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Home of Harriet Tubman’s Father Found By Maryland Archaeologists
The home of Harriet Tubman’s father, Ben Ross, has been discovered by archaeologists in Maryland.
The home where Ross once lived, dubbed as Ben 10’s, was found on property acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge extension in Dorchester County, Maryland in 2020.
“For several years we believe that Mr. Ross harvested trees on the property and sold the timber, and the timber was then transported to shipyards by free Black mariners to use to make ships in Baltimore,” Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford told NBC News.
What’s fascinating about the site is the artifacts on the site date back to the early 1800s. Historians believe Ross acquired the approximately 10 acres in the early 1840s from a slave owner who wrote in his will that Ross should be freed five years after his death and inherit the land.
State Highway Administration Chief Archaeologist Julie Schablitsky said after she and her team dug about 1,000 holes, she decided to use her metal detector. That’s how she discovered a 50 cent coin that dated back to 1808, which coincides with the date Ross and his wife married.
“We looked at those artifacts closer and confirmed that these artifacts do date to the time period when he was living there,” Schablitsky said. “With the artifacts, the archaeology, the evidence of a building and just the location, knowing he worked in the timbered wetlands, those multiple lines of evidence told us unequivocally that this is the home of Ben Ross.”
Tubman, whose name is Araminta Ross, was born in the early 1820s.
“The discovery of Ben Ross’ cabin is a major find,” said Rutherford. “This discovery adds to another puzzle piece to the story of Harriet Tubman, the state of Maryland and our nation.”
Historians say Tubman worked alongside her father as a teen, which is how she learned to navigate the land and waterways she would later use to lead enslaved people to freedom.
The land will eventually be added to the Tubman Byway.