Stowe witnessed the evils of slavery first-hand while touring the neighboring state of Kentucky and visited the home of abolitionist John Rankin in Ripley, Ohio. During her residency in Ohio, she interviewed several former slaves who had escaped to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Many of the characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin mirrored real-life individuals such as Josiah Henson, a fugitive slave who escaped from Kentucky to Canada via the Underground Railroad with his wife and two children. While living in Cincinnati, Stowe also befriended Dr. Gamaliel Bailey who helped run the magazine Philanthropy and who would later become editor of National Era, the antislavery weekly that first published Uncle Tom's Cabin in serial format. In 1850, Harriet Beecher Stowe moved from Ohio to Brunswick, Maine, after her husband accepted a teaching position at Bowdoin College. Writing Uncle Tom's Cabin after arriving in Maine, Stowe drew upon her Ohio experiences which inspired her to write the book that would expose the horrors of slavery on a national level.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is located at 2950 Gilbert Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is open to the public Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Appointments should be made for group tours. Call 513/751-0651 for further information or visit The Harriet Beecher Stowe House website.