Josiah Henson Biography
Birthday: June 15, 1789 (Gemini)
Born In: Charles County, Maryland, United States
Josiah Henson was an American labourer, preacher, abolitionist, and writer. A child of slave parents, he was originally from Maryland, USA, and later ran away to Upper Canada (now Ontario) in 1830. There, he set up a settlement and labourer's school for other runaway slaves at Dawn, near Dresden, in Kent County, Upper Canada, British Canada. It is believed that his autobiography, ‘The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself’, which was published in 1849, inspired the titular character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's ‘Uncle Tom's Cabin’. After the latter book became a success, Henson released an extended version of his memoir in 1858. Henson was also an army officer, who fought for Canada in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837 and was put in charge of a black militia unit. They conducted a successful attack on the rebel ship Anne. After the US government abolished slavery, many of the fellow residents of the Dawn Settlement went back. However, Henson and his wife, Nancy, did not, and spent the rest of their lives in their adopted home. Public fascination with his life is still present. In 2018, a documentary, titled ‘Redeeming Uncle Tom: The Josiah Henson Story’, was released.