Maryland, African American, Civil War Era, Also of Interest

Josiah Henson
(June 15, 1789 - May 5, 1883)

11420 Old Georgetown Rd., N. Bethesda, MD.  Administered by the Montgomery County Parks as Josiah Henson Special Park.

Henson was a minister and abolitionist who wrote an autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, As Narrated by Himself (1849), which inspired the character of George Harris in Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). Henson wrote two more memoirs, Truth Stranger Than Fiction: Father Henson's Story of His Own Life (1858), and Uncle Tom's Story of His Life: An Autobiography of Josiah Henson (1876).

Henson was born into slavery on a farm near Port Tobacco in Charles County, MD. He moved to this address when he was made supervisor of the Isaac Riley Farm. He subsequently moved to Lewisport, KY in 1825 to take a position as a slave overseer, and escaped from slavery in Kentucky in 1830. In Canada, he settled into an all-Black town in Ontario, the Dawn Settlement, where he farmed and was a Methodist minister. He was the first person of African descent to be featured on a Canadian stamp.

Although slave quarters have not survived at the park named for Henson, the owner's house remains, with a frame portion dating to 1800 and a log wing built as a kitchen and sleeping loft that dates to 1850.


Montgomery Parks