Thanks for help with trial

To the editor:

On a moonlit night in mid-October, 158 years ago, 21 men, under the command of John Brown, marched eight miles from a farm house in Maryland to the Virginia town of Harpers Ferry. Located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, the town maintained a federal armory.

During the late night of Oct. 16, the 22 men gained control of the armory by force.

Their next objective was to raid area farms and plantations and free slaves. Following a two-day siege against area militia and U.S. Marines, the attempt was short lived. Lying wounded near his two dead sons, John Brown was captured.

Within a week legal proceedings against John Brown were brought forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Indicted for murder, treason and conspiracy he was found guilty following a jury’s 45-minute deliberation. For his crimes John Brown was hanged in Charles Town, Va., on Dec. 2, 1859. Thus, a page in American history was about to be turned.

To commemorate this historical event, the 1859 courtroom inside Wheeling’s Independence Hall hosted a “contemporary trial” of John Brown. This jury found him innocent of murder and guilty of treason and conspiracy against the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I would like to thank the following for their time, preparation and participation for making this event a great success: Judge Harry White; attorneys Paul McKay and Dennis O’Donnell; Prosecutor Scott Smith; James Guy; Larry Freeland; Dennis McGrath; Scott Lane; Cole Coates; Tom McFadden; Tom Buckley; Lloyd Wells; Emery Stewart; Lois Buckley; John Hepburn; Judi Hendrickson; Cherie Metcalf; Arthur Forsch; Walt Latacz; Sondra Clutter; Dave Clutter; Jerry Ebbert; Lova Ebbert; Michelle McFadden; Jeanne Finstien; Joe Atkinson; and Ed Phillips. Also, I would like to thank the Wheeling Heritage Foundation and the ElmGrove Riesbeck’s for providing refreshments; the support of Debbie Jones, curator of Wheeling’s magnificent Independence Hall; and the support of the Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable.

Roger Micker

Wheeling

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