Adair Cabin

Frank) And we’re back again. Now that we were outside we can kind of go inside. (Deb) That’s right. Now, we can go get cozy now. And so this actually, the next place that we’re going to talk about, the John Brown Cabin of Osawatomie is actually sitting in a park. So, if it’s nice you can go walk around outside and there’s a beautiful John Brown statue there. You can just walk around and enjoy the beautiful town of Osawatomie. Just walk down the sidewalks. It’s such a pretty town. Or you can come inside the John Brown Cabin. Now, I’ll have to tell you as a historian of course, this is obviously one of my favorite places. When I first came to Kansas, so many years ago, the historical society was still downtown in the GAR Memorial Hall. So I researched in there and I really wanted to just go in and I wasn’t working on anything specific. So, I’m like, well what do you want to see? And I’m like I want to see something connected to John Brown. And I was going through this file. And I get the diary of his sister, Florella Adair, who lived in this cabin. And so I sat in that old Memorial Hall and read her diary. And that was just amazing. Just amazing. (Frank) And what’s interesting is, was he a hero or was he a villain? And historians debate that all the time. (Deb) There’s no end. (Frank) Was he a hero? Was he a villain? Did his actions actually spark the Civil War? Most probably, because of Bleeding Kansas. (Deb) One of my friends, Jack Davis, who is a foremost Civil War author. He’s written 50 books. He said, John Brown is a mountain in the path of American history, you cannot go around him. Let’s take a look. When Samuel and Florella Brown Adair moved to the Kansas Territory from Ohio, it was with the dream of making a new home and stopping the spread of slavery. Florella’s half brother was the abolitionist John Brown and five of his sons followed the Adairs to Kansas, bringing with them their families and expectations for a better life in the new territory. After settling in the Osawatomie area, severe illness and the “clouds of war” closed in on the pioneers. John Brown came to the Territory to help his sons and found a place where he could act on his radical ideas. During the troubled times of Bleeding Kansas, Osawatomie was attacked and burned by proslavery forces in 1856, but the Adair Cabin, located some distance northwest of the town, survived. The Congregational meeting house built by Adair was dedicated in 1861 and still stands as well. The Civil War, when it came in 1861, separated the Adairs. Samuel served at Fort Leavenworth as military chaplain, while Florella died in 1865. Following her death, Samuel returned to his church and cabin in Osawatomie. He helped establish the first insane asylum in Kansas, present-day Osawatomie State Hospital, giving his services voluntarily as chaplain for 11 years. Samuel died in 1898, leaving the cabin to his son, Charles. In 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt visited Osawatomie to dedicate a memorial at the John Brown Memorial Park. Shortly after the Adair cabin was dismantled and relocated to the memorial park. In 1928 the state of Kansas appropriated funds for a stone pergola to surround the cabin, protecting it from further deterioration. The Kansas Historical Society maintains the site in partnership with the city of Osawatomie. Grady Atwater is the site director. Visit their website for upcoming events and exhibits.

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