The Mayhew Cabin Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  The Mayhew Cabin with John Brown's Cave Museum interprets the history of Nebraska's Underground Railroad.  The Mayhew Cabin Foundation's Board of Directors are as follows:

Board of Directors

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Cathleen Briley began volunteering at the Mayhew Cabin in 2008.  In March of 2009, Briley was installed as a Board Member and served as Vice President for several years before becoming President of the Board in August of 2018.

In late 2013, Briley realized that the museum focused solely on the rescuers (John Brown, John Kagi, and the Kagy/Mayhew families) and not on those that were aided.  The names and identities of the twelve freedom seekers who were aided by the Mayhew's in February of 1859 were unknown to us.  To rectify that situation, she began the process of uncovering the identities of the former slaves. Because Underground Railroad activity was illegal and highly secretive, no records were kept, so uncovering information was difficult.  Briley spent hundreds of hours researching utilizing various historical resources.  During the process of identifying the names, she found herself becoming increasingly attached to the people and their families.  They became affectionately known as “The Twelve.”  After identifying ten of the twelve names, she began to track the families forward in time with the ultimate goal of locating a living descendant.  That goal was accomplished early in 2014.  Subsequent to the discovery, Briley wrote a book that details the history of a true American Hero, John Kagi, his involvement in Bleeding Kansas, the rescue of The Twelve, how the John Brown’s Cave site turned into the Mayhew Cabin with John Brown Cave Museum, the research into discovering the identities of The Twelve, and the successful search for living descendants.

Briley is a real estate appraiser and works in Lincoln.  She has two grown daughters, one cat, is the author of several books, and an avid collector of antiques.

John Leonard Harris, Vice President
John Leonard Harris, Vice President

John Leonard Harris is a native of St. Louis Missouri who currently resides in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mr. Harris is a dynamic keynote and conference speaker, award-winning writer, poet, and actor. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Radio-TV-Film Production) and his Master's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Education, emphasis Teaching and Learning).

For the past year, Mr. Harris has been the pastor of First Baptist Church in downtown Lincoln.  Prior to his pastorate there, he was the pastor of Christ Temple Mission Church for eight years.

In 2014, Mr. Harris was added to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Wall of Honor" for his work promoting equality in his community and he received the Dr. Melvin Jones Mentoring Award for his work over the years with young people in his community. He has been a board member of the Mayhew Cabin for the past six years and became Vice President in August of 2018.

Brad Mayhew, Secretary/Treasurer
Brad Mayhew, Secretary/Treasurer

The above photo of Brad Mayhew was taken near a home in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania frequented by John Brown.  The residence also served as a temporary home to John Henri Kagi prior to John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.

Thomas B. (Brad) Mayhew is the great-great-grandson of Allen and Barbara Mayhew. He has been keeping tabs on the cabin since his college days. He was born in Edwards County, Kansas and helped his dad, Tom Mayhew, farm land around Trousdale where Ed and Tom Mayhew of the cabin and their grandfather California Abe Kagy homesteaded in 1884. He graduated in Kansas and American Studies from the University of Kansas in 1975 and later obtained a BS and MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering from KU. His companies, Mayhew Environmental Training Associates, Inc. and META Consulting LLC work nationally and internationally in the areas of training, site investigations, abatement design, monitoring, and management of asbestos, lead paint, mold, and other hazardous materials.

In 1992, when the cabin was still held privately, he organized a Mayhew Family reunion that included several grandchildren of the boys of the cabin, including the families who took care of their uncles Henry and Charlie in their later years and the grandchildren of Ed and Tom. He became a Mayhew Cabin board member early in the transition to a nonprofit.

Brad has been President of the Kansas Preservation Alliance, the statewide historic preservation organization. He has drafted national register nominations for family properties and the historic Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence. In recent years he has occasionally reenacted his great great great grandfather Abraham Kagy, father of John Henri Kagi who died with John Brown at Harper’s Ferry and Barbara Kagy Mayhew.

Brad has six children. His family has recorded four CDs and have performed in, among many other places, Bristolville, Ohio where Allen and Barbara were born, Tisbury, Wiltshire, England where the first Mayhew who came to America, Governor Thomas of Martha’s Vineyard, was baptized in 1593, Harper’s Ferry National Park for the 150th Anniversary of the John Brown raid, and, of course, Mayhew Cabin. Like his Missionary Mayhew forebears of Martha’s Vineyard, Brad is active in missions, notably as a Board member of Advancing the Kingdom Ministries in Uganda and as an advisor to YWAM University of the Nations.

At Large
At Large

Dan Clinkenbeard Bio unavailable.

At Large
At Large

Richard Townsend Bio unavailable.

Museum Director


Bill Hayes has been involved with the Mayhew Cabin since June of 2006 and has served as the Volunteer Director most of that time. He is a native of Southeast Nebraska and received his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Peru State College and his Master’s Degree in History from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. While being involved with the Mayhew Cabin, Mr. Hayes has organized several programs and events at the site as well as other locations such as Peru State College and the Nebraska City G.A.R. Hall (Civil War Museum). In addition, Mr. Hayes has coordinated several projects including the restoration of the log schoolhouse in 2013 and a new roof for the site’s historic A.M.E. Church in 2014. He worked with a variety of contractors to create a project budget and administered funds during the completion of the projects. In June of 2018, Bill took over the position of docent at the Mayhew Cabin as well as serving as Volunteer Director.

Mr. Hayes developed a presentation and program about the Underground Railroad in Nebraska and slavery in the region. The program is listed under the Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau. Please visit the website to reserve the program.

With all of that said, the Mayhew Cabin Museum is not about those pictured above.  It is about the people you will learn about by visiting the history pages on this website or by visiting the museum, namely Allen and Barbara Mayhew, John Henri Kagi, John Brown, and The Twelve. It is also about YOU because history belongs to each and every one of us.

The Mayhew Cabin Museum is unique to Nebraska! We hope you will visit soon.

If you can, please donate to the Foundation to help preserve this history. Thank you for your support!

The Mayhew Cabin Foundation would like to recognize the time, energy,
and expertise of Dr. David Van Winkle in putting together this website.