The Riley House/Bolten House is a historic resource of local, state, national, and international significance because of its association with Josiah Henson, whose memoirs were used in development of Harriet Beecher Stowe's landmark novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The Riley plantation was where Henson lived and worked as a slave from 1795 to 1830. The existing building is the ca. 1800 Chesapeake Tidewater-style frame domestic dwelling with a ca. 1850 log kitchen wing. Many of his experiences of living as a slave on the Riley property are vividly depicted in his memoirs and are recreated in Stowe's fictional account. Henson eventually escaped to Canada, where he established a "fugitive slave" colony and became a speaker and writer. Josiah Henson's narrative of his road from slavery to freedom received worldwide praise and readership. During the height of its publication, Henson's story was the third most popular slave narrative in the world, following the seminal works produced by Frederick Douglass and Olaudah Equiano. By 1877, The Life of Josiah Henson had sold over a quarter of a million copies. Ultimately, Henson's experience, as interpreted through Stowe's book, helped facilitate a growing abolition movement in the United States.
Visitor Information: Currently not open to public.
Location: 11420 Old Georgetown Road, Rockville, Montgomery, 20852
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Shirl Spicer
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: Harriet Beecher Stowe
Freedom Seekers: Josiah Henson