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Harriet Tubman

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Harriet Tubman Famous memorial Veteran

Original Name
Araminta Ross
Birth
Woolford, Dorchester County, Maryland, USA
Death
10 Mar 1913 (aged 90–91)
Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA
Burial
Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA GPS-Latitude: 42.9243436, Longitude: -76.5748998
Plot
West Lawn C, Lot 439
Memorial ID
View Source
Civil Rights Leader, Social Reformer, Community activist, Freedom fighter, and Civil War spy, scout, and nurse. A fugitive slave and abolitionist leader during a period of profound racial, social, and economic upheaval in the United States, she became known as the most famous guide of the Underground Railroad, a secret network that, during the mid-1800s, helped enslaved people escape to freedom in the northern and western United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. Nicknamed the "Moses of her people," she was never caught and she never lost a "passenger" to the slave catchers. Standing only five feet tall and suffering from sudden epileptic seizures because of a head injury received as a child, Tubman nevertheless possessed the courage and resolve to face physical danger many times while pursuing freedom for herself and other enslaved people in 19th-century America.

Originally named Araminta "Minty" Ross, she was born into slavery on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, near Madison and Woolford during late February or early March 1822. She was the fifth of nine children of Benjamin and Harriet "Rit" Green Ross who strove to provide a loving and nurturing environment for their children despite the enslavers' determination to keep them apart. They shared with their children a strong religious faith and love of family and community. Her parents and other members of the community taught her how to survive in the forests, fields, and marshes, which later proved vital during her rescue missions.

Tubman's grandparents were likely born in Africa and brought to America in chains against their will during the mid-to-late 18th century. Three of Tubman's sisters - Linah, Soph, and Mariah Ritty - were sold to slave traders and never heard from again.

She rarely lived with her family because her enslaver, Edward Brodess began leasing her to other farmers from the age of six. She had to work as a domestic servant, child's nurse, and field hand. At age 13, Tubman endured a near-fatal head injury when an irate overseer threw a two-pound iron weight at a fleeing enslaved man at the Bucktown Village Store, striking Tubman instead. She eventually recovered but suffered from debilitating seizures for the rest of her life. Though unable to read and write, Tubman had many gifts that attest to her great genius.

When Araminta Ross married freeman John Tubman around 1844, she changed her name to Harriet in honor of her mother. In the late 1840s, Tubman discovered that a will written in 1791 by Atthow Pattison, her mother's first enslaver, directed that Rit to be set free at the age of 45 around 1830, and that all her children should be set free when they reach the age of 45, too. Pattison's great-grandson, Edward Brodess, did not free Rit nor any of her children. Tubman hired a lawyer to file suit and gain freedom for her mother and other family members, but the suit dragged on for years without effect.

From 1847 to 1849, she worked in neighboring Caroline County, Maryland, for Dr. Anthony Thompson, Jr., a physician, real estate speculator, and Methodist clergyman. The death of Edward Brodess in March 1849 prompted his widow to try to sell Tubman and her siblings. Rather than risk being sold away from her family and friends, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia later that fall. "When I found I had crossed that line," Tubman later recalled, "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." But, she concluded, "there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land and my home, after all, was down in Maryland, because my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free."

She immediately set into motion a plan to rescue them. Working as a cook and domestic, Tubman saved her wages to finance her repeated trips into Maryland to free her relatives and others, which eventually led to her freeing about 70 enslaved people. She also gave instructions to about 70 more who found their way to freedom independently.

Her missions were extremely dangerous and demanded great strength and endurance, both physically and mentally. Tubman sometimes used disguises to protect her identity on her rescue missions. She trusted in God to guide and protect her. She used specific signals to her charges whether it was safe or not to come out of hiding. She possessed leadership qualities that were quickly recognized by the men and women she escorted to freedom and the abolitionists with whom she worked. She carried a pistol for protection from slave catchers, but also threaten those who became afraid and wanted to return to slavery. She was close to some of the most powerful abolitionists in the country. These individuals supported Tubman's work financially and welcomed her into their homes when she needed shelter.

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, which made freedom precarious even for African Americans living in the North, Tubman was forced to settle many of her refugees in Canada, where they could live freely under the protection of Great Britain. From 1851 to 1858, she lived Philadelphia and in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She purchased a small farm in Auburn, New York, from William Henry Seward and his wife Frances in May 1859, where she settled her parents and other family and friends.

During the Civil War she worked for the United States Army in South Carolina as a spy and scout, nurse, cook, and domestic. During one military campaign - the Combahee River Raid - she guided Col. James Montgomery and his soldiers up the river, where they set fire to numerous plantations and liberated more than 750 enslaved people. She worked as a nurse, tending the wounded and dying. She later described her work: "I'd go to the hospital, I would, early every morning. I'd get a big chunk of ice, I would, and put it in a basin, and fill it with water; then I'd take a sponge and begin. First man I'd come to, I'd thrash away the flies, and they'd rise, they would, like bees round a hive. Then I'd begin to bathe their wounds, and by the time I'd bathed off three or four, the fire and heat would have melted the ice and made the water warm, and it would be as red as clear blood. Then I'd go and get more ice, I would, and by the time I got to the next ones, the flies would be round de first ones, black and thick as ever."

