Depot displays the “John Brown sword”|
by Mary Atkinson · October 23, 2013
For a short time only, the West Liberty Depot and Museum is displaying what is known as the "John Brown" sword.
Part of the WL 175th anniversary, members from the Masonic order were present at the depot campus Saturday to answer questions regarding the sword.
The event was held in conjunction with the town's celebration of railroads and public servants for the month October.
John Brown was an abolitionist who led runaway slaves across the underground railroad through parts of Iowa, including West Liberty.
The Calvary sword, which dates back to the civil war, is believed to have been left behind when Brown and his men were staying on the William Maxson farm during the fall of 1859 preparing for another freedom run.
It is not known exactly who the sword belonged to, only that it was left with other possesions when the men departed on their journey.
Maxson gave the sword to his son, Jont. When Jont moved to West Liberty and became a Masonic Tyler, a badge of office in the Masons, he gave it to the Masons. It hung in the the Mt. Calvary Lodge until the lodge moved to the American Legion building.
Now, the sword belongs to the Masonic Library Museum in Cedar Rapids. The library lent it to the West Liberty Historical Society to display for a year.