The park covers the hillside on which the battle of Osawotamie was fought. This battle was one of several between abolitionist and pro-slavery forces that gave Kansas the name "Bloody Kansas". Brown's men, surprised by the "Bushwhackers", lost the battle and their homes here. It was as he watched Osawotomie burn that John Brown is believed to have vowed to strike back at the heart of slave country, which he eventually did at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia).
Within the park, stands a life-size statue of Brown, all the sternness one would expect etched in his face, and a rifle over his shoulder.
At the top of the hill a stone building houses the Adair cabin in which Brown stayed when he was in Osawotamie. It is considered the main attraction of the park as it houses several displays on Brown. Be warned, however, that it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Unfortunately, we went on Tuesday, so I can't comment any further on what's inside.
The down-town history museum will teach you more on the history of the town and the Browns' struggle there. Two older ladies at the museum graciously showed us some Brown memorabilia and answered some questions. They were not able to point us to the site of the Pottawotamie "Massacre" which is only a few miles away. I realized later that one of the brochures they gave us did include a map of the location. Assuming you don't visit on Monday, when the museum is closed, it is well worth the time to stop.
Between the park and the museum stands a simple obelisk, the Soldiers' Monument. At this place five of Brown's men including his son Frederick died. The words on one side of it best remind us why John Brown is a hero , not only to the African-American, but to all who would live free, from New York to New Delhi.
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