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Breaking down the battlefield: Professor unpacking the history of John Brown and Honey Springs

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Oklahoma State University Department of History professor Dr. Jennifer Murray has been named a historical advisor for the “Encountering John Brown” project at the Honey Springs Battlefield in Checotah, Oklahoma, which was the site of the largest Civil War battle in the state.  

The project includes a Feb. 3 talk by Murray at Honey Springs Battlefield and Visitor Center and an exhibit that opened on Jan. 13.

The ‘Encountering John Brown’ exhibit is very significant, as it spotlights Brown's influence on those that would later fight at the Battle of Honey Springs for Union forces,” said Adam Lynn, director of the Honey Springs Battlefield. “Dr. Murray's involvement in this project is major, as this project is also very significant towards shaping history education in Oklahoma. Her extensive experience in teaching these topics and presenting to the public is vital towards this goal. 

Located in eastern Oklahoma, the Honey Springs Battlefield was the site of conflict between the First Division Army of the Frontier and the Confederate Indian Brigade on July 17, 1863. An estimated 9,000 troops were involved in the battle. 

 “As a Civil War historian, and one with deep roots in interpreting Civil War historic sites, this is a perfect opportunity not only to help share the story of John Brown — one of the most significant figures of the 19th century — but also to highlight his influence on some of the men who would end up fighting in Indian Territory during the American Civil War,” Murray said. “I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about John Brown’s influence in Oklahoma and share this knowledge with my students.” 

 Murray is scheduled to give a talk at the battlefield’s visitor center about John Brown and his involvement in the Civil War at 1 p.m. on Feb. 3.

Dr. Jen Murray
Dr. Jen Murray

“During this talk, we’ll be looking at the events in Bleeding Kansas in the summer of 1856 and the raid at the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in October 1859,” Murray said. “Importantly, this program will also draw connections from some of the individuals who fought with Brown in Bleeding Kansas to the conflicts in Indian Territory.” 

The overall project received nearly $9,000 in funding from the Oklahoma Humanities Council nearing. In addition to the OHC funds, this project was made possible through a partnership between the battlefield and OSU.  

“Adam invited me to do a public talk on my Gettysburg book at the visitor center a year ago,” Murray said. “I have since taken students on a field trip to visit the site and we have established agreements for OSU students to complete internships at Honey Springs.” 

For more information on the Honey Springs Battlefield, click here. To learn more about Dr. Jennifer Murray, visit her experts page. 

Story By: Erin Weaver, CAS Communications Coordinator |

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