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Harriet Tubman

(1820-1913)

Date of birth is not specified in any research

An African American Free Black slave was the most famous and successful conductor of the Underground Railroad, helping over more that could be numbered blacks to escape slavery from 1849 to 1860, winning her the nickname of “Moses”.

Harriet Tubman was born Araminta “Minty” Ross to slave parents, Harriet Rit Green and Ben Ross. Rit was owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and later her son Edward. Ben was held by Anthony Thompson, who became Mary’s second husband, and who ran a large plantation near Blackwater River in Madison, Maryland.

As with many slaves in the United States, they neither knew the exact year nor place of Araminta’s birth was recorded, and historians differ as to the best estimate. Kate Larson records the year 1822, based on a midwife payment and several other historical documents, including her runaway advertisementwhile Jean Humez says “the best current evidence suggests that Tubman was born in 1820, but it might have been a year or two later. Catherine Clinton notes that Tubman reported the year of her birth as 1825, while her death certificate lists 1815 and her gravestone lists 1820.In her Civil War widow’s pension records, Tubman claimed she was born in 1820, 1822, and 1825, an indication, perhaps, that she had only a general idea of when she was born.

 

 She was raised with the most severe conditions and was subjected to being whipped. At the age of 12 she suffered a serious injury by a blow to her head which lead her to have serious problems

When she was little her father taught her how to move quietly through the woods. He told her how to find the North Star, the star that led the way to freedom. He told her to look for moss on trees, which grows on the north side.

A big fear for slaves was being sold. It meant they would never see their family again. It was when she was about to be sold that she made her escape. One night she took some salted pork, some cornbread and her quilt, walked outside she  was given a paper a very small one by a neighbor with two names, and told her how to find the first house on her path to her freedom from slavery.

First she went to the house of a Quaker woman she had met. At the first house she was put in a wagon covered with a sack, and driven to her next destination.

From there she went through the woods and swamps of Maryland and Delaware to other “stations” on the Railroad, travelling by night, sometimes dressing as a man, going up rivers where bloodhounds could not follow. Tubman had to travel by night, guided by the North Star, and trying to avoid slave catchers, eager to collect rewards for fugitive slaves. The “conductors” in the Underground Railroad used a variety of deceptions for protection. At one of the earliest stops, the lady of the house ordered Tubman to sweep the yard to make it appear as though she worked for the family. When night fell, the family hid her in a cart and took her to the next friendly house. Given her familiarity with the woods and marshes of the region, it is likely that Tubman hid in these locales during the day. Because the routes she followed were used by other fugitive slaves, Tubman did not speak about them until later in her life Particulars of her first journey remain shrouded in secrecy. She crossed into Pennsylvania with a feeling of relief and awe, and recalled the experience years later:

“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.

Following the route to Pennsylvania. She settled there where she then met with a gentleman named William still, the Philadelphia Stationmaster on the Undreground Railroad. With the assistance of Still. And other member of the Philadelphia Anti-slavery Society, she learned about the working of the Under Ground Railroad.

In 1850 when the Southern dominated Congress passed the fugitive Slave Act of 1850 requiring law officials in free states to aid  in the efforts to recapture slaves who were escapes she led the fugitives into Canada where slavery was abolished in 18334.

In 1851 Harriet began relocating members of her family to St. Catharine’s (Ontario) Canada West North GRR and attended the Salem Chapel BME church on Geneva Street.

William Still was a publisher and published THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD in 1871. He included a description of Harriet Tubman and her causes. The section of the blood captioned below begins with a letter from Thomas Garret; the Station Master of Wilmington, Delaware which was the major travel of Harriet Tubman would follow and lead out hundreds to slaves from Maryland.

Harriet Tubman the Moses of her people. She had faithfully gone down into and rescued six bondmen by her own heroism. She was a woman of no pretensions, her success was beyond all. Time and time again she made successful trips to Maryland and freed more and more.

 

Harriet Tubman was closely associated with John Brown and was well acquainted with the other upstate abolitionists. Including Frederick Douglass, Jemain Loguen and Gerrit Smith. She worked closely with Brown and reportedly missed the raid on Harper’s Ferry only because of illness.

After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861-1865 She worked as a nurse, spy and then as a commander at Fortress Monroe, where Jefferson Davis would later be imprisoned. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war; she guided the Combahee River Raid which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina. While during all this she met Nelson Davis who was ten years her junior she was denied payment for her wartime and was forced after a bruising fight to ride in a baggage car on her return to Auburn New York and there she married Nelson Davis and lived in a home they built on South Street. Near the original house. This house still stands today and serves an s a home for the resident manager of the HARRIET TUBMAN HOME. She also spoke out for women’s rights with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  She helped Auburn to remain a center of activity in support of women she spoke out for women’s rights with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Station. Unlike Frederick Douglass, she could not read or write, but with the help of Sarah Bradford she came out with two books about her life”. She remained in contact with her friends. William and Frances Seward. In 1908 she built the wooden structure that served as her last resting place. There she worked and was cared for until her death in 1913.

After her death Harriet Tubman was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn with military honors. She has received many rewards and honors since her death including the naming of the Liberty Ship Harriet Tubman in 1944, a large bronze plaque was place at the Cayuga County Courthouse and civic holiday declared her honor in June 14, 1914, Freedom park a tribute to the memory of Harriet Tubman, opened in the summer of 1994 at 17North Street in auburn. In 1995 Harriet Tubman was honored by the federal government with a commemorative postage stamp bearing her name and likeness the war. In Auburn she founded the Harriet Tubman Home, African Methodist Episcopal Zion church.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is an 11,750 acre National Park Service unit in the U.S. state of Maryland. It commemorates the life of former slave Harriet Tubman, who became an activist in the Underground Railroad prior to the American Civil War. The monument was created by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act on March 25, 2013.

Harriet Tubman a life of light love and freedom no one is held down or back unless they choose to be. Her legacy is forever a bright star. All my research has come from the New York City Library all photos are  credited to Archival Org.