Harpers Ferry


Harpers Ferry
/hahr"peuhrz/
a town in NE West Virginia at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers: site of John Brown's raid 1859. 361.
Also, Harper's Ferry.

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 town, Jefferson county, in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia (West Virginia), U.S., at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac (Potomac River) rivers, in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Blue Ridge) where West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland converge. When the town was part of Virginia, it was the site of the Harpers Ferry Raid, one of the major incidents precipitating the American Civil War, and of several battles of the war.

      The town was settled in 1734 by Robert Harper, who established a ferry across the Potomac and a grist mill on the Shenandoah. The site was selected by President George Washington (Washington, George) for a federal armoury because of its waterpower potential and was purchased from Harper's heirs in 1796. The town developed as an important U.S. arsenal and centre for the manufacture of rifles. In the 1830s the arrival of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal turned the town into a commercial hub for a time.

      On October 16–18, 1859, the arsenal of Harpers Ferry was the target of an assault by an armed band of abolitionists (abolitionism) led by John Brown (Brown, John). The raid was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia—an enterprise that had won moral and financial support from several prominent Bostonians. Choosing Harpers Ferry because of its arsenal and its location as a convenient gateway to the South, Brown and his band of 16 whites and 5 blacks seized the armoury on the night of October 16. The entire countryside was quickly alerted, and combined state and federal troops overwhelmed the raiders in two days. Seventeen men died in the fighting, including two of Brown's own sons; Brown and six surviving followers, after being tried at Charles Town, were hanged before the end of the year. Although the raid on Harpers Ferry was denounced by a majority of Northerners, it outraged Southern slaveholders (slavery), who were already fearful of slave insurrections, and convinced them that abolitionists would stop at nothing to eradicate their “peculiar institution.”

      Once the war (American Civil War) began Harpers Ferry served as an important link in the defense of Washington, D.C. (Washington), and was repeatedly attacked by both Union and Confederate armies. The most notable battle occurred when Confederates under General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (Jackson, Thomas Jonathan) captured the town (September 13–15, 1862) and took more than 12,500 prisoners, the largest Union surrender in the war.

      In 1869 Storer College opened there as a coeducational, multiethnic institution. The college was chosen in 1906 by W.E.B. Du Bois (Du Bois, W.E.B.) as one of the sites for the annual meetings of the Niagara Movement, which was a precursor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909). Storer College closed in 1955.

      Harpers Ferry is now a quiet residential village and is the headquarters of a resort area that includes Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The park, with an area of about 3.5 square miles (9 square km), is situated in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. It was authorized as a national monument in 1944 and redesignated as a national historic park in 1963. It contains museums, monuments, and historic buildings associated with the raid, the Civil War, and other aspects of the region's history. Inc. 1763. Pop. (1990) 308; (2000) 307.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Harpers Ferry — Harpers Ferry, IA U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 330 Housing Units (2000): 560 Land area (2000): 0.611418 sq. miles (1.583565 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.016983 sq. miles (0.043987 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.628401 sq. miles (1.627552 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Harpers Ferry — ist der Name folgender Orte in den USA: Harpers Ferry (West Virginia) Harpers Ferry (Iowa) Schiff: USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), ein nach dem Ort der Schlacht in West Virginia benanntes Docklandungsschiff Sonstiges: Schlacht um Harpers Ferry,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harpers Ferry, IA — U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 330 Housing Units (2000): 560 Land area (2000): 0.611418 sq. miles (1.583565 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.016983 sq. miles (0.043987 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.628401 sq. miles (1.627552 sq. km) FIPS code:… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Harpers Ferry, WV — U.S. town in West Virginia Population (2000): 307 Housing Units (2000): 189 Land area (2000): 0.555983 sq. miles (1.439989 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.063025 sq. miles (0.163234 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.619008 sq. miles (1.603223 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Harpers Ferry — [här′pərz] [the site of a ferry owned ( c. 1747) by R. Harper] town in W.Va., at the juncture of the Potomac & Shenandoah rivers: site of the U.S. arsenal captured by John Brown (1859): pop. 300 …   English World dictionary

  • Harpers Ferry — (ursprünglich Schenandoah Falls), Postort in der Grafschaft Jefferson des Staates Virginia (Nordamerika), am Zusammenfluß der Schenandoah u. Potomac Rivers, welche dann vereinigt hier die Blue Ridge durchbrechen (eine der malerischsten… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Harpers Ferry — 39° 19′ 31″ N 77° 44′ 37″ W / 39.325278, 77.743611 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harpers Ferry — noun a small town in northeastern West Virginia that was the site of a raid in 1859 by the abolitionist John Brown and his followers who captured an arsenal that was located there • Syn: ↑Harper s Ferry • Instance Hypernyms: ↑town • Part Holonyms …   Useful english dictionary

  • Harpers Ferry — /hapəz ˈfɛri/ (say hahpuhz feree) noun a town in north eastern West Virginia at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers; John Brown s raid, 1859. Also, Harper s Ferry …   Australian English dictionary

  • Harpers Ferry — Харперс Ферри, поселок в штате Виргиния, место последнего героического сражения и гибели повстанцев аболиционистов во главе с Джоном Брауном (1859) …   Словарь топонимов США


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