Gertie Davis is the adopted daughter of legendary American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman. She was adopted and named Gertie by Harriet and her husband, Nelson Charles Davis who was a war veteran.
Gertie’s life story revolves around her mother who was born into slavery but later escaped and turned out to be the hope of other enslaved people by freeing them through the Underground Railroad. She is also a strong humanitarian known for advocating for women’s voting rights.
Gertie Davis Was Adopted by Harriet Tubman in 1874
Not much is in the public space about Gertie Davis’ life especially before she was adopted by Nelson Charles Davis and Harriet Tubman in 1874. As it is, much of what is known about her revolves around her famous Nelson and Harriet who officially turned her parents in 1874.
Gertie’s parents got married on March 18, 1869, at the Central Presbyterian Church. This was five years before Gertie’s adoption.
Meanwhile, Gertie’s mother was birthed into slavery as Araminat Ross to Harriet ‘Rit’ Green and Ben Ross. Growing up in slavery was quite challenging for her as she set out for work at an early age as a nursemaid, cook, and woodcutter. before she escaped to Philadelphia and became a free woman and abolitionist.
Intriguing Facts About Gertie Davis
1. Her Mother Had an Injury on Her Skull as a Result of Maltreatment During Slavery
Gertie’s mother, Harriet Tubman was abused physically in her teens by her slave masters. One such incident caused a bad injury to her skull. As a result of the hit she suffered by her slave masters, she suffered periodic seizures all her lifetime and some researchers believed it may have been a form of epilepsy.
The incident happened when she got into her master’s way for trying to punish another slave who attempted to escape. The act of mistreatment at that time was common in many slave camps and fields.
2. Gertie’s Mother Was Thought to Have a Biological Daughter
According to reports, Gertie’s mother had a biological daughter named Magret. However, Tubman has said that Margaret is her niece. Margaret surfaced after one of Gertie’s rescue missions in 1859. But the striking resemblance Gertie’s mother had with the girl as observed by people has raised a lot of questions and suspicions. Also, Tubma was believed to share an unusually strong bond with Margaret.
3. Davis Lost Her Mother to Pneumonia in 1913
Following a lifetime of selflessness and service, Gertie’s mother passed away on March 10, 1913, after battling Pneumonia for two years. Unfortunately, Tubman died almost bankrupt because she struggled to pay her debts due to her charitable support for the people. Also, she gave part of her land in New York for a home for the aged which was later named after her. When she fell ill, she was taken to the home and was catered for till her demise.
Before her mother’s death, Gertie’s father passed on October 14, 1888, after suffering from Tuberculosis. It was alleged that he was unable to keep a job to his name because of the illness while he was alive, and as a result of that, Tubman took responsibility for taking care of her husband till he passed.
4. Tubman Was Honored After Her Death in The National Women’s Hall of Fame
The abolitionist mother was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1973, the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985, and the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 2019.
She has also been praised by many all around the world for being a revolutionary icon. Her story has inspired several authors and filmmakers. Moreover, films like Harriet Tubman: Soldier of Freedom (2021), Harriet (2019), and A Woman Called Moses (1978) have been made in her honor and other slaves.
Furthermore, Jack Lew, the previous U.S. Treasury Secretary from 2013 to 2017, mentioned adding Gertie’s mother’s portrait on the $20 bill in 2016. But the bill was suspended after Steven Mnchin said they had better issues to consider. However, the treasury department resumed efforts of adding Tubman’s portrait to the $20 bill in 2021 and there are hopes that this will pull through in the future.
5. What Truly Happened to Gertie Davis after Her Mother’s Death?
No information was made available about Gertie following her mother’s death on March 10, 191. This includes her life story and how she later passed away. However, some speculations suggest she died at a young age while others allege she died the same year 1913, as her mother.