John Brown Slept Here, School In Hagerstown Says

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The University System of Maryland campus in Hagerstown is displaying an unusual piece of Civil War history.

It’s a hotel guest ledger signed by abolitionist John Brown, using the alias, “Isaac Smith.”

The school occupies a group of downtown buildings, including the former Washington House Hotel.

Historian Stephen Bockmiller says Brown spent a night there on June 30, 1859, while looking for a site from which to launch his ill-fated attack on the federal arsenal in nearby Harpers Ferry, W.Va. He eventually rented a farmhouse in Washington County to use as a staging area for the attack that October.

Brown assumed the name Isaac Smith after fleeing from justice in Kansas. He used the alias while staying that summer at a boarding house in nearby Chambersburg, Pa.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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