The Harriet Tubman Home
The Harriet Tubman Home preserves the legacy of "The Moses of Her People" in the place where she lived and died in freedom. The site is located on 26 acres of land in Auburn, New York, and is owned and operated by the AME Zion Church. It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman.
In 1857, Harriet Tubman relocated her parents from St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada to Auburn, NY. She was provided a two story brick home [photo] on the outskirts of Auburn, by her friend, William H. Seward. A short time later he sold the property to Tubman for a modest sum, an illegal transaction at the time. Seward was at that time the US Senator from New York.
In 1863, Tubman led a group of African American Union soldiers on raids along the Comcahee River in South Carolina. There she met a soldier named Nelson Davis. They were married in Auburn in 1869, with the Sewards among the many friends in attendance. Davis and Tubman lived in a brick house on the property until his death in 1888. That house is now used as home for the Resident Manager of the Harriet Tubman Home.
In 1896, Tubman purchased at auction the 25 acre parcel on which the Home stands, for $1450. At this time she was receiving a $20 monthly pension that had been awarded to her by the Congress. Unable to raise sufficient funds on her own, she deeded the property to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1903. In 1908, the Harriet Tubman Home was opened, in the frame structure that still stands [photo], and the original brick home, which has since been demolished. Throughout her remaining life, from 12 to 15 persons were housed there.
After Tubman's death the home continued to operate for a few years, and was then closed. The existing frame building was vacant from 1928 until it was ordered demolished by the city in 1944 [photo]. Bishop William J. Walls of the AME Zion church organized a fund drive, which raised $30,000 for restoration of the Home. The restored Home was dedicated on April 13, 1953 as a memorial to Tubman's life and work, under the auspices of the AME Zion church.
Since 1953 the Church has constructed two new buildings on the site, the Library, pictured at right in the photo, and a large assembly hall, visible at left. Some articles of furniture, and a portrait that belonged to Harriet Tubman are now on display in the Home.
The Harriet Tubman Home is open to visitors Tuesday through Friday from 11 AM to 4 PM, and Saturdays by appointment. Extended hours are available in February (Black History Month).
Special events commemorating Harriet Tubman are held each year on Memorial Day Weekend. Persons interested in receiving information about these events are urged to contact the Home for more information.
The Harriet Tubman Home receives no outside funding, and relies on contributions from persons and organizations that support its mission. Volunteer opportunities exist for persons able to contribute to the Home's many programs. Financial contributions are needed to support the cost of adding to the home's library, and to its collection of materials related to Harriet Tubman and her life. Because the Home was abandoned for an extended period prior to its restoration in 1953, original artifacts associated with Harriet Tubman are particularly desired.
Persons able to contribute to the work of the home can make arrangements for volunteering, or for tax-deductible contributions by contacting the Resident Manager.
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Great Vacation Drives follows Tubman's route.