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Harriet Tubman (Araminta Harriet Ross) was born into slavery in 1819 or 1820, in Dorchester County, Maryland. Given the names of her two parents, both held in slavery, she was of purely African ancestry. She was raised under harsh conditions, and subjected to whippings even as a small child. At the age of 12 she was seriously injured by a blow to the head, inflicted by a white overseer for refusing to assist in tying up a man who had attempted escape.Source: http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/life.htm
Tubman was given a piece of paper by a white neighbor with two names, and told how to find the first house on her path to freedom. At the first house she was put into a wagon, covered with a sack, and driven to her next destination. Following the route to Pennsylvania, she initially settled in Philadelphia, where she met William Still, the Philadelphia Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad. With the assistance of Still, and other members of the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, she learned about the workings of the UGRR.In 1851 she began relocating members of her family to St. Catharines, (Ontario) Canada West. North Street in St. Catharines remained her base of operations until 1857. There she worked at various activities to save to finance her activities as a Conductor on the UGRR.
After freeing herself from slavery, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland to rescue other members of her family. In all she is believed to have conducted approximately 300 persons to freedom in the North.
After the outbreak of the Civil War, Tubman served as a soldier, spy, and a nurse, for a time serving at Fortress Monroe. While guiding a group of black soldiers in South Carolina, she met Nelson Davis, who was ten years her junior. Denied payment for her wartime service, Tubman was forced, after a bruising fight, to ride in a baggage car on her return to Auburn.