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[graphic] Liberty Farm

Liberty Farm
Photograph courtesy of Preservation Worcester
Liberty Farm was the home of Abby Kelley Foster, outspoken abolitionist and early suffragist, and her husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, from 1847 until 1881. Born in 1810, Abby Kelley was raised as a Quaker and developed the same spirit of independence and strong moral commitment that so many adherents of the faith seemed to possess. While teaching in Lynn, MA, Kelley developed into a staunch abolitionist by reading William Lloyd Garrisonís newspaper The Liberator. In 1838, Kelly made her first public speech at an anti-slavery convention in Philadelphia, and was so effective that Theodore Weld begged her to continue speaking, saying, "Abby, if you donít, God will smite you!" Kelley decided to become a reformer, but she did not concentrate only on abolition. Throughout her crusade against slavery, Kelley also voiced the importance of equal rights for African-Americans and women, an issue abolitionists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony also advocated. In the early 1840s, Kelley met Stephen Symonds Foster--himself an outspoken abolitionsist--and in 1845, she married him. Though both were widely sought after as lecturers, in 1847, the couple purchased Liberty Farm, and immediately opened the house to slaves escaping north on the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, Kelley Fosterís attention shifted to equal rights and the enfranchisement of women, lecturing to crowds of shocked listeners who had never seen women speak in public before. Although too sick to speak in later years, Kelley Foster and her husband still managed to voice their displeasure with Abbyís inability to vote--from 1874 to 1879, the Fosters refused to pay property taxes on their attractive Federal-style farmhouse, Liberty Farm. Auctioned off by the state several times, friends repeatedly purchased the house and then gave Liberty Farm back to the Fosters.

Liberty Farm, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 116 Mower St. in Worcester, MA. The property is not open to the public.

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