IT WAS A COLD, SNOWY DAY toward the end of November, 1859. C. P. Wolcott, one of Akron's prominent attorneys, bundled up on the seat of his "buckboard," was driving his team all about town, trying to obtain affidavits from various citizens of his community who could testify to his client's mad delusions, and thereby save him from execution for charges arising from his attempt to seize the federal army arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, the previous October 16th. John Brown, married and the father of 20 children, was sentenced to be hanged on December 2nd. The client sincerely believed that he was given instructions directly by his Creator to take the arsenal and thereby to touch off and to lead the war to free the slaves. His success was to be certain and was divinely promised; and moreover, divine direction as to the employment of the proper means to wage this great struggle were assured. He had a strong strain of madness in his family, possibly descending genetically from his mother.
Feldman, James K.
"Reforming the Mental Health Law of Ohio,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 7
, Article 10.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol7/iss3/10