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Object Record

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Object Name PIKE
Catalog Number 0985.03.00172
Date 1859
Description The pike consists of a long wooden shaft with a double edged blade, brass collar, and cross guard. Number stamped on collar: "646".
Dimensions L-61 inches
Made blacksmith Chauncey Hart of Unionville, Connecticut, USA
Event John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, 1859
Provenance This pike is said to be a "John Brown" pike used during the raid at Harper's Ferry. The tentative identification is based on type and undocumented examples. The serial number "646" indicates this was among the pikes produced for Brown by blacksmith Chauncey Hart of Unionville, Connecticut, in summer 1859.

In March 1858, Brown commissioned a Collinsville, Connecticut, metal maker named Charles Blair to forge 950 pikes. Blair subcontracted the work to Chauncey Hart of Unionville. With these, Brown intended to arm slaves unaccustomed to firearms in a bid to foment a region-wide revolt. As Brown told Frederick Douglass, "When I strike, the bees will begin to swarm."
People Brown, John
Hart, Chauncey
Search Terms John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, 1859
Subjects African Americans
slaves
slavery
Insurrections
Weapons
Pike