Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Black History Month: Harriet Beecher Stowe

(1852) was one of the most influential books of its time and was the first major American novel to have an African-American as its hero. Written by , the novel became a best seller in 1852 and created a surge in anti-slavery sentiment. According to the Washington Kentucky web site, President Lincoln once met the author and remarked, "So this is the little lady who started the big war."

When Harriet Beecher Stowe was a young teacher in Cincinnati, Colonel Marshall Key of Washington Kentucky sent his daughter to study at her school. In 1833 Miss Beecher went to visit the Key family at their home in Old Washington. It was there that one day Mr. Key invited Harriet to visit the nearby slave auction at the Washington Courthouse.

According to the Washington Kentucky web site, "She was much distressed and this vivid scene so impressed Harriet Beecher that she never forgot it, and twenty-odd years later she wrote her book, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' She received the inspiration for her characters, 'Uncle Tom' and a 'Topsy,' on this visit. Topsy's real name was Jane who later married Isham Anderson. Aunt Jane and Uncle Isham lived in a little frame house on the corner of William and Green here in Washington."

Today, the Marshall Key House is the Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum, open all Festivals and most Saturdays 12-4, Sundays 1-4.


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