She was born into slavery in Maryland. At the age of five she was at work babysitting and a maid. She received no schooling. , by the time she was six, Harriet was hired out to a new master who taughther how to trap muskratsand how to weave. Once he caught her taking a sugar cube at his table, and she had to run away to avoid punishment.
When Harriet was twelve or thirteen, she suffered an accident that effected her for the rest of her life.