Former Home of Dr. Jesse Bowen (John Brown in Iowa City)
Backstory and Context
Brown and a companion held a covert meeting in Iowa City with local abolitionists Dr. Jesse Bowen and William Penn Clark. Brown was seeking railroad car arrangements to move his group further east. Word got out about Brown being in town and soon others were on the lookout for this so-called anti-slavery “fanatic.” Dr. Bowen harbored Brown at his house on 914 Iowa Avenue until, during early hours of the morning, Cololnel S. C. Trowbridge guided them out of town via back roads.
Dr. Jesse Bowen, a pioneer physician, early editor of a temperance newspaper and later a state senator, actively opposed slavery and befriended those who took direct action against it. He took delivery of revolvers from Massachusetts shipped to Brown in care of Jesse Bowen. In March 1859, Brown also entrusted Bowen with disposing of arms remaining in Tabor.
W. Penn Clarke, an active member of the Kansas national committee for Iowa, a prominent man in Republican party circles, and an energetic successful lawyer, applied his intensely partisan views to aiding men such as John Brown in Underground Railroad efforts.
Next Stop: Springdale, Iowa
Iowa and the Underground Railroad https://iowaculture.gov/sites/default/files/History%20-%20Education%20-%20Lifelong%20Learning%20-%20Iowa%20Underground%20Railroad%20(PDF).pdf