“Can’t keep you here.”

John Brown

News of John Brown’s murder spree got out quickly, reaching his son’s militia company before Brown and the others could return to it. The fallout from John Junior’s inconsistent response to the word and his freeing of two enslaved people turned his men against him and the Pottawatomie Rifles elected a new captain before everyone dispersed. Brown had two sons in Kansas not with him for that bloody night, the aforementioned namesake and Jason. Jason pressed the matter with his brother, Frederick, and then told his father that he could not approve of such killing. Brown took that hard, but refused to reconsider. His band of avengers broke off from the rest of the group near to Middle Creek and set off toward Junior and Jason’s cabins. They themselves set out for Osawatomie to collect their wives and children from Samuel Adair’s.

On the 26th of May, according to Junior, he and Jason arrived at Adair’s. They stayed the night and on the morning of the 27th got more disturbing news:

a pretended Free-State man, was heading a party to capture us, Mr. Adair did not consider it prudent for us to stay longer, and advised us to secrete ourselves in a ravine on his place well filled with small undergrowth. He told us he had received word that the United States Marshal had warrants for us and all of our family.

Jason has people out to make a name for themselves by nabbing John Brown already thick on the roads, but it seems that news first reached them of the fact at the Adair claim. In his version, related in Villard’s biography, they come to the cabin around nine at night. Adair answered the door, armed, and asked who knocked. The Browns identified themselves:

“Can’t keep you here. Our lives are threatened. Every moment we expect to have our house burned over our heads.”

Jason begged shelter, offering to take even a berth in the outhouse. The conversation drew Mrs. Adair, the boys’ Aunt Florilla. She asked if they had anything to do with the killings. They had not, so she agreed to let them in but told them that the Adairs hazarded their lives by doing it. They took a pair of mattresses on the floor, beside the bed, and talked until midnight. Jason told them all he had learned about the killings while John groaned.

Up for a few days by this point, just deprived of his command and seeing his political friends turn on him, plus news that his father and brothers committed an already infamous crime, pushed John Junior past his breaking point. He confided to his Aunt that he felt himself going insane. He couldn’t sleep, despite his fatigue. Jason repeated Adair’s advice that Junior take to the timber land and hide, which he did.

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