John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800. His father, Owen Brown, was a tanner (or leather maker). Owen Brown eventually settled in Hudson, and there his son John learned how to be a tanner. John lived in Connecticut and Pennsylvania before permanently settling in Franklin Mills, now called Kent. In Franklin Mills he entered into a partnership with Zenas B. Kent in 1835, building a tannery along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Unfortunately, John Brown and Zenas Kent did not have a good partnership, and eventually they stopped doing business together. After failure of his tannery and other business ventures, he went on to fight slavery in Kansas and ended up fleeing to Canada. He eventually returned to the United States in 1859 for a raid on a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia which ultimately failed. He was sentenced to death for his actions and died in December of 1859.

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