Fresh off killing Allen Wilkinson, John Brown and his band of antislavery men headed down to a cabin owned by Dutch Henry Sherman. The German owned a few and lodged employees in them. About two in the morning on May 25, 1856, Brown came into one and found Dutch Henry’s brother, Dutch Bill, James Harris, and a few other people who had just done business with the Shermans and hadn’t gone home that night. Brown and his men burst in with swords and revolvers drawn. They collected the knives and gun in the room and “ransacked” the place for ammunition, according to James Harris.
Brown took out one of the three men who bought a cow and stayed the night, then returned him.
They then took me out, and asked me if there were any more men about the place. I told them there were not. They searched the place but found none others but we four.
Ok then. Did Harris know where Dutch Henry hid himself? He lost some cattle and had gone out to find them. Since Harris proved helpful enough, Brown and company kept questioning him:
They asked if I had ever taken any hand in aiding pro-slavery men in coming to the Territory of Kansas, or had ever taken any hand in the last troubles at Lawrence, and asked me whether I had ever done the free State party any harm or ever intended to do that party any harm; they asked me what made me live at such a place.
It paid well. Further questioning had Harris yield up that Henry Sherman had a horse present, complete with saddle. The Browns wanted it and had Harris saddle it up for them. Specifically, Salmon Brown may have done so. His own version has him split off from the rest of the group and go to the cabin on his own. We should not believe that but he may have reported the substance of his encounter with Harris over the horse:
The night of the slaying I went alone to the house of Mr. Harris, who worked for Dutch Henry, and had the care of a fine gray stallion. I made Harris saddle the animal and hold the stirrup for me to mount. I said, “Thank you and goodbye.” I never saw him again.