After the war, Tubman returned to Auburn and devoted herself to those she felt needed her help the most: children and the elderly. She cared for her parents, raised funds for schools and for formerly enslaved people, collected clothes for destitute children, found housing for the elderly, took orphans into her home, and assisted the poor and disabled. She worked closely with African American churches that had raised money for the Underground Railroad and provided overnight shelter for runaway slaves. She became active in the Women's Rights movement and was close with Susan B. Anthony and many other rights activists of the day.

Her first husband, John Tubman, did not join her after she fled to freedom, and he was murdered in Maryland in 1867. In 1869, she married Nelson Charles Davis, a formerly enslaved man 22 years her junior who had served in the Union Army. The marriage lasted 20 years until his death.

Despite the acclaim that had come Tubman's way as a result of her Underground Railroad activities, she always struggled financially. Tubman used the proceeds from her 1868 autobiography "Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman," as well as an expanded edition in 1886 called "Harriet: The Moses of Her People," to help support her farm and the people whom she cared for. With her characteristic penchant for action, Tubman purchased 25 acres of land adjoining her farm in 1896. Seven years later, with the help of the AME Zion Church, she established the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People. It officially opened its doors in 1908.

She spent the last two years of her life as a resident of her own Home for the Aged, where she died of pneumonia at 91 years of age on March 10, 1913. Tubman was buried with semi-military honors in Auburn's Fort Hill Cemetery. In 1914, the residents of Auburn held a special memorial service where they unveiled a bronze plaque on the county courthouse, which paid tribute to her many accomplishments. As the personification of courage and resilience in the fight for freedom, equality, justice, and self-determination, Tubman is an enduring figure among United States heroes. During World War II, a U.S. Liberty Ship was christened the Harriet Tubman in her honor. In 1978, the U. S. Postal Service issued a Harriet Tubman commemorative stamp. Poets, artists, and musicians continue to express their admiration for this unassuming yet courageous woman who led so many to freedom and helped undermine the institution of slavery. Today, there are two National Parks (Maryland and New York) dedicated to her life and legacy, a state park and visitor center in Maryland, and a 225+ mile scenic byway through Maryland and Delaware highlighting sites associated with her remarkable life. In June 2021, Harriet Tubman was posthumously inducted into the United States Army Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for her role as a spy and scout during the Civil War. There is an ongoing discussion to place her image on the front of a $20 bill.
Civil Rights Leader, Social Reformer, Community activist, Freedom fighter, and Civil War spy, scout, and nurse. A fugitive slave and abolitionist leader during a period of profound racial, social, and economic upheaval in the United States, she became known as the most famous guide of the Underground Railroad, a secret network that, during the mid-1800s, helped enslaved people escape to freedom in the northern and western United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. Nicknamed the "Moses of her people," she was never caught and she never lost a "passenger" to the slave catchers. Standing only five feet tall and suffering from sudden epileptic seizures because of a head injury received as a child, Tubman nevertheless possessed the courage and resolve to face physical danger many times while pursuing freedom for herself and other enslaved people in 19th-century America.

Originally named Araminta "Minty" Ross, she was born into slavery on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, near Madison and Woolford during late February or early March 1822. She was the fifth of nine children of Benjamin and Harriet "Rit" Green Ross who strove to provide a loving and nurturing environment for their children despite the enslavers' determination to keep them apart. They shared with their children a strong religious faith and love of family and community. Her parents and other members of the community taught her how to survive in the forests, fields, and marshes, which later proved vital during her rescue missions.

Tubman's grandparents were likely born in Africa and brought to America in chains against their will during the mid-to-late 18th century. Three of Tubman's sisters - Linah, Soph, and Mariah Ritty - were sold to slave traders and never heard from again.

She rarely lived with her family because her enslaver, Edward Brodess began leasing her to other farmers from the age of six. She had to work as a domestic servant, child's nurse, and field hand. At age 13, Tubman endured a near-fatal head injury when an irate overseer threw a two-pound iron weight at a fleeing enslaved man at the Bucktown Village Store, striking Tubman instead. She eventually recovered but suffered from debilitating seizures for the rest of her life. Though unable to read and write, Tubman had many gifts that attest to her great genius.

When Araminta Ross married freeman John Tubman around 1844, she changed her name to Harriet in honor of her mother. In the late 1840s, Tubman discovered that a will written in 1791 by Atthow Pattison, her mother's first enslaver, directed that Rit to be set free at the age of 45 around 1830, and that all her children should be set free when they reach the age of 45, too. Pattison's great-grandson, Edward Brodess, did not free Rit nor any of her children. Tubman hired a lawyer to file suit and gain freedom for her mother and other family members, but the suit dragged on for years without effect.

From 1847 to 1849, she worked in neighboring Caroline County, Maryland, for Dr. Anthony Thompson, Jr., a physician, real estate speculator, and Methodist clergyman. The death of Edward Brodess in March 1849 prompted his widow to try to sell Tubman and her siblings. Rather than risk being sold away from her family and friends, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia later that fall. "When I found I had crossed that line," Tubman later recalled, "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." But, she concluded, "there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land and my home, after all, was down in Maryland, because my father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free."

