Harriet Tubman, (Araminta Green Ross) was born
a slave on a plantation in Maryland. Her father was Benjamin Ross and
her mother's maiden name was Harriet Green. Harriet was 22 years old
when she married John Tubman, a freed slave.
In 1849 when Harriet was 29 years old,
she heard rumors that she was about to be sold and using the Underground
Railroad for the first time, she fled to
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In December of 1850, Harriet made
her way to Baltimore, Maryland, from where she led her sister and two
children to freedom.
Railroad was a league of activist antislavery individuals who hid the
runaway slaves, gave them food, shelter and clothing, and then
conducted them to the next safe shelter. The journey was the first of
19 increasingly dangerous and arduous trips into Maryland, where over
the next decade, she conducted over 300 fugitive slaves along the
Underground Railroad to Canada. By her extraordinary courage,
ingenuity, persistence, and iron discipline, which she enforced upon
her charges, she became the railroad's most famous conductor and was
known as the "Moses of her people."
by slaveholders for Harriet Tubman's capture eventually totaled
$40,000. Abolitionists, however, celebrated her courage. John Brown,
who consulted her about his own plans for the raid on Harpers's
Ferry, referred to her as "General
Tubman". Harriet was also a friend of the well
known abolitionists, Ralph Waldo Emerson and William H. Seward. From
1862 to 1865 she served as a scout and spy, as well as nurse and
laundress, for Union forces in South Carolina. During one campaign,
she helped free more
than 750 slaves. After the Civil War ended, she was instrumental in
establishing schools in North Carolina for freedmen.
In 1857 she led her own aged parents to freedom and in 1858 placed
them on a small farm she bought near Auburn, New York.
After the Civil War,
Harriet settled in Auburn with her parents and began taking in orphans
and the elderly, a practice that eventually led to the foundation of
the Harriet Tubman Home for Indigent Aged Negroes. The
home later attracted the support of former Abolitionist comrades and
the citizens of Auburn and it continued in existence for some years
after her death. In the late 1860s and again in the late 1890s Harriet
applied for a federal pension for her Civil War services. Some 30
years after her service a private bill providing her a pension of $20
a month was passed by Congress.
Harriet Tubman died on March 19, 1913 in Auburn, New York.