Her words changed the world.

Stowe's Family

"Most mothers are instinctive philosophers"

Harriet Beecher married Calvin E. Stowe (1802-1886) in 1836 in Cincinnati. Calvin Stowe was a respected scholar and theologian who taught at Lane Seminary in Cincinnati, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, and Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, MA. Calvin's Origin and History of the Books of the Bible was published in 1867. Calvin encouraged his wife's writing career, telling her she "must be a literary woman."

Harriet Beecher Stowe and Calvin Stowe had seven children. Only three survived them.

Harriet Beecher (1836-1907) and Eliza Tyler (1836-1912)
Twins Hattie and Eliza were the oldest Stowe children. Lively Hattie was often her mother's travel companion; the more reserved Eliza preferred to remain at home. Neither married, but were well read, enjoying political and intellectual discussion. They lived with their parents and worked as correspondents and assistants for their mother, managed the family's households and later as caretakers for their aging parents. After Stowe died, the sisters moved to Simsbury, CT to be near their brother Charles.


The Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe
Institute, Harvard University

Henry Ellis (1838-1857)
Stowe called Henry "the lamb of my flock." At eighteen, Henry traveled to Britain and Europe with his mother and family after Uncle Tom's Cabin became a runaway besteller. Henry died at nineteen, in a swimming accident near Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Stowe's grief at his death caused a crisis of faith for Stowe and propelled her to write The Minister's Wooing.

Frederick William (1840-1870?)
Frederick was "a smart bright lively boy – full of all manner of fun & mischief fond of reading more than of hard study," according to his mother.

Fred attended Phillips Andover Academy in Andover, MA and Harvard Medical School. He left school to enlist in the army for the Civil War. Fred was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg (1863), but re-enlisted and fought through 1864.

He and his family struggled unsuccessfully with his alcohol addiction. Fred went to California in 1870 and disappeared. Historians believe he died shortly after arriving.

Fred was the inspiration for the character Tom Bolton in My Wife and I and We and Our Neighbors. In these books Stowe insightfully described alcoholism as an illness, at a time when most people believed it was a moral failure.

Georgiana May (1843-1890)
Mischievous and lively, the Stowes' youngest daughter, Georgie, was artistic.

In 1865, she married the Rev. Henry Freeman Allen, an Episcopal priest, in Hartford, CT. The couple's only child, Freeman, was the Stowes' first grandchild. Stowe and her husband relished their roles as grandparents and often visited the Allens in Stockbridge, Amherst, and later Boston, MA.

As an adult, Georgie became addicted to the morphine first given to her as a painkiller after the birth of her son. She died of septicemia in Boston at the age of 47.

Samuel Charles (1848-1849)
Known as Charley, the beautiful blonde and blue-eyed baby was also called "my sunshine child" by his mother. Charley died at 18 months during a Cincinnati cholera epidemic. Stowe was devastated with grief at this first loss of a child. Her grief made her empathize with enslaved families separated forever at the aution block and fueled her feelings about Charlie's death fueled her descriptions of children and families in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Charles Edward (1850-1934)
The Stowes' youngest son was rambunctious and gave his parents a good amount of trouble. He ran away from school at thirteen to become a sailor, but the Stowes found him before the ship set sail. Stowe used his antics as a model for her story Our Charley.

Charles Stowe was ordained as a minister in 1878. He married Susan Monroe (1853-1918) and had three children. The young family lived at his parents' Forest Street home for a short time in 1883. From the mid 1880's until the late 1890's he was minister of the Simsbury, CT Congregational Church. Charles wrote a biography of his mother, The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe, in 1889. Later editions were co-authored by his son Lyman.