Kate Larson: John Brown of course had spent time in the Boston area collecting support; he organized his secret six of supporters who financially helped him organize his plan and try to execute it. In 1858, he had been hearing about Harriet Tubman from many of these abolitionists in New England, in Boston, and in central New York. Many of them encouraged him to talk to Harriet because she had been going back and forth into Maryland [and] she knew so many fugitive slaves living in Canada [that] they thought she could help him either with his direct plan of invading or at least to recruit soldiers for his planned raid.

By the time they met in April of 1858, he had quite an amazing image of her. She was a little skeptical of him, but they met in her home on North Street in St. Catherine’s and it didn’t take long for them to become very close. They admired each other tremendously. He called her General Tubman which was a tremendous compliment to her because the pinnacle of a white man’s career was to become a general[, so] to call this small, little, illiterate, formerly-enslaved woman General was an incredible compliment. He thought she was amazing and, of course, she thought he was the most incredible white man that had ever lived because he was “willing to die for her people” as she put it. He was going to put his life on the line for them.

Unfortunately, she did recruit people for his provisional army. Many of them were former slaves from Dorchester County, but they ended up not following him in October of 1859 and neither did Harriet. Of course, it was a great regret of hers [that she and her recruits did not join John Brown’s raid], but she survived and she knew that he had been martyred for an important cause.