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Harriet Beecher Stowe, Slavery to Freedom Museum - (The Marshall Key House) - 1807 - The museum is an early antebellum home where Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin visited and witnessed a slave auction in 1833. This brick Georgian townhouse is one of the finest historic structures in Washington. It is distinguished by a handsome Georgian frontispiece and an elegant curved interior stairway. The form, character and exterior original brick portion are stylistically Georgian and the interior Federal. The museum has the original woodworking, mantels, doors, floors and chair railings.


  • Harriet Beecher Stowe Slavery to Freedom Museum

The lot was purchased in l789 by Robert Rankin who sold it to Eli Metcalfe for 10 pounds of Kentucky currency. Eli was the older brother of Kentucky Governor Thomas "Stonehammer" Metcalfe. Eli sold it to Francis Taylor who then sold the house to Marshall Key in 1815.    Marshall Key was a nephew of Chief Justice John Marshall, whose brother Thomas built the house in Washington, known as Federal Hill in 1800.  Col. Thomas Marshall was Staff Officer under George Washington and later Surveyor General of Kentucky.  He was the father of John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801-1835.  They were the grandson's of Colonel Thomas Marshall.  

Behind the museum is a small brick structure, known as an "Indian Fort." A two-level structure with the (first level having a dirt floor and the second level having a wide plank floor), there are vertical slits (possible gun slits) that appear on four elevations at the second level. The Fort helped settlers ward off Indians who often crossed the Ohio River at nearby Maysville.

 Before her marriage to Mr. Stowe, Harriet Beecher was a young teacher in Cincinnati, where her father, Dr. Lyman Beecher, was president of Lane Theological Seminary where Harriet taught for a number of years.. Colonel Marshall Key of Washington married Harriet Selman of Cincinnati. When their daughter, Elizabeth Marshall Key, was old enough she was sent to this school where Miss Beecher was her teacher. In 1833 Miss Beecher, at the age of 22, was visiting her pupil, Miss Key, in the Marshall Key home. To entertain her one day Mr. Key took her to the courthouse lawn to see the slaves being sold on the block. She was much distressed and this vivid scene so impressed Harriet Beecher that she never forgot it, and twenty-odd year 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. They lived Abe & Harriet.jpg (455004 bytes) to be quite old, and were a highly respected couple. Of course, the novel became a best seller in 1852 and created a wave of anti-slavery feeling. Once President Lincoln met the author and remarked, "So this is the little lady who started the big war."

ried Harriet Selman of Cincinnati. When their daughter, Elizabeth Marshall Key, was old enough she was sent to this school where Miss Beecher was her teacher. In 1833 Miss Beecher, at the age of 22, was visiting her pupil, Miss Key, in the Marshall Key home. To entertain her one day Mr. Key took her to the courthouse lawn to see the slaves being sold on the block. She was much distressed and this vivid scene so impressed Harriet Beecher that she never forgot it, and twenty-odd year 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. They livedbe quite old, and were a highly respected couple. Of course, the novel became a best seller in 1852 and created a wave of anti-slavery feeling. Once President Lincoln met the author and remarked, "So this is the little lady who started the big war." 1http://www.washingtonky.com/stowe.html

http://www.washingtonky.com/stowe.html