Dawn, Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site and Josiah Henson House
Backstory and Context
The settlement’s charismatic leader was Josiah Henson, a slave from Maryland who escaped to Canada after trying to buy his freedom. He published several editions of his autobiography, and his life story served as a source for the fictional title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Today, Henson’s home near Dresden, now part of a seasonal museum site, is referred to as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the first widely distributed description of slave life. It sold 300,000 copies within a year of its appearance in 1852 and played a significant role in raising support for the abolition of slavery and in hastening the start of the Civil War.