WHEELING, W.Va. – West Virginia Independence Hall in Wheeling will host a contemporary version of a trial against abolitionist John Brown on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Can the results from a trial 158 years ago stand the test of time? On Oct. 26, 1859, an indictment charging Brown with murder, treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia and conspiring slaves to rebel, was read to the court. Following eight days of arguments and testimony in a packed courtroom, he was found guilty and sentenced to hang on Dec. 2, 1859.

Brown’s trial will be reconstructed with a contemporary jury inside West Virginia Independence Hall’s courtroom. Taking on the roles of court officials are the Honorable Judge Harry White; attorneys Paul McKay, Dennis O’Donnell and Nick Menedis; and historian James Guy. John Hepburn will serve as bailiff/sheriff. Lloyd Wells will play the role of John Brown. The jury will consist of a diverse group of Ohio Valley residents.

A question and answer session will follow the trial. For more information about the trial, contact Roger Micker at (304) 312-7559.

For more information about WVIH, contact Debbie Jones, site manager, at (304) 238-1300 or

West Virginia Independence Hall has been on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1970. It was originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is proud to be able to present its programs at no charge to the public, but without a solution to the state’s budget situation, this could be the last year that programs of this type could be offered. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. It brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.