Our Historical Markers across Nebraska highlight fascinating moments and places in our state’s past. Today we’re focusing on one of Nebraska’s oldest structures, one with a connection to famed abolitionist John Brown.
2012 4th Corso, Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska
The Allen Mayhew Cabin built near here in 1852, is one of the oldest Nebraska structures at the original historic scene. It was a station on the “Underground Railroad, ” a secret system by which slaves were aided northward to freedom. John Henri Kagi was killed in 1859, in the raid on the Federal Arsenal at harper’s Ferry led by John Brown, militant advocate of slave freedom. Kagi lived in the cabin when it was the home of his sister, Barbara Kagi Mayhew and her husband Allen Mayhew. Kagi, trusted assistant of Brown, was active in conducting escaping slaves.
It is reported that he was once surrounded in the cabin loft, but escaped while a larger posse was being raised. The cabin, linked with those stirring times, has been known for more than a century as John Brown’s cabin. Brown is recorded as having passed through Nebraska City five times, but it is only by inference and legend that he visited the cabin area. The cabin remains today as a symbol of our historic past.