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Secret Six Tavern
Tactically, the raid was a disastrous failure which led to the death or capture of all involved except five who escaped. Brown himself was captured, tried, and executed by hanging. But the raid set a precedent for events as they would unfold in the years to come, and the Secret Six would go on to have their individual careers. Higginson served in the Civil War as the commanding officer of the first black regiment authorized on a federal level, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, and spent the rest of his life as an activist for disenfranchised groups such as women and freed slaves. Howe was appointed to the American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission by the Secretary of War to investigate conditions slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation were living in and report on how they could be assisted. Parker retired, traveled to Florence, Italy, and died less than a year before the Civil War began. Sanborn was rescued by the people of Concord, Massachusetts from an arrest attempt made by five federal marshalls investigating him for his involvement with John Brown, and would go on to be an editor, philanthropist, and guest lecturer involved in numerous charitable organizations. Smith, shaken by the results of John Brown's Raid, spent time in an asylum in Utica following a feud with the staff of the Chicago Tribune over his involvement, and, despite his support of the Northern cause in the Civil War, went on to underwrite the $100,000 bond for Jefferson Davis, who had been imprisoned for nearly two years without having been charged despite Davis' earlier attempt to have Smith hanged alongside Brown. Smith became a major in the Union Army tasked with recruiting black soldiers for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments and the 5th cavalry, worked as a civil rights activist after the Emancipation Proclamation, established the Freedmen's Bureau, and died of pneumonia in New York City in 1867.
The tavern itself would survive the Battle of Harper's Ferry and was named after this cabal. For a number of years in the 21st century, the building was home to a modern business named the Secret Six Tavern in homage to the building's historic roots. The walls of the tavern were decorated with portraits of John Brown and the Secret Six as well as scenes of Civil War battles. The menu provided a brief history of the building as well. The restaurant closed in 2015, but the building remains. At the staircase one can still find a few signs about the historic tavern as well as a small marker that tells the story of Private Quinn, the Marine who was killed during the raid.
SourcesSiburg, Mark. Secret Six Tavern. Maryland Historic District. February 13, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2016. http://www.mdhistoricdistrict.com/secret-six-tavern/
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
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