John Brown (May 9, 1800 – Dec. 2, 1859) was a white abolitionist who led a rebellion against slavery in the United States. Brown was born to a religious family from Connecticut who despised the institution of slavery. He fathered 20 children with various women from around the country.
Brown was constantly moving from one state to the next. In 1837, Brown was living in the Ohio town of Franklin Mills, where he came to know the work of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy. That year was a major catalyst for Brown. At that time, he was bankrupt and struggling to get back on his feet. Lovejoy was murdered because of his abolitionist work on Nov. 7, 1837. According Southern Illinois University archives, his violent death greatly stimulated abolitionist feeling throughout the North. Brown proclaimed, “Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!”