Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland in 1821. As a girl she worked as a field hand. In 1844 she married John Tubman, but they soon seperated. When her owner died in 1849 and she was threatened with sale to the Deep South, she escaped to Philadelphia. In December 1850 she returend to Baltimore and helped her sister and two children to escape, fetching her brother's family in 1851. She became active in the 'Underground Railway' helping up to 300 fugitive slaves to reach the northern states and Canada. Furing the early 1850s she lived in Ontario where she acted as adviser to John Brown, but in 1858 she moved to Auburn, New York, where she also settled her parents who had been rescued from the South.
She became a noted speaker in the abolitonist and women's rights movements, and during the Civil War worked as cook,laundress, nurse, spy and scout for the Union army. In 1869 she married Nelson Davies and worked with him founding freedmen schools, teaching and preaching. A deeply religious, energetic activist, she also founded a home for elderly black people in Auburn, partly financed by the sale of Sarah Bradford's biography (Harriet Tubman, the Moses of her people).
Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography