On Christmas day in 1828, Solomon Northup and his bride Anne Hampton “commenced housekeeping in the old yellow building then standing at the southern extremity of Fort Edward village” and lived there until 1832. Solomon was a free black man born in Essex County who was drugged and sold into slavery in 1840. He spent twelve years as a slave in Louisiana before being set free and returning home. He recorded his experiences in the book, “Twelve Years a Slave,” which is considered to be one of the most important unbiased narratives on slavery as told by an educated free person enslaved in the south. The book had a similar effect upon publication as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and helped incite outrage in the north regarding slavery.
The Old Fort House Museum has a permanent exhibit on Solomon Northup and celebrates his legacy periodically with a Solomon Northup Day. The Solomon Northup room includes many artifacts relating to Solomon’s life and experiences including an original copy of “Twelve Years a Slave”. The room is set up to reflect the type of “housekeeping” Solomon and Anne would have experienced in 1829.