Daguerreotype "Mrs. John Brown & two of her
children"   made in Vernon, New York or Ohio
ca. 1852  

Annie (left) age nine                                                           Sarah (right) age six  
                                                    Courtesy the Library of Congress

Mary Brown and Her Daughters: a Legacy of Equality and Cooperation

in Santa Clara County, 1880 – 1920

The story of John Brown the abolitionist and his militant war on slavery is a compelling one in our
nation’s history.  Brown is a controversial figure, yet many consider him to be a founding father of
civil rights in the United States.  The story of his widow Mary Ann Day Brown, a California pioneer on
the Overland Trail in 1864, is rarely told. After migrating to the Santa Clara Valley in 1881, Mary and
her daughters Sarah and Ellen continued John Brown’s abolitionist legacy of the pursuit of
democracy and equal opportunity for all.  

The project will generate substantive online resources including text, visual references, short      
video documentaries, presented in public events seminars:   

“John Brown’s Widow Mary and Her Daughters Come Home to Saratoga, California”

September 25, 2012, at Hakone Gardens There are excerpts of researched oral history interviews of
significant persons in Santa Clara County with whom the family interacted.  

Jean Libby, Project Director                      editor@alliesforfreedom.org  

Focus:  1900 - 1910               Issei orchard workers
          Sarah learned Japanese to teach English    
    and protested Asian discrimination laws
John's letter to his wife Mary is
about family and farm life in 1854.  
Inherited by Lucy Higgins of Santa
Clara from Sarah Brown of
Saratoga, California.

The letter is now donated to The
Bancroft Library at the University
of California, Berkeley, by Lori Deal
of San Jose, a descendant of Lucy.
Mary Brown's 200th birthday
commemoration in Saratoga,
California     April 15, 2016
Madronia Cemetery      2 p.m.
Yankee abolitionist, the story of
Mary's journey to Harpers Ferry to visit
her husband in jail and the press
interview at its conclusion