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Aaron D. Stevens Describes His Mood Before His Execution to John Brown's Daughter
Digital History ID 338

Author:   Aaron D. Stevens


Aaron D. Stevens, one of the Harpers Ferry raiders, was sentenced to hang on the scaffold March 16, 1860. Before his execution, he wrote the following letter to one of Brown's daughters.

Document: ...I am quite cheerful & happy, never felt better in my life. It made me feel rather sad, to part with my companions, but I think they are in a better land, and that is a great comfort to me.

I was in the same room with your Father, he was very cheerful all the way through, & appeared as happy on the morning of his execution as I ever saw him. Watson was shot about a half minute before me, this was Monday about eleven o'clock, & he lived until Wednesday morning. I had a very hard time of it, for about four or five weeks, but I am as well now as ever, except my face is paralyzed on one side, which prevents me from laughing on that side, and my jaw bone was thrown out of place and my teeth do not meet as they did before, which prevents me from chewing any thing very fine....

The boys met their fate very cheerful. I cannot tell when I shall be tried, but I think in two or three weeks.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Aaron D. Stevens to Annie Brown

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