Childhood and Family life

Harriet Tubman's house by Casey Shearn

Harriet Tubman was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland around 1821. She, like her parents, was born into slavery . Her mother was Harriet Greene, who was nick-named "Old Rit" by the other slaves. Harriet's father was Benjamin Ross, nick-named "Old Ben". Harriet Tubman's real name was Araminta Ross.She took the name Harriet from her mother, and Tubman after her first husband. Harriet was one of 11 children born to Harriet Greene and Benjamin Ross.

Harriet was born on the Brodas Plantation. Edward Brodas was the owner , and people said that he was the meanest slave owner around. Harriet spent her younger days with the other young children, while under a babysitter's care. Their babysitter was an older slave who was too old to work. As soon as Harriet was of age, Mr. Brodas sent her to work in the fields picking cotton. A man by the name of James Cook hired out Harriet. He made her fetch muskrats and wade in bone chilling water, for the fish that would get caught in his traps. After a few trips into the icy water, she caught the measles and bronchitis.Harriet would have to sleep and eat with Mr. Cook's dogs.

Harriet as a kid, working for Miss Susan, with the child that she was a nanny for in 1855 ,

When she was about eight years old she was hired out again. This time she was hired out to a lady by the name of Miss Susan. Miss Susan had just had a baby and wanted a nanny to care for her. She took Harriet to her house and made her clean. Harriet had no idea what to do, because she had never worked in doors, so the lady beat her for not obeying her.Miss Susan's sister was in town and she taught Harriet how to clean and care for the new baby. Harriet was beaten every time the baby would cry in the night. Once Ms. Susan caught Harriet sucking on a lump of sugar and came at her with a rawhide switch. Harriet ran and ran until she finally out ran the mistress. For about a week Harriet lived in a pig pen, fighting for scraps of food. She was very scared of the mother pig. Then Harriet had to return to Miss Susan's house because she needed food. Harriet got beaten bad.


Miss Susan then returned Harriet to the Brodas Plantation and told Edward, the owner, that she wasn't worth anything. Old Rit, Harriet's mother, cleaned her scars and made them less noticeable. While running Harriet had had her first feeling of freedom. Harriet then learned to work in the fields. A few years later Harriet was hired out again, this time to a middle aged man. Here, she worked out doors loading and splitting wood. As Harriet's muscles began to grow she started performing tasks that a grown man would have had trouble doing. Even her new owner had no compassion for the back breaking jobs that she was doing. He whipped her if any task was not finished.


Harriet Tubman


By the age of twelve Harriet had received several whippings and got a terrible blow to the head when she refused to hold a slave down so the white man could beat him. Harriet got between the man and the slave so the slave could run. The white man threw a brick at the slave but instead of hitting the slave he hit Harriet. That fractured her skull and even though she recovered she had occasional blackouts for the rest of her life. Harriet escaped slavery by, when she was supposed to be helping a white man tie up a slave, she put herself into a bag and was thrown in the back of a truck. From that point on, even though she would become a slave and she escaped periodically, she helped free every slave that she could.


Her first husband was John Tubman. John Tubman helped her with the Underground Railroad. Without him the railroad wouldn't have ran as well. When she found out one night that she was going to be sold she ran away ; she knew that her husband would reveal her secret, so she told only her sister. Harriet hiked through swamps and marshy lands to get to Philadelphia. Then she worked as a dishwasher to earn money. She planned to rescue her family who were still slaves in the South, when she received enough money.

Harriet in her older years
The next year she traveled to Maryland where she rescued her sister's family. Then she returned to rescue her brothers and take them to the North. Harriet went back for her husband but she found him wedded with another woman.
In 1857, Harriet finally returned for her parents and resettled them in Auburn, New York. By this time many slave owners were offering a lot of money to find Harriet. In 1869 Harriet married Nelson Davis in Auburn, New York. During her life Harriet made 19 trips to the South to free slaves. On March 10, 1913 Harriet died. Auburn, New York paid a tribute to Harriet Tubman on July 12, 1914 and most of the flags were flown at half-mast that day.

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