Gertie-Davis
Gertie Davis | Biography

Quick Information

  • Full Name Gertie Davis
  • Nationality American
  • Father Nelson Davis
  • Mother Harriet Tubman
Adopted Daughter of American Abolitionist Harriet Tubman

Gertie Davis | Biography

Harriet Tubman married Nelson Davis, a Civil War veteran, on 18 March 1869. They met at her boarding house in Auburn. The couple then adopted a baby girl, Gertie, in 1874.


Gertie Davis is the adopted daughter of Harriet Tubman, famed as the “Moses of her people.”

Who Is Gertie Davis?

Gertie Davis was the adoptive daughter of Harriet Tubman and her second husband, Nelson Davis. She was adopted in 1874 after Harriet and Nelson got married in 1869. 

 Harriet’s first husband, John, stayed in Maryland instead of following his wife north, later remarrying. After the Civil Combat, Harriet also remarried a war soldier named Nelson Davis, 22 years younger. Later, the couple adopted Gertie Davis.

About Gertie Davis’ Mother

Harriet Tubman was born as Araminta Harriet Ross into slavery in Maryland in the 1820s. She worked in the house as a youngster but was soon sent out to undertake arduous fieldwork. Following the sale of three of her sisters, it was rumored that she, too, would be sold to the cotton fields further south. She realized she had to depart or never see her family again, so she set out on her own in 1849.

She escaped to the North in 1849, becoming the Underground Railroad’s most renowned “conductor.” On this sophisticated hidden network of safe homes, Harriet put her life on the line to release hundreds of relatives and other slaves from the plantation system. Harriet, a famous abolitionist before the American Civil War, also aided the Union Army throughout the conflict, serving as a spy, among other things.

Harriet traveled from the South to the North on the Underground Railroad network 19 times between 1850 and 1860. She led over 300 individuals from slavery to freedom, including her parents and several siblings, receiving the moniker “Moses” for her efforts.

Harriet dedicated her life after the Civil War to assist impoverished former slaves and the elderly. In 2016, the United States Treasury Department revealed that Harriet would substitute Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill in commemoration of her life and public demand.

First Husband

Harriet married John Tubman, a free Black man, in 1844. Around half of the African Americans on Maryland’s eastern shore were free during that time, and it was common for a household to include both free and enslaved members. There is little information about John or his marriage to Harriet. John chose to stay in Maryland with his new wife rather than travel to the Underground Railroad with Harriet.

Second Husband

Harriet then married Nelson Davis, a Civil War veteran, on 18 March 1869. They met at her boarding house in Auburn. The couple then adopted a baby girl, Gertie, in 1874.

How Did Gertie Davis’ Mother Die?

Harriet died of pneumonia on 10 March 1913, surrounded by friends and family at 93. Her head injuries, which she acquired early in her life, became increasingly severe and disruptive as she grew older. She underwent brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to relieve the symptoms and “buzzing” she was regularly experiencing. Harriet was eventually admitted to the nursing home that was named for her. She was laid to rest with military honors in Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery.

How Did Gertie Davis’ Father Die?

Nelson Davis passed away in 1888 of tuberculosis.

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