Her real name was Harriet Beecher Stowe. Born as a salve on June 14, 1820 on a plantation in Maryland. There were 8 children in her family and she was the sixth. When she was five, her Mother died. Her Father remarried one year later and in time had three more children.
Her Father always wanted her to be a boy. When Harriet was only 13 years old, she tried to stop a person from being whipped and went between the two people. The white man hit her in the head with a shovel and she blacked out. From then on she had awful migraines and would sometimes just collapse on the ground while she was working. She served as a field hand and house servant on a Maryland plantation.
In 1844 she married John Tubman, who was a free black. In 1849 she escaped to the North, where slaves could be free before the outbreak of the American Civil war. In 1861 she made 19 trips back to help lead other slaves. She led them to freedom along the clandestine route known as the Underground Railroad. She also led an estimated 300 slaves to freedom including her mother and father and six of her 11 brothers and sisters.
Adult YearsHarriets first rescue was in Baltimore, where she led her sister, Mary Ann Bowlet and her two children to the North. In 1849, Harriet was to be sold to a slave trader. She was taken from her husband and didnt know where she was going to end up. She escaped that night.
She traveled only when it was dark and slept during the day. She would hide in haystacks, barns, and houses. Harriet would always carry a revolver during her many trips to the South because a slave who returned to slavery could reveal people who facilitated the passages of escapees by offering them food ad shelter. Harriet would threaten to shoot anyone who out of fear of being caught decided to return during the trip north. Slave owners offer a $40,000 reward to release the free slaves. Harriet was a legendary figure.
The black children would call her Aunt Harriet. Harriet got a letter from Queen Victoria in the mail. She was the Queen of England. She invited Harriet to her birthday and also sent her 2 boxes filled with a black silk shawl, and a medal which showed the queens family. It was her Diamond Jubilee Medal. Towards the end of the war Harriet went to the hospital at Fort Monroe.
She cleaned up the hospital, got them supplied, and trained a hospital staff. As Lee surrendered to General Grant, Harriet reorganized the entire hospital kitchen. She was appointed the Matron of the Hospital. Harriet later found out that her husband, John Tubman, is dead. He was shot in an argument with a plantation owner. Later, Harriet married Nelson Davis.
Nelson had a disease. Harriet helped him to establish a brickyard, sometimes working at his side making bricks. Nelson lived until 1888. After his death, William Henry, a widower, came to stay with Harriet.
Harriet outlived most of her friends, but still made trips to Boston and New York to raise money for her schools in the South and in the Alcotts. Her income came from farm produce she raised and peddled door to door in Auburn. Harriet would sometimes visit neighbors and ask for vegetables for soup or a few pennies to tide her over. She would ne.
. . . . ver beg for anything, but only borrow.
They were all carefully repaid when she sold crops or when a donation from Boston came. When her mortgage payments on her home were overdue and the bank threatened to evict her and her children, Harriets close friend and neighbor, Mrs. Sarah Hopkins Bradford wrote the story of Harriets life. The book sold well and Harriet got twelve hundred dollars out of it, more than enough to pay off her debt to the bank. Harriets money soon was just about gone between the schools in the South and the need who always crowded her warm kitchen.
It soon got harder to make a living. She wrote a letter to congress saying, My claim against the United States is for the three years as a nurse and cook in hospitals and as commander of several men as scouts during the late War of Rebellion, under directions and orders of Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, and of several .