Local colored society was out in force last
evening to attend the dance and reception which brought to an end
the dedication day of the Harriet Tubman home. The evening
exercises were to have been given in the Maccabee temple, but a
misunderstanding in the date ended in a change of place to St.
George’s hall, for the evening’s festivities.
The exercises were scheduled for 9
o’clock, but it was after 10 when all the colored belles and their
escorts had arrived. It was too late for extended, exercises; and
in the absence of Bishop Harris of Binghamton, who was scheduled
to speak, extempore remarks were made by several members of the
Following a short concert by the Ithaca
colored band and several selections by talented vocalists, the
floor was cleared for the dancers who enjoyed a program lasting
till the morning hours.
The Ithaca band left for Syracuse, and
tomorrow will be in Rochester, giving concerts in both cities.
Among the clergymen present at the
afternoon exercises was the Rev. E.U. A. Brooks of Utica, who
comes here next Sunday to take up the duties of the local
pastorate of Zion.
Bishop C.R. Harris, D.D., of
Salisbury, N.C. , is the president of the board. Several of the
pastors of the Western New York conference were present yesterday,
and took part in the ceremonies. It was an occasion of great
rejoicing on the part of the colored people gathered at the home.
“Aunt Harriet” Tubman the founder of the home was the most
conspicuous figure at the ceremonies. She was the subject of many
eulogies for her self sacrifice in her long years of labor for the
establishment of the home. Her remarks were listened to with great
interest. Addresses were delivered by Bishop C.R. Harris, Rev. T.A.
Austin, E.H.A. Brooks, Dr. A.J.E. Mason, M.H. Ross, C. A. Smith,
J.C. Roberts, Mrs. R. Jerome Jeffrys of Rochester, and Rev. J.W.
Brown. At the business meeting of the home held after the opening
exercises a constitution was adopted and the home is ready for the
reception of inmates.
A sketch of the home may be of
interest to the readers of the Advertiser. Just 12 years ago this
month Harriet Tubman bought the property at a surrogate’s sale at
the Court house by Judge Turner. The property was bid off to
Harriet Tubman for $1,350. The money was to be paid in a few days
and Harriet Tubman came to the conference then being held at
Syracuse, and desired the Bishop to send a committee to Auburn.
The committee consisted of Rev. W.A. Ely, Rev. J.E. Mason and Rev.
G.C. Carter. After looking around for someone to take a mortgage
the Cayuga County Savings bank finally agreed to take one of
$1,000 if the balance of $350 was provided for. The work of
raising the $350 fell to the lot of Rev. G.C. Carter and in ten
days he had the entire amount raised, and paid into the bank.
The property was then deeded to “Aunt
Harriet” and for seven years Harriet Tubman looked personally
after the property. Mr. Eddy the real estate dealer, had the
buildings fitted up for rent. It sometimes puzzled “Aunt Harriet”
to know where the money was to come from to pay the taxes. At one
time she had to surrender her cows to get the money to pay taxes.
Four years ago Mrs. Tubman deeded the property to the A.M.E. Zion
Church in America to carry out her cherished wishes, the
establishment of a home for aged and infirmed colored people of
this state. Several times it was thought the home would be open,
but it was not until Rev. G. C. Carter came on the ground that any
real step was taken to open the home.
Less than two years ago, Rev. Mr.
Carter came and found no funds in the treasury. The friends of
Aunt Harriet had lost all hope of ever seeing the home open, but
Rev. Mr. Carter is not the man to surrender to obstacles without
a strong effort. After a hard struggle the work of fitting up
the building was commenced nearly a year ago, but owing to the
stringency of money matters the work was delayed until a few
weeks ago, when the board of lady managers took hold of the work
with the result that the home was so auspiciously open
yesterday. Much credit is due the board of lady managers under
the direction of Mrs. C.A. Smith. Rev. G.C. Carter, is well
known in central New York, for the faithful, service he has
given to Zion church. He has paid debts on churches at Norwich,
Johnstown, Gloversville, Little Falls, Wilkesbarre, Pa.,
Binghamton and Watertown.
The local colored people are working hard
for the establishment of the Harriet Tubman home for colored girls
in this city. The home has been in existence for a number of
years, but of late interest in the work has lagged. This year will
see the completion of the home and it will be under a new order of
running. Heretofore it was to be a home for indigent colored
people, but now it is planned to have it a school for colored
girls, where they may learn the methods of cooking, dressmaking,
etc., in which their white sisters have the advantage. The work is
progressing rapidly and many contributions are coming from
citizens to help defray the expenses of the home.
appeared in the Auburn Daily Advertiser Wednesday, June 24, 1908,
and included a photo of Harriet Tubman dressed in a long flowing
gown, wearing a knee-length cape and her favorite small brim hat.
TUBMAN AT 98 was printed under
the photo. This article was stored in the Harriet Tubman
Historical Society’s files since 1983, and was retyped as it
Special Thanks to Nona and Margaret, Cayuga County Community
College, Auburn, New YorK