"What are the people doing up your way about John Brown?"
John William Anthony to Callie Anthony, December 4, 1859, Anthony Family Papers, 1785–1952, Acc. 35647, 35648, Library of Virginia.
Callie Anthony says: My younger brother John William Anthony is eighteen years old and is attending Randolph-Macon College in Boydton, in Mecklenburg County. He typically writes about his doings at school. I am glad he likes his new counterpane (a bedspread like a quilt), and I'm sure part of the reason he is so partial to it is because the other boys like it so much. Johnny must not have heard that John Brown was hanged at Charles Town on December 2, 1859. There were some fears that Northern abolitionists would try to free him before he received his punishment for trying to incite slaves to rebel by attacking the United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry a couple of months ago.