Ingersol, Canada West, April 16, 1858.
Dear Wife And Children, Every One, — Since I wrote you I have thought it possible, though not probable, that some persons might be disposed to hunt for any property I may be supposed to possess, on account of liabilities I incurred while concerned with Mr. Perkins. Such claims I ought not to pay if I had ever so much given me for my service in Kansas, as most of you well know I gave up all I then had to Mr. Perkins while with him. I think if Henry and Ruth have not yet made out a deed, as was talked of, they had better not do it at present, but merely sign a receipt I now send, which can be held by Watson; and I also think that when the contract of Gerrit Smith with Franklin and Samuel Thompson is found, he had better lay it by carefully with the receipt, and that all the family had better decline saying anything about their land matters. Should any disturbance ever be made, it will most likely come directly or indirectly through a scoundrel by the name of Warren, who defrauded Mr. Perkins and me out of several thousand dollars. He may set persons we suppose to be friends (who may, in fact, be so) to inquiring out matters. It can do no harm to decline saying much about such things; you can very properly say the land belongs to the family.1 If a deed has been made by Henry and Ruth, it need not be recorded at present. I expect to leave for Iowa in a few days; write me at Chicago, directing to Jason Brown, care of John Jones, Esq., Box 764. May God bless you all!
Your affectionate husband and father,
P. S. Show this to John when he gets on. Henry and Ruth should both sign the receipt.
1 Allusion is here made to a second visit of John Brown and his son together at Peterboro' a few months before the attack. When in consultation with Mr. Smith, says John Brown, Jr., “My father informed him that he had so far got his plans perfected that within a few months at least he should strike the blow. The place in Pennsylvania at which arms, etc., should be first sent had been fixed upon previous to this time. It was Chambersburg; and the whole plan, as far as then matured, was fully made known to Mr. Smith. The exact place had not been determined on, but it had been determined to commence operations in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry.”
SOURCE: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 453-4