Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Josiah Henson

As I mentioned last week, I'd like to feature another historical figure with ties to Port Tobacco. Today's blog features Josiah Henson.

Henson was a slave near Port Tobacco and is alleged to be the person that Harriet Beecher Stowe based her character Uncle Tom on in her work Uncle Tom's Cabin. Born at Port Tobacco in 1789, Henson provided one of the first known narratives by a slave about his captivity. In his autobiography he mentions names of owners near Port Tobacco. "I was born, June 15, 1789, in Charles County, Maryland, on a farm belonging to Mr. Francis N., about a mile from Port Tobacco. My mother was the property of Dr. Josiah McP., but was hired by Mr. N., to whom my father belonged."
Research has revealed that Mr. N refers to Francis Newman and Dr. McP is Dr. Josiah McPherson. He also references a blacksmith named Hewes who was responsible for a severe whipping administered to his father.
It is also noted that Matthew Henson, the explorer who reached the North Pole in 1909 with Robert Peary, is the great grand nephew of Josiah.
I know I speak for the whole team when I say we are looking forward to another few days in the field the first week of December. Archaeology folks like us live for this!

1 comment:

Dancing Willow said...

I love the latest blog on Josiah Henson! The story enthralled me so that I found myself punching each link as if they were keys to an unopened door, only to be consumed by the additional information provided. Port Tobacco has definitely been the birthplace for many wonderful stories to be told. Can't wait for more!