How did Harriet Tubman die?

Harriet Tubman died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913. Before her death she told friends and family surrounding her death bed “I go to prepare a place for you”. Tubman was buried with military honors in the Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery. Her heirs were her niece, May Gaston; grandniece, Katy Steward and matron of the Harriet Tubman Home, Frances Smith. These three women inherited Tubman’s home and the seven acres surrounding it.

How old was Tubman when she died?

Tubman must have been between 88 and 98 years old when she died. She claimed in her pension application that she was born in 1825, her death certificate said she was born in 1815 and to add to the confusion, her gravestone indicated that she was born in 1820. So she could have been 88, 93 or 98 years old, or somewhere in between, when she died.

Tubman always looked older than she was. Years of hard labor had taken a toll on her. Her brain injury was everyday debilitating; she had brain surgery in Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital to alleviate pain. In 1911 she was too frail to live alone and moved next door to the Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly. During her last two years the charity home she created became her own home.

Tubman outlived many abolitionists of her era such as Frederick Douglass, William Seward and William Lloyd Garrison. She also outlived two husbands.

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Category: Biography, Later Years and Death