Wednesday, June 25, 2008

John Brown’s Body

Not the John Brown of song, but THE John Brown, the mystery Scotsman of Queen Victoria and of the movie “Mrs. Brown” with Judy Dench-Billy Connolly. How did Samoa become his “Final Resting Place” at this well-maintained, practically unknown, gated site in Apia?

Wikipedia and many Brits have John Brown buried in Scotland. His secret marriage and love affair with Queen Victoria denied by “respectable” historians, although royalty secretly marrying their commoner servants, and having their children, is not unknown. What is known is that Victoria’s son, King Edward, had the statues and memorials to John Brown destroyed.

This convoluted tale is of the most powerful family of the time trying to alter, reframe, and destroy the actual history of John Brown makes pursuing the story even more intriguing. So I called the phone number on the sign. Answering was John Brown’s Great-Great-Great Grandson whose family owns the Hidden Garden Resort in Apia. The story gets even better as the family tries to weave what they know about their ancestor to restore his place as a human being. It just may be that I should spend some time at the Hidden Garden.

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