Uncle Tom's Cabin Author Visited Natick Often

Harriet Beecher Stowe's husband had an aunt who lived on Pleasant Street.

As Black History Month enters its final week, it's important to realize that every part of America has some connection to the many things the month honors, celebrates and commemorates, whether that connection has been formed directly or indirectly.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, the anti-slavery novel published in 1852 that helped fuel the abolitionist movement, was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe while living in Maine with her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, who taught at Bowdoin College.

But the author of the best-selling novel of the 19th century, who, legend has it, was told by President Abraham Lincoln that her book started the Civil War, used to frequently visit Natick and stay at 2 Pleasant St.

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According to the Natick Historical Society's documentation on the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, "The house belonged to Calvin Stowe's Aunt, Mehitable Bigelow Adams, a daughter of Deacon William Bigelow.

"Calvin Stowe was born in 1802, the son of Hepsibah Bigelow Stowe (another daughter of Deacon William Bigelow), who married Samuel Stowe in 1797.  Upon Samuel Stowes' death in 1808 at the age of 36, Calvin and his mother went to live with the Bigelow relatives at 2 Pleasant Street.

"Calvin became a well-known theologian and classics scholar, ending his career as Professor at Andover Theological Seminary, and he married twice, his second wife being Harriet Beecher.

"While Mrs. Mehitable Adams owned the house, Harriet Beecher Stowe and her husband, Calvin Stowe, often visited.  It has been said that Harriet Beecher Stowe could be seen working in one of the windows on Old Town Folks, a fictionalized account of Calvin's father's reminiscences of growing up in South Natick, which, together with Uncle Tom's Cabin, established her reputation as a writer and led to the house being known as the Harriet Beecher Stowe House."

So there you have it. The author of a novel that had an enormous impact on the United States never officially lived in Natick, but she did spend a great deal of time in town, and she did do some writing while here.


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