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Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe Timeline

How It All Went Down

Jun 14, 1811

Harriet Beecher Born

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher is born in Litchfield, Connecticut. She is one of ten children born to the famous Calvinist preacher Reverend Lyman Beecher and his wife, Roxana Foote Beecher.

1816

Mother Dies

Roxana Beecher dies of tuberculosis. Reverend Lyman Beecher is now a widower with six surviving children. He remarries a year later and fathers four more children with his new wife.

1820

Introduction to Slavery Controversy

Inspired by the political debate over whether the new state of Missouri should be a free or slave state, Lyman Beecher begins preaching forcefully against slavery. Young Harriet, not yet ten years old, is deeply affected by his reformist message.

1824

Education

Harriet attends Hartford Female Seminary, a school run by her older sister Catharine. She will begin teaching at the school after graduating.

1832

Moves to Ohio

Harriet Beecher moves with her family to Cincinnati, Ohio, where her father has a job at Lane Theological Seminary. She joins a literary group known as the Semi-Colon Club and begins to hone her writing style.

1836

Marriage and Children

Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe, a professor at Lane Theological Seminary. Later in the same year, she gives birth to their first two children, twin girls named Eliza and Harriet.

1838

Son Born

The couple's third child, son Henry Ellis Stowe, is born.

1840

Second Son Born

The fourth Stowe child, Frederick William, is born.

1843

Daughter Born; Book Published

Harriet Stowe gives birth to daughter Georgiana May. Her story collection The Mayflower is published.

1848

Son Dies in Infancy

Harriet Beecher Stowe gives birth to the couple's sixth child, a baby called Charley. He dies of cholera at the age of eighteen months.

1850

Moves to Maine; Fugitive Slave Act

The couple's seventh and last child, son Charles Edward, is born. Calvin Stowe becomes a professor at Bowdoin College, causing the family to move to Brunswick, Maine. The Stowes are upset about the Fugitive Slave Act, a new law that makes it a crime to assist anyone escaping slavery.

Mar 2, 1851

Work Begins on Uncle Tom's Cabin

During an anti-slavery sermon preached by the Rev. George E. Adams, Stowe envisions the plot of a novel depicting the cruelty of slavery. She rushes home after church and scribbles down all that she has pictured.

1852

Uncle Tom's Cabin; Moves to Andover, Massachusetts

Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. The horrors depicted in the novel outrage readers and spark heated political debate. Stowe becomes a hero of the growing abolitionist movement, while Southern critics attack her as a troublemaker. Calvin Stowe is appointed professor at the Andover Theological Seminary so the family moves to Andover, Massachusetts.

1853

Reaction to Cabin

After critics accuse her of overplaying the agony of slavery in her novel, Stowe publishes the companion book A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin to rebut their criticisms. She is invited to speak about the novel in Great Britain.

1856

Travels to Europe; More Books

Stowe travels a second time to Europe to talk about slavery and Uncle Tom's Cabin. She publishes her second novel, Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp, which tells the story of an escaped slave.

1857

Eldest Son Dies

The Stowes' nineteen-year-old son Henry, a student at Dartmouth College, drowns while swimming in the Connecticut River.

1859

Back to Europe; Keeps Writing

Stowe accepts another invitation to speak about her book to European audiences; international interest in the book leads to Uncle Tom's Cabin being translated into 37 languages during her lifetime. She publishes the novel The Minister's Wooing, a satiric take on Calvinism that also deals with her grief over the loss of her son.

Dec 20, 1860

Secession

South Carolina becomes to the first state to secede from the Union. Seven others follow, prompting a national crisis. President-elect Abraham Lincoln vows to keep the Union together.

Apr 12, 1861

Civil War Begins

Confederates attack Union troops at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. When Major Robert Anderson surrenders after only two days, the Confederates celebrate their first victory in what they assume will be a short and easy war. The battle at Fort Sumter marks the official start of the Civil War.

Jan 1, 1863

Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in all territories not controlled by the Union.

1864

Moves to Connecticut

The Stowes move from Andover to Hartford, Connecticut. Stowe oversees the building of a lavish house called Oakholm.

Apr 14, 1865

Lincoln Assassinated

One month after his second inauguration and five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender, President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Vice President Andrew Johnson is sworn in. The Civil War officially ends four days later.

Dec 6, 1865

Slavery Outlawed

Congress adopts the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting slavery everywhere in the United States.

1869

Later Works

Harrriet Beecher Stowe and her sister, Catharine Beecher, publish The American Woman's Home, a manual arguing for the respect and recognition of women's domestic work. Beecher Stowe also publishes the novel Old Town Folks.

1870

Loses Son, Home

Unable to keep up with the cost of maintaining their home, the Stowes sell Oakholm and move. Their son Frederick, a Civil War veteran and struggling alcoholic, moves to California and is never heard from again.

1873

Last Home

The Stowe family moves into their final home, a house on Forest Street in Hartford, Connecticut. The author Mark Twain and his family occupy the house across the street.

1878

Sister Dies

Beecher Stowe's older sister Catharine dies.

1886

Husband Dies

Beecher Stowe's husband Calvin Stowe dies.

Mar 8, 1887

Brother Dies

Beecher Stowe's brother, the noted preacher Henry Ward Beecher, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage.

1890

Daughter Dies

Harriet Beecher Stowe's daughter, Georgiana May Stowe Allen, dies due to complications from her morphine addiction. She became addicted to the painkiller after it was administered to her during childbirth.

Jul 1, 1896

Harriet Beecher Stowe Dies

At the age of 85, Harriet Beecher Stowe dies in her sleep at her home in Hartford, Connecticut. She is buried at the Andover Chapel Cemetery.

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