Digital History>eXplorations>John Brown: Hero or Terrorist?>Was John Brown Insane?>Deposition of Edwin Wetmore

Deposition of Edwin Wetmore, November 11, 1859

Source: From the Henry A. Wise Papers in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


Personally appeared before me a notary public in and for the County of Summit aforesaid Edwin Wetmore of Stow township in said County who being duly sworn on his oath says that he has been acquainted with John Brown (now under sentence of death in Virginia) since early childhood [and] that he always regarded him as strictly honest and upright in all his dealings and of a gentle and mild disposition. This was said affiants opinion of him until about a year ago when he had a conversation with him in Akron in said County of Summit, where he gave this affiant an account of the death of his sons in Kansas and also gave him what purported to be a history of his adventure there. From his statements then and the whole manner and appearance of the man he regarded him as demented and actually insane. His whole character seemed changed. [H]e appeared fanatic and furious and incapable of reasoning or of listening. to reason and this affiant then stated and still believes that he was insane upon the subject of slavery and that he was a mono maniac.

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