One of the best known Abolitionists in American history, John Brown was a staunch exponent of armed insurrection for the purpose of overflowing the institution of slavery. He commanded other abolitionists in struggles throughout Kansas in 1856 – his forces killed five supporters of slavery in one of these encounters. Naturally, this caused some pushback, and one of Brown’s sons was killed in the skirmishing on August 30.
Brown, not being entirely stupid, left the state with three of his sons after hostilities were narrowly avoided on September 14. Officially, he was fund raising for the cause, and he did indeed do some of that. But realistically, he was trying to save the lives of his remaining sons. It would be almost two entire years before he returned to Kansas.