Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Jacobses in:
 • Mount Auburn Cemetery
 • Cambridge
 • Middlesex County
 • Massachusetts
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Birth: Feb. 11, 1813
Edenton
Chowan County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Mar. 7, 1897
Cambridge
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA

An American Writer and Activist. She was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina in 1813. Her mother, Delilah, was the slave of John Horniblow, a tavern-keeper, and her father, Daniel Jacobs, a slave owned by Dr. Andrew Knox. Her mother died when she was six years old and was brought up by her grandmother. In 1825 she was sold to Dr. James Norcom, who made numerous sexual advances towards her. When rebuffed, Norcom refused her permission to marry. She was seduced by Samuel Sawyer, a lawyer, and she had two children Joseph and Louisa by him. Dr. Norcom continued to sexually harass her and threatened to sell her children to a slave-dealer. By 1835 her domestic situation had become unbearable, and she managed to escape. She hid in the home of a slaveowner in Edenton to keep an eye on her children. After a short stay, she took refuge in a swamp called Cabarrus Pocosin. The inexorable harshness of her master drove her to seek refuge in her grandmother Molly's attic, where she lived alone for seven years in gloomy isolation. About 9 feet long, 7 feet wide and 3 feet high, the attic admitted no light until she drilled a tiny hole. It was stifling in the summer and frigid in winter, home to rodents and stinging insects. She could not stand up, and when she rolled over she bumped her head on the roof. Despite the discomfort and the isolation, she preferred staying there to living as Norcom's slave. She lived grandmother's attic before escaping to the North by boat to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1842. Her children lived with her grandmother. Before she escaped from North Carolina, Sawyer purchased her two children from Norcom and gave them freedom. She eventually went to Philadelphia, and finally made her way to New York where she ultimately secured her freedom. She worked as a nursemaid, and wrote on the side, publishing some of her slavery experiences in the New York Tribune, until her serial story was cancelled because it was too shocking for some readers. She continued to write and work, and her book, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, was published in Boston in 1861 under the pseudonym "Linda Brent". Her book was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual abuse they endured. In addition, she was a reformer, Civil War and Reconstruction relief worker, and antislavery activist. During the war, she began a career working among black refugees. In 1863 she and her daughter moved to Alexandria, where they supplied emergency relief, organized primary medical care, and established the Jacobs Free School for the refugees. After the war, she and her daughter sailed to England and successfully raised money for a home for Savannah's black orphans and aged. Moving to Washington, D.C., she continued to work among the destitute freed people and her daughter worked in the newly established "colored schools" and, later, at Howard University. In 1896, she was present at the organizing meetings of the National Association of Colored Women. (bio by: Jackie) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Elijah Knox
  Delilah Horniblow
 
 Children:
  Joseph Jacobs (1829 - ____)*
  Louisa Matilda Jacobs (1833 - 1913)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge
Middlesex County
Massachusetts, USA
Plot: Clethra Path Section, Lot 4389.
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Jackie
Record added: Oct 26, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16338196
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Added by: In Memory
 
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Added by: Midnightdreary
 
Harriet Ann Jacobs
Added by: BobBoston
 
There are 4 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

You Are Guilty Of Love In The Degree for all you did to protect your children and secure the future, I salute you today. 201 years after your birth and 117 years after your death.
- Tyler Harris
 Added: Jul. 20, 2014
For all the Christmases you missed up in the attic. You have my heart
- Vicki Marie Gibbons
 Added: Jun. 26, 2014

- Diane Payne
 Added: Jun. 2, 2014
There are 97 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (3.9 after 29 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service