John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800. His father, Owen Brown, was a tanner (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. 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.

Though the tannery is a small reminder of John Brown, what really made him notable was his bravery in fighting segregation, which started with him escorting a black family to the front pew of his church. 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 in 1859 for a raid of 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.

The Details
  • Category: Historic Landmarks
John Brown Tannery 01