She immediately set into motion a plan to rescue them. Working as a cook and domestic, Tubman saved her wages to finance her repeated trips into Maryland to free her relatives and others, which eventually led to her freeing about 70 enslaved people. She also gave instructions to about 70 more who found their way to freedom independently.

Her missions were extremely dangerous and demanded great strength and endurance, both physically and mentally. Tubman sometimes used disguises to protect her identity on her rescue missions. She trusted in God to guide and protect her. She used specific signals to her charges whether it was safe or not to come out of hiding. She possessed leadership qualities that were quickly recognized by the men and women she escorted to freedom and the abolitionists with whom she worked. She carried a pistol for protection from slave catchers, but also threaten those who became afraid and wanted to return to slavery. She was close to some of the most powerful abolitionists in the country. These individuals supported Tubman's work financially and welcomed her into their homes when she needed shelter.

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, which made freedom precarious even for African Americans living in the North, Tubman was forced to settle many of her refugees in Canada, where they could live freely under the protection of Great Britain. From 1851 to 1858, she lived Philadelphia and in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. She purchased a small farm in Auburn, New York, from William Henry Seward and his wife Frances in May 1859, where she settled her parents and other family and friends.

During the Civil War she worked for the United States Army in South Carolina as a spy and scout, nurse, cook, and domestic. During one military campaign - the Combahee River Raid - she guided Col. James Montgomery and his soldiers up the river, where they set fire to numerous plantations and liberated more than 750 enslaved people. She worked as a nurse, tending the wounded and dying. She later described her work: "I'd go to the hospital, I would, early every morning. I'd get a big chunk of ice, I would, and put it in a basin, and fill it with water; then I'd take a sponge and begin. First man I'd come to, I'd thrash away the flies, and they'd rise, they would, like bees round a hive. Then I'd begin to bathe their wounds, and by the time I'd bathed off three or four, the fire and heat would have melted the ice and made the water warm, and it would be as red as clear blood. Then I'd go and get more ice, I would, and by the time I got to the next ones, the flies would be round de first ones, black and thick as ever."

After the war, Tubman returned to Auburn and devoted herself to those she felt needed her help the most: children and the elderly. She cared for her parents, raised funds for schools and for formerly enslaved people, collected clothes for destitute children, found housing for the elderly, took orphans into her home, and assisted the poor and disabled. She worked closely with African American churches that had raised money for the Underground Railroad and provided overnight shelter for runaway slaves. She became active in the Women's Rights movement and was close with Susan B. Anthony and many other rights activists of the day.

Her first husband, John Tubman, did not join her after she fled to freedom, and he was murdered in Maryland in 1867. In 1869, she married Nelson Charles Davis, a formerly enslaved man 22 years her junior who had served in the Union Army. The marriage lasted 20 years until his death.

Despite the acclaim that had come Tubman's way as a result of her Underground Railroad activities, she always struggled financially. Tubman used the proceeds from her 1868 autobiography "Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman," as well as an expanded edition in 1886 called "Harriet: The Moses of Her People," to help support her farm and the people whom she cared for. With her characteristic penchant for action, Tubman purchased 25 acres of land adjoining her farm in 1896. Seven years later, with the help of the AME Zion Church, she established the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People. It officially opened its doors in 1908.

She spent the last two years of her life as a resident of her own Home for the Aged, where she died of pneumonia at 91 years of age on March 10, 1913. Tubman was buried with semi-military honors in Auburn's Fort Hill Cemetery. In 1914, the residents of Auburn held a special memorial service where they unveiled a bronze plaque on the county courthouse, which paid tribute to her many accomplishments. As the personification of courage and resilience in the fight for freedom, equality, justice, and self-determination, Tubman is an enduring figure among United States heroes. During World War II, a U.S. Liberty Ship was christened the Harriet Tubman in her honor. In 1978, the U. S. Postal Service issued a Harriet Tubman commemorative stamp. Poets, artists, and musicians continue to express their admiration for this unassuming yet courageous woman who led so many to freedom and helped undermine the institution of slavery. Today, there are two National Parks (Maryland and New York) dedicated to her life and legacy, a state park and visitor center in Maryland, and a 225+ mile scenic byway through Maryland and Delaware highlighting sites associated with her remarkable life. In June 2021, Harriet Tubman was posthumously inducted into the United States Army Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, for her role as a spy and scout during the Civil War. There is an ongoing discussion to place her image on the front of a $20 bill.

Bio by: Curtis Jackson


Inscription

To The Memory of
HARRIET TUBMAN DAVIS
Heroine of the Underground Railroad
Nurse and Scout in the Civil War
Born about 1820 in Maryland
Died March 10, 1913 at Auburn, N.Y.
"Servant of God, Well Done"
Erected by the
Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs
July 5, 1937



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: Apr 25, 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1247/harriet-tubman: accessed ), memorial page for Harriet Tubman (Mar 1822–10 Mar 1913), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1247, citing Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.