Stowe provides further details about her story based on actual events in A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Life on the Shelby estate was meant to show the “fairest” side of slavery in the South. In Mr. J.K. Paulding’s, Letters on Slavery, the lifestyle of the Shelby estate was described in the terms of an actual Virginia planter. Family time, the ability to earn money, education, and the celebration of holidays were granted to the enslaved people belonging to this Virginia plantation owner, the same way they were permitted on the Shelby estate.
The full story of this connection can be read in Part 1, Chapter III “Mr. and Mrs. Shelby” of A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.