Things I Am Thankful For – Genealogy Edition

This Post is a part of the November Genealogy Blog Party .

Click here to read all the entries in this Blog Party

I Am Thankful for……

I get to meet the most amazing people while touring around America speaking on, researching, and writing about the John Brown Family.  Actors, musicians, scholars, cousins, historians, and others fill my address book. They are colleagues in the John Brown World but also my friends, and through them I am blessed with unique insights. Artists experience the world through passion, colors, feelings, and visuals;  folk musicians hear the music of protest, righteousness, and peace;  scholars articulate the details and nuances of people and eras past.  Each interaction brings me closer to fully understanding my family. Here are a few of my favorites

I’m Thankful For My Favorite John Browns

John Brown Portrayers
Kerry Altenbernd, Norman Marshall, Greg Atzner. All portray John Brown, Photo by Alice Keesey Mecoy 2009

Kerry Alenbernd brings John Brown to life at the Blackjack Battlefield in Wellsville, Kansas. I recommend attending one of the reenactments of the The Battle of Blackjack. John Brown’s words will move you, and the battle is exciting.

Norman Marshall brings John Brown to life in his one man show “John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom”

Greg Artzer, one half of the folk duo Magpie, sings about John Brown, but also portrays him in “Sword of the Spirit” a one act play set during Browns incarceration

Thank you all for keeping Grandpa’s spirit, energy and legacy alive.



I’m Thankful For My New Found Cousins

Mary Ward Buster as Florella Brown Adair. Photo by Alice Keesey Mecoy 2008


I have met many cousins  and other relations over the past 9 years. I am always excited to hear from them, add them to the ever growing Family Tree, and hear what stories they have to share.   I just met a new one last week, and we are sharing photos and stories. It is always fun to find new family

Let me introduce you to my favorite cousin, Mary Ward Buster.  I met Mary  in person in 2008 at John Brown Day at the John Brown State Historic Site in Osawatomie, Kansas.  The cabin  was lived in by Samuel and Florella Adair, during the Bleeding Kansas events.  John Brown visited his half sister and her family during this era, and helped add on to the small cabin. Mary, the great great granddaughter of Samuel and Florella Adair gives a riveting one women show about Florella Brown Adair. We share family stories, artifacts and both love our ancestors.




I’m Thankful For My Friend Jean Libby

Jean Libby – Photo by Fred Mecoy 2009

This lady is the one who introduced me to the John Brown World in 1976. She saw a small newspaper article about a quilt on display that featured a square about Harpers Ferry that was sewn by a direct descendant of John Brown.  From that small article, Jean tracked down my family and came to our house one day to take pictures of my younger brother, James, and me.

From the moment we met she has had a great influence on my life. I knew nothing about my family, the history of John Brown, the nineteenth century, or abolitionists prior to our meeting forty-one years ago.  Over the years she sent historians, writers, and others curious about John Brown to ask me questions.  I got tired of these people knowing more about my family than I did, so I studied and am now a bit of an expert on the family.

I am very thankful for the friendship we share.





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