John Brown and Party
Sometime during the winter of 1857, old John Brown, of Kansas fame, accompanied by two of his sons and one white man, stopped all night with D. A. Barnett, at the Grove City House, at Grove City (now the City Hotel, Atlantic.) Brown and his party had in charge about eighteen runaway negroes, men, women and children, whom they were taking on the "underground railroad" from Missouri to Canada. They had three mule teams, and all the male adults of the party were armed with Sharp's rifles and Colt's navy revolvers. After breakfast they took their leave and traveled eastward. No one but Mr. Barnett knew who they were until they had gone, or knew that any negroes were of the party. It was no uncommon thing, during the years just preceding the war of the rebellion, for runaway negroes to be helped across the county, on their secret march to freedom.
From "History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers," by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa, Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pg. 41.