The life, the times and the music of the Civil War era will be recreated in a program hosted by the Washington Historical Society on April 23.

The evening will begin with refreshments and annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. and the program from 7 to 8 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 200 S. Main St., Washington.  The program is free and open to the public.

Edith Barnard will portray Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the best-selling book of the 19th Century. 

A New Englander, Stowe came from a family of famous religious leaders and preachers of the time. She and her husband were abolitionists, who sometimes housed runaway slaves in their home, as part of the Underground Railway.

In 1850, when Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, making it illegal for anyone to aid a runaway slave, Stowe was compelled to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book depicts the harsh lives of slaves and roused the anti-slavery movement in America.

Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin while living in  Brunswick, Ma., where her husband was teaching at  Bowdoin College.

Edith Barnard became well acquainted with Stowe’s life and times, when she moved to Brunswick in 1968 and lived on the same street where Stowe penned her famous book.

It was while living in Brunswick that Barnard started portraying the famous author. Over the years Barnard has given many performances as Harriet Beecher Stowe, including a series on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution.

Barnard adds the music of the Civil War era to her performance, playing the dulcimer and guitar. Her husband Wes Sedrel accompanies her on banjo and harmonica. Singing along is encouraged.

More than just a reflection of the era’s music, Barnard illustrates how the songs incorporated “code” for passing messages during the highly secretive and dangerous business of the Underground Railway.

The evening is sponsored by B.A. Ward, Inc., Essig Law Office, Ev & Sue Freeburg, Heartland Bank and Washington State Bank.