John was not a large man. As he stood towering over this sniveling coward he felt ten feet tall. This was his moment. It was time to take a stand and do what was right. His life had been a series of failures, please God, don’t let this be one too. This was his one chance to do the right thing. With one of his sons beside him, he was empowered. He could make a difference. He would set an example that his sons and daughters would look up to. He took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and prayed that his God would not let him falter. Then with deliberate precision, he pulled the trigger. He had done it. He had finally done something right. Maybe his life would not be a failure after all; he now had purpose and a path on which to walk.
John Brown was born in 1800 to a God fearing man. His father, who was a tanner by trade, raised him in the wilderness of Ohio. These early years would give no indication of the turmoil and battles yet to be fought. At the age of sixteen John traveled to New England to study for the ministry. He returned home after only a few months. He clung to his Calvinist beliefs of the Old Testament. His God was an angry God who believed in “an eye for an eye”. John left home at seventeen to start his own tannery shop that would be in direct competition with his father’s. This would become the first of what would be a long list of failures.
John married at the age of 20 but lost his wife after eleven years of marriage. He soon remarried and fathered twenty children, but only eleven of them lived to adulthood. These were trying times for John and he often questioned his purpose in life. But he had sons. This would be his legacy, his purpose, his overwhelming need to do something right and make a difference.
John Brown wanted to be a success. He learned sheep breeding, opened another tannery, bought and sold cattle. Every venture was a failure. He was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. He was...