The Brodess Farm, Childhood Home of Harriet Tubman
Backstory and Context
Edward Brodess frequently hired out his slaves, because his small farm didn’t provide enough work for them all. He had eight children to provide for, so he kept his slaves busy by sending them off to work at neighboring farms. He was said to be a brutal and abusive slave owner. Tubman’s mother, Rit, and her children experienced emotional and physical abuse from Brodess. Tubman suffered from being sold to different farms by Brodess, as well. In 1825, the Brodess farm was struggling financially and Brodess soon sold Harriet’s older sisters Miriah, Linah and Soph.
When Tubman was interviewed about her experiences at the Brodess farm, she said she seldom stayed with the Brodess family. Tubman’s brothers Ben and Robert suffered the most at the hand of Brodess. In an interview, Robert said Brodess wasn’t fit to own a dog. In an interview, Ben said if you knew what they did to the slaves, your hair would stand on end and skin would crawl.
The Brodess Farm is now gone with only an informational plaque recording the brutal history of the farm. The farm is one of 36 historical sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway that highlights important locations of Tubman’s life and the Underground Railroad. Visitors can visit the site as a self-guided driving tour or request a tour guide from the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway Visitor Center.
Early Life: Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman Historical Society. . Accessed September 04, 2018. http://www.harriet-tubman.org/early-life/.
TryppAdams. "Harriet Tubman Birthplace Marker." Trip Advisor, Trip Advisor, October 2014, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g41038-d7146835-Reviews-Harriet_Tubman_Birthplace_Mark...
Lindsley, Harvey B. "Harriet Tubman, full-length portrait, standing with hands on back of a chair." Library of Congress, Library of Congress, between ca. 1871 and 1876, https://www.loc.gov/item/2003674596/.