16. Brodess Farm
Harriet Tubman’s Childhood Home
Edward Brodess, Harriet Tubman’s enslaver, lived at this site. He moved Tubman’s mother Rit and her children to his farm in Bucktown after 1823 or 1824. Tubman spent her early years here and on nearby farms. No trace remains of Brodess’ original home that once sat near the existing house at the end of the lane.
Edward Brodess, with a small farm and few livestock, did not have enough work to fully employ all of his slaves. However, he had eight children to support, so he frequently hired his enslaved people out to neighboring farmers. Rit and her children suffered both emotionally and physically from these separations, one of the many injustices of the institution of slavery.
Harriet Tubman later told an interviewer that she seldom lived with the Brodesses. He was “never unnecessarily cruel; but as was common among slaveholders, he often hired out his slaves to others, some of whom proved to be tyrannical and brutal to the utmost limit of their power.” Harriet’s brothers, Ben and Robert, recalled harsher treatment at the hands of the Brodesses. Robert felt Edward Brodess “was not fit to own a dog.” Ben was more to the point: “Where I came from,” he later recalled, “it would make your flesh creep, and your hair stand on end, to know what they do to the slaves.”
Bucktown, MD 21613
GPS Coordinates: 38.459031,-76.048522
- Historic marker
- Small roadside pull-off