“…Minty Ross married John Tubman, a local free black, around 1844. It was at this moment she took the name Harriet, possibly in honor of her mother, or it may have coincided with a spiritual conversion requiring the adoption of a new name. It was a bittersweet moment for a free man such as John Tubman to marry Harriet. He must have loved her deeply, for he forfeited many rights incumbent upon the marriage of a free couple. By the laws of Maryland and other slaveholding states, all children born to John and Harriet would bear Harriet’s slave status. Ownership of their children would fall to Edward Brodess as Harriet’s master. John Tubman lacked any legal or parental rights to his own children. Nor could he share a life with Harriet without the consent of Brodess. Their decision to marry was no doubt made only after careful deliberation. Perhaps they both hoped against great odds, that they could in time purchase Harriet’s freedom from Brodess.”
Kate Clifford Larson, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero (New York: Ballantine Books, 2004), 62-63.