“It’s been a terrific experience being related to (Harriet Beecher Stowe). Everyone who sees me and reads my license, they know who she is. They always ask me if we’re related,” Stowe said.
Stowe said her great, great grandmother had twin daughters named Harriet Beecher Stowe (the second) and Eliza Beecher Stowe.
“After that there was no one else named Harriet Beecher Stowe until me. I am the third,” said Stowe, who works at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kennesaw.
Stowe’s great, great grandmother played an important role in the Civil War.
“‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a true story about what Harriet witnessed when she was 12 years old. She was originally from the North and had never seen slavery. She grew up in a family with all reverends. Her father was a reverend, her brother was a reverend,” she said.
When HBS visited a cousin in the South, she witnessed a slave auction.
“A white man was on a stage whipping slaves. She was so appalled by that because she had never seen that. She told the man, ‘One day I’m going to write a book about you and tell the true story about what you’re doing.’ And that’s what she did. That’s what Uncle Tom’s Cabin means to me,” Stowe said.
Stowe shared a well-known story that when President Lincoln met her great, great grandmother when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation he said, “Ah, so this is the little lady who started this great day of war, the Civil War.”
When Stowe was 1-year-old, she had the honor of cutting the ribbon to open the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Conn.
“It’s turned into a historical museum. It was named a historical landmark last year,” she said. Stowe’s sister, Ellen Robinson Beecher Stowe, a schoolteacher, lives in Kennesaw.
Stowe said her great, great grandmother moved to the home (museum) at 77 Forest St. in Hartford after she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
“She was around 63 (years old). Her neighbor was Samuel Clemens, who wrote Huckleberry Finn. He was around 36 (years old). It was a tradition on Christmas Eve that his wife would bring Harriet roses every Christmas Eve,” she said.
“People can go there and see the houses as they were back in the 1800s, the exact same replica of furniture, pictures, everything from my family’s heritage,” said Stowe, who attended her great, great grandmother’s 200th birthday celebration in 2011 and met the governor of Connecticut.
“I’ve learned so much about her. I pray to God every night that she was here. I have a lot of her personality because I know — the things I read, things that people talk about her,” she said.
One of Stowe’s favorite book by her great, great grandmother and co-authored by her sister Catharine is “The American Women’s Home.”
“It’s a description on how to take care of your house, how to build a dresser and how to paint it, how to fix things in your house, how to decorate. It’s an amazing book. It’s so interesting,” said Stowe, comparing it to Bob Villa’s home improvement shows such as “This Old House.”
“The thing I respect in (Harriet Beecher Stowe) is that she took a stand for what she believed in during a time when women stayed at home and were supposed to cook and clean. She came out of herself and was not afraid to speak her mind about something she believed in. It’s so amazing,” Stowe said.