Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Shelby farm. Kentucky farm on which two slaves, Uncle Tom and Eliza Harris, reside. Eliza’s husband, George Harris, also a slave, lives nearby. As the narrative makes clear, Eliza and Tom both enjoy relatively pleasant lives on the Shelby farm; however, when financial problems threaten Mr. Shelby, he makes the decision to sell two of his slaves, Tom and Eliza’s young son, Harry. Mrs. Shelby is the first of many principled women who speak out against the moral evil of slavery in the way that it breaks families apart. Stowe illustrates the perils facing slave families as Eliza decides to run away to protect her child, and Tom opts to stay and be sold, sacrificing himself to protect his family and the other slave families on the Shelby farm from a similar fate.
The narrative returns periodically to the Shelby farm to follow the fate of the Shelby family and of Tom’s wife, Aunt Chloe. By the end of the novel, Mr. Shelby’s son, George, after seeing Tom’s brutal fate, frees all the Shelby slaves; therefore, Tom’s bitter end does effect change, at least in one home.
Uncle Tom’s cabin. Cabin on the Shelby farm in which the slave known as Uncle Tom lives until he is sold and forced to leave behind his wife and family, demonstrating that slaves can never have a true home.
*Ohio River. First of several bodies of water that play an important role in the novel. This river forms the border between Kentucky and Ohio, and hence between slavery and freedom. Here, Eliza makes her dramatic journey across ice floes to the free state of Ohio, illustrating the risks that a mother will make for her child and underlining the importance of family; Stowe uses this dramatic scene to engender sympathy for her imperiled slave heroine and to show how motherhood transcends race and social circumstances.
*Ohio. Free state to which Eliza flees from Kentucky. She finds refuge, first at the home of Senator and Mrs. Bird and then at the Quaker settlement, where she is reunited with her husband, George. Both these places represent model homes where family members act on moral principle. Senator Bird, although he has recently voted in favor of the Fugitive Slave Law, cannot bring himself to turn in Eliza. Instead, his wife persuades him to act not according to political expediency but moral principle, and he furthers Eliza’s escape.
Words and actions are also one at the Quaker settlement, a model of perfect domesticity, both in its actual physical arrangement as well as its moral order. The group’s actions and principles coincide as they harbor and aid fugitive slaves under the moral guidance of another strong woman, Rachel Halliday.
*Mississippi River. Another of the novel’s important rivers, which marks yet another boundary. Aboard the steamship La Belle Rivière (the name of a real steamship on which Stowe’s brother Charles Beecher had traveled when he worked in New Orleans), Tom journeys farther and farther away from his home and family. At the same time, as a novelist, Stowe ventures away from her own firsthand experience. The river also marks the boundary between sections of the novel as Tom gains his second owner, Augustine St. Clare, after rescuing St. Clare’s young daughter Eva from drowning in the river.
*New Orleans. Louisiana city in which the St. Clare family home is located. Stowe describes the house as an ancient mansion, built in a mixture of styles. The St. Clare home’s confusion of styles and exoticism stand in stark contrast to the ordered simplicity of the Quaker settlement in Ohio. The eccentricity and disorder of the place illustrate the disarray in which slavery leaves families, both black and white. Significantly, the St. Clare family also lacks a strong female moral center as Marie St. Clare devotes her attention to her own invalidism. While both Marie’s daughter, Eva, and her cousin-in-law, Miss Ophelia, try to make up for this lack, neither has control over the household.
*Red River. Tributary of the Mississippi that forms part of the Texas-Oklahoma border and flows through Arkansas to Louisiana. The third important river in the novel, it marks yet another boundary between Tom’s old life and his new one. After the death of St. Clare, Tom is sold to Simon Legree and transported on a small boat to Legree’s farm.
Legree plantation. Louisiana cotton plantation on the Red River that becomes Tom’s final home and illustrates how far his lot has fallen since leaving his Kentucky home. It is run-down, with some windows boarded up. At Legree’s home, the veneer is wholly lifted from slavery, and its brutal ugliness stands fully revealed as Tom meets his fate. Significantly, Legree has only the memory of his dead mother to urge him toward better behavior, and another slave, Cassy, manipulates that memory to her advantage.
*Lake Huron. Another important body of water that serves as the boundary between freedom and slavery, Canada and the United States, for the Harris family.
*Montreal. Capital of Quebec, Canada, where the Harris family eventually settles, illustrating that the United States is not able to provide a safe and suitable home for escaped slaves.
*Liberia. West African republic settled largely by freed American slaves who began migrating there in the 1820’s. The Harris family eventually migrates there. This final destination for the Harris family seems to suggest that no room remains for former slaves on the American continent. Tom dies in slavery and the other major slave characters settle elsewhere.