8. Malone’s Church
For decades before the Civil War, four nearby communities, connected by footpaths through the woods, provided a strong social network among free and enslaved blacks. As soon as the war ended, these communities established their own African American churches. Founded in 1864, Malone’s Methodist Episcopal Church was the first. Their immediate formation after emancipation indicates that strong faith communities existed long before freedom came.
Beginning in the 1790s, a small but growing free black community established itself on lands surrounding this church. Over the years, more free families settled this area between Harrisville and White Marsh roads, known as Peter’s Neck. Many intermarried with enslaved families held in bondage by the local white landowners. This community created an important social world for Harriet and her family. The people timbered the land, farmed and worked the docks in nearby Madison.
Araminta Ross or “Minty,” later known as Harriet Tubman, was probably born in 1822 at Anthony Thompson’s farm on nearby Harrisville Road. Thompson cultivated grains and other foodstuffs, but timbering the white oak, pine, walnut and maple on his lands occupied the majority of his enslaved people’s efforts. By the time Harriet was born, Thompson enslaved nearly 40 people, including Ben Ross, her father. Ben was one of Thompson’s most valuable men. As a timber cutter and inspector, Ben’s skills increased the profitability of Thompson’s lands.
Tubman’s mother, Rit belonged to Thompson’s stepson, Edward Brodess, who later moved Rit and five of her children, including young Araminta (Harriet Tubman), to his farm in Bucktown. By 1840, Rit, Tubman, and several siblings were back living on Thompson’s farm. Harriet Tubman’s birth site is on private property. Nearly 200 years after her birth, no structural evidence of slave quarters remains at the site. Oral tradition suggests that Harriet Tubman worked and lived near the historic Malone’s Methodist Episcopal Church with her free husband, John Tubman.
White Marsh Road
Madison, MD 21648
GPS Coordinates: 38.491430,-76.216678
- Parking on site