He was a tall, sedate, dignified young man. He had been a tanner, and relinquished a prosperous business for the purpose of intellectual improvement, but with what ultimate end I do not now know. He brought with him a piece of sole leather, about a foot square, which he had himself tanned for seven years to resole his boots. He had also a piece of sheepskin which he had tanned, and of which he cut some strips about an eighth of an inch wide for other students to pull upon. Father took one string, and, winding it around his fingers, said, “I shall snap it.” The very marked, yet kind unmovableness of the young man's face on seeing father's defeat-father's own look, and the position of the people and things in the old kitchen — somehow gave me a fixed recollection of this little incident. How long John Brown lived at our house, or at what period, I do not know. I think it must have been in 1819 or 1820. I have the name John Brown on my list of father's students. It is said that he was a relative of uncle Jeremiah Hallock's wife, and that uncle J. directed him to Plainfield.“While pursuing his studies,” says the first writer:
He was attacked with inflammation of the eyes, which ultimately became chronic, and precluded him from the possibility of the further pursuit of his studies, when he returned to Ohio. Had not this inflammation supervened John Brown would not have died a Virginia culprit on a Virginia gallows, but in all probability would have died on a feather bed with D. D. affixed to his name.God had higher work for this sedate, dignified young man than to write and deliver sermons to a parish. He was raising him up as a deliverer of captives and a teacher of righteousness to a nation; as the conserver of the light of true Christianity, when it was threatened with extinction, under the rubbish of creeds and constitutions, and iniquities enacted into laws.