Greenfield or Greenville?

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

My granddaughter asked me what Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Tubman did to become famous. My answer included some basic history about slavery and the Underground Railroad of which she was somewhat familiar.

I also explained that one of the characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin was based on a real person, Eliza Harris. According to one of F.R. Harris’ books she supposedly wintered over in Greenfield before being moved further north.

Following our conversation I did a little Googling fact checking and came across a paper written by a Levi Coffin. In his writing Coffin claimed that Harris had spent time with he and his wife near Cincinnati before being moved north through the “Greenville Branch” of the Underground Railroad to Sandusky and then into Canada.

I don’t know the source of F.R. Harris’ claim about Greenfield but I think I now have to stop bragging about my home town playing a role. It’s just difficult to argue with a strong primary source.

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