"There is evidence that J[ohn] B[rown] distrusted men who hunted and fished; that he was reluctant to extend credit to anyone who came to his tannery with a gun on his shoulder. And I think about the only authentic fishing story that is known is the simulated fishing trip near Chambersburg when he met Frederick Douglass and discussed the Harper's Ferry plan. He bought a lot of fish, as letters still extant prove, but they were mackerel or cod in casks or even in a bag. And there is the story that when his wife visited him on the evening before the execution he wrote out directions for the return of his body, routing from point to point via Vergennes, Vermont. And after getting to that place he added, "And while at Vergennes buy a little fish." It's a true story--I got it from several newspapers, including two or three in Ohio."
Source: Boyd B. Stutler to Clarence S. Gee, 7 July 1952, p. 1, Stutler-Gee Correspondence, Hudson Library and Historical Society Collection, Hudson, Ohio.