John Brown’s fearsome pikes still hold fascination

The spears that John Brown ordered for his abolitionist army were fearsome, primitive things. Nearly seven feet long, the pikes had 10-inch steel blades made for slashing and impaling those who resisted the slave rebellion Brown envisioned.

But the uprising didn’t come, and the nearly 1,000 pikes Brown purchased from a Connecticut blacksmith and stockpiled at a Maryland farm a few miles from the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, W.Va., were never used for their intended purpose.

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