Dr. Smith came back, it is the prettiest thing of the kind you ever saw, the boys all like it very much. Winston was bragging to every boy he saw, about it, telling them to look at the works of Campbell, None of our family was at conference so Dr Smith told Miki; Our preacher came the other night he is a very large and tall man, he has n't preached yet, but will tomorrow if nothing prevents—he looks like he might do right well
I got a letter from friend Blunt sometime since, and he said he could n't be with us this session, as he failed to get some money, which he expected, but will try to be with us the next year, he is still teaching school with about 30 schollars.
What are the people doing up your way about John Brown at this time the whole talk is about him and his crowd but it will soon be over now. I hope as he was hanged yesterday, if nothing prevented, which I hope did not, I have gotten about half through Davies Bowden and commenced Geometry, but have n't commenced Virgil as yet but will in about a week. I got a letter from Brother William Urquhart last night and he was well and getting along finely so said he
After hearing our new Preacher I return to finish my letter I received a note from a lady of G F College wanting me to send her a catalogue of R M College she was a Miss McDaniel I never heard of her before, I must close as I have nothing else to write about we have rain a plenty at this time Give my love to Katy and Bettie and the rest of the girls
Your Brother J W ANTHONY