Oliver Brown, the youngest son of John Brown to reach manhood, was born March 9, 1839, at Franklin, Ohio. He went to Kansas in 1855 with his father, returning to North Elba in October, 1856. For a time in 1857 he was at work in Connecticut. He married Martha E. Brewster, April 7, 1858, when but nineteen years old, and died at Harper’s Ferry, October 18, 1859, in his twenty-first year. His girl-wife and her baby died early in 1860. “Oliver developed rather slowly,” says Miss Sarah Brown. “In his earlier teens he was always pre-occupied, absent-minded, - always reading, and then it was impossible to catch his attention. But in his last few years he came out very fast. His awkwardness left him. He read every solid book that he could find, and was especially fond of Theodore Parker’s writings, as was his father. Had Oliver lived, and not killed himself by over-study, he would have made his mark. By his exertions the sale of liquor was stopped at North Elba.”
Oswald Garrison Villard, John Brown, 1800-1859: A Biography Fifty Years After (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1910), 683-84.