Harriet Ross Tubman was born a slave in Dorchester County Maryland, in 1820(or 1821 depending on the source. ) There were no records kept about the date of birth of children born into slavery, so there are many guesses that have been listed. She was born with the name Aramita Ross, but her mother’s name, Harriet, became her name as she got older. Before the age of five she was put to work in the house on a plantation, but when she got older she was hired out as a field laborer.
When she turned about 11 years old she began to wear Bandanas, as was the custom on plantations, and people started to call her Harriet. 1 When she was a teenager (age 15 or 13 depending on sources), Harriet tried to help a runaway slave avoid punishment. She was hit with a lead weight by an overseer unintentionally, sending her into a coma. She did come out of the coma, but her recovery was not complete, for she suffered blackouts from the blow for the rest of her life.
The disease we would might say resulted from the blow is narcolepsy. She would sleep and appear to be lazy which, got her in trouble on more than one occasion. 2 She escaped Slavery by running to Philadelphia in 1849, after hearing that she would be sold, since the owners of her plantation had died. Harriet at the time, had a husband who was a free man named John Tubman.
They were married in 1844 and she was allowed to sleep in his cabin at night. Harriet had mentioned the idea of escaping and John told Harriet that he had no interest in leaving his home in the south. He even threatened Harriet that if she did try and run away, he would tell her master. After Harriet escaped he married another woman.
When she came back for her husband, she was confronted by him and he told her he was not leaving. Not at all moved by his reaction, Harriet proceeded to rescue other slaves from the south on that trip. Harriet had planned to escape with her two brothers, since they had heard they might be sold to a southern chain gang. The way that salves communicated to each other was in code. they would not met and say that they were running away.
Harriet let he people know that she was running away, by singing to them before she left. Her biography written originally in 1886, gives a quote of many songs she sane, including the one she sang before leaving her plantation. “When dat ar ole chariot comes, I’m gwine to lebe you, I’m bound for the promised land, Frien’s, I’m gwine to lebe you. “3 They started off with her late one night, but went back home after losing courage. Harriet’s escape was based on a great deal of chance and luck.
She was fortunate to get a ride with a couple who happened to be abolitionists and were willing to help her travel north. Harriet arrived in Philadelphia and met William Still, a free Pennsylvanian black man, and a station master for the underground railroad. (The code name for the route used to help slaves escape to the north. ) Harriet found a job here where she was able to support herself and rescue other slaves via the underground railroad.
4 The first people Harriet helped escape from the south was her sister, Ann Bowley and her two children from Baltimore, Maryland to Pennsylvania. She sent them a message to board a boat to Bodkin’s point and from there she guided them to Pennsylvania. 5 She help over 300 slaves escape from the south, on 19 trips, bringing along a loaded revolver to give those who were afraid of being caught, giving them some courage by threatening them with it. She would not go back and she did not lose any of her passengers while she worked on the underground railroad. When she returned to the south, after her attempt to rescue her husband, she was presented with a large number of passengers, on the underground railroad to guide north.
It was after the fugitive slave law had been .