HARRIET TUBMAN TIMELINE
1785-1790 Harriet Tubman’s
parents, Ben Ross and Harriet “Rit” Green were probably born during this period in Dorchester County, Maryland. Both are
enslaved, but by different masters. Ben is owned by Anthony Thompson; Rit is enslaved by Atthow Pattison.
Pattison died and left Rit to his granddaughter, Mary Pattison.
1800 Mary Pattison married Joseph Brodess
of Bucktown, Maryland.
1801 Edward Brodess was born to Mary and Joseph Brodess.
Brodess probably died this year.
1803 Mary Pattison Brodess married widower Anthony Thompson of Church Creek.
and Rit marry about this time.
1810 Mary Pattison Brodess Thompson probably died during this year, leaving young
Edward under the guardianship of his step-father, Anthony Thompson.
1822 Araminta “Minty” Ross, later known as
Harriet Tubman, was born, probably in February or early March on Anthony Thompson’s plantation, located in the Peter's Neck
district along the Big Blackwater River, south of Tobacco Stick (now called Madison) in Dorchester County.
Brodess moved to his ancestral property on Greenbriar Road in Bucktown. He married Eliza Ann Keene in March, 1824. They had
eight children over the next twenty years.
1828-1835 Young Araminta was hired out by Brodess to various other
masters, some were cruel and negligent.
1834-1836 Araminta was struck on the head by an iron weight, nearly killing
her. She suffered from serious side affects from this head injury for the rest of her life.
1836 Anthony Thompson died.
was hired out to John T. Stewart of Tobacco Stick (now Madison).
1840 Ben Ross was given his freedom through
a provision in Thompson’s will.
1844 Araminta probably married freeman John Tubman this year. She took the name
Harriet at this time.
1847-1849 Harriet Tubman hired herself out to Dr. Anthony C. Thompson, Anthony Thompson’s
1849 Edward Brodess died in March, leaving his widow Eliza encumbered with debt. Harriet Tubman ran away
from slavery sometime during the late fall after hearing she might be sold.
1850 The Fugitive Slave Act was passed.
Tubman conducted her first rescue mission by helping her neice, Kessiah, and Kessiah’s two children, James Alfred and baby
1851-1852 Tubman assisted several other individuals escape enslavement on the Eastern Shore,
including her brother Moses. When she returns to Dorchester County in the fall of 1851 to bring her husband John to Philadelphia
with her, he refuses. He has remarried and moved on with his life.
1854 Tubman finally succeeds in rescuing her
brothers on Christmas Day, bringing them to freedom in Philadelphia and then St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. By now Harriet
has attracted the attention of abolitionists and Underground Railroad operators Thomas Garrett, William Still, Lucretia Mott,
1855-1860 Tubman made several more trips to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, trying to bring away another
sister, Rachel, and Rachel's children, Ben and Angerine. Though she was unsuccessful, she did bring away other friends and
relatives, many of whom settled in Canada. Altogether, Tubman brought to freedom about 70 individuals in approximately 13
trips, though she gave important instructions to scores more who found their way to freedom on their own.
brought away her aged parents from Caroline County, Maryland, when she learned her father was at risk of arrest for aiding
slaves to run away.
1858 In April, Harriet Tubman met John Brown at her home on North Street in St. Catharines,
Ontario, Canada. She remained a vital supporter of Brown's plans for an armed attack in the South.
1859 John Brown’s
Virginia raid ended in failure in October. Tubman purchased a home and seven acres of land from William H. Seward, President
Lincoln’s future Secretary of State, in Fleming (on the outskirts of Auburn), New York, in May. It was during this year that
Tubman became more publicly active, particularly in Boston where she gave many lectures as a heroic Underground Railroad operator.
1860 Tubman was involved in the dramatic rescue of fugitive slave Charles Nalle in Troy, New York.
Civil War starts with the firing of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in April.
1862-1865 Tubman worked as a cook,
nurse, laundress, teacher, scout and spy for the Union Forces stationed in the Hilton Head district in South Carolina, and
1863 Under the command of General James Montgomery, Tubman became the first woman to lead an armed
raid. On June 2, she led Montgomery’s forces, the 2nd South Carolina, up the Combahee River, where they routed rebel forces,
freed over 700 slaves, and burned buildings, crops, and stockpiles of munitions and food.
1865 The Civil War ended
and President Lincoln was assassinated in April. Tubman was hired to provide nursing service to wounded soldiers at Fortress
Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. On her way home to New York, she was violently thrown from a passenger train by a racist conductor,
severely injuring her.
1867 John Tubman, Harriet's husband, was murdered by Robert Vincent in Dorchester County,
after a dispute on a country road near his home in Dorchester County.
1869 Sarah Bradford published her first biography
called, “Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman.” Harriet married Nelson Davis at Central Presbyterian Church in Auburn.
Ben Ross, Tubman’s father, may have died this year.
1873 Tubman became involved in a mysterious gold swindle,
perpetrated by two con men, which left her badly beaten but her reputation still intact.
1880 Rit died. Tubman
continued to farm her seven acre property and run a small brick-making business with Davis.
1886 Sarah Bradford
published her second biography of Tubman, “Harriet Tubman, The Moses of Her People."
1888 Nelson Davis died of
1890s Tubman became more actively involved in the suffrage movement, attending both black and white
1896 Tubman purchased the 25 acre parcel next to her property to establish a home and hospital
for indigent, aged, and sick African Americans.
1903 Tubman transferred ownership of the 25 acre property to the
AME Zion Church.
1908 The Harriet Tubman Home was opened by the AME Zion Church.
1913 Tubman died on
March 10 and was buried next to her brother, William Henry Stewart, at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY.
Liberty Ship S.S. Harriet Tubman was launched at a South Portland, Maine shipyard.
Copyright © Kate Clifford Larson