Ky. museum to bid on historical papers


Associated Press

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 5:02 PM

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A western Kentucky museum is raising money in an effort to purchase the personal papers of two community pioneers that have a link to a famous novel.

The main interest in the papers of Amos Riley and his son, Camden Riley, is that Josiah Henson was a slave on the Riley plantation in Daviess County from 1825 to 1830. Henson went on to become an abolitionist in Canada, and the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was modeled after him.

Owensboro Museum of Science and History Director Kathy Olson told the Messenger-Inquirer ( that the facility plans to bid on the items when they go up for auction Friday in Cincinnati. She said the museum plans to bid competitively.

"We are still working on securing donors to help us purchase the papers," Olson said. "We're hoping to raise enough money to go in and be competitive. We've had a couple of people who reached out to us with fairly significant contributions."

Cowan's Auctions Inc. estimates that the papers are worth between $10,000 and $15,000.

Among items in the collection is a pass issued on Aug. 23, 1827, to Henson, which reads, "pass to allow my man Si safe and unhindered passage to and from the Yellow Bank (Owensboro) and my place at Yelvington to attend to the affairs of the plantation."

Henson's nickname was Si.

Olson said she thinks the papers belong in Daviess County.


Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer,