Liberty Farm, Stephen and Abby Foster's Home

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historical Landmark)
Abby and Stephen Foster owned the brick home built in 1810 which has become known as Liberty Farm. They purchased the home and land in 1847 and refused to pay the taxes because of Abby's lack of voting rights. Their daughter, Paulina Wright “Alla” Foster was born in the house in 1847. Stephen and Abby used the home as a refuge for fellow reformers and it served as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves. Stephen Foster passed away on the farm in 1881 and Abby Foster moved away from the farm in 1883.

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Abby Kelley Foster was born on January 15, 1811, to Wing and Lydia Kelley in Pelham, Massachusetts. She grew up helping on family farms in Worcester where she received a strict Quaker upbringing. She was educated in one of the best private schools for girls in Worcester. After finishing her elementary education, Abby had to leave the state for her high school education because her parents could not afford private seminary in Massachusetts. Once she completed her education at the New England Friends Boarding School in Rhode Island Abby returned to her parents' home. In Lynn, Massachusetts after listening to a lecture by William Lloyd Garrison about the abolition of slavery she joined the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Lynn. Her political views became more radical as she worked alongside abolitionists like Angelina Grimke. She not only advocated for abolition of slavery but for full civil equality for African-Americans. Her activism did not stop at abolition. She fought for women's rights and influenced future suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone. She also helped to organize the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1850. After the Civil War was over the 15th Amendment to the Constitution was added and Abby supported this move. However many female activists resisted any suffrage amendment that did not include women's suffrage.

    Stephen Symonds Foster was born on November 17, 1809 in Canterbury, New Hampshire to his parents Asa and Sarah Foster. Him and his family took part the anti-slavery movement in Canterbury. After a brief apprenticeship to a carpenter he left in order to study to become a missionary. He enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and had organized an anti-slavery meeting that he scheduled, however he was banned from seeing it through. He was offered a scholarship to the seminary if he would quit talking about abolition; however he refused stating that he could not be bought to hold his peace. Stephen was beaten at a riot just outside of a meetinghouse in Portland, Maine by pro-slavery supporters. He received twenty blows to his head and was rescued by the women of the Portland Anti-Slavery Society. After seeing each other for four years Stephen Foster married Abby Kelley in 1845.        

Abby and Stephen Foster owned the brick home built in 1810 which has become known as Liberty Farm. They purchased the home and land in 1847 and refused to pay the taxes because of Abby's lack of voting rights. Their daughter, Paulina Wright “Alla” Foster was born in the house in 1847. Stephen and Abby used the home as a refuge for fellow reformers and it served as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves. Stephen Foster passed away on the farm in 1881 and Abby Foster moved away from the farm in 1883.

Address
116 Mower Street
Worcester, MA 01602
Tags
  • African American History
  • Agriculture and Rural History
  • Historic Homes
This location was created on 2013-12-01 by Sarah Ison .   It was last updated on 2016-06-14 by Sara Marian .

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