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Sojourner's Amazing Life
... And Beyond

The Sojourner Truth Biography

Before entering the four part tour of Sojourner's life, you may want to read this
narrative biography called "Legacy of Faith."
Click Here

Educators: An elementary school level timeline exists as part of a sample lesson plan. Click here.

For the purpose of illustrating Sojourner's life, we have divided her biography into three parts and added a section for events since her death. 

Slavery and Freedom

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Taking the Name
Sojourner Truth

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Years in Battle Creek

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Sojourner: Then Until Now

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Slavery and Freedom

Outline collected by Martin L. Ashley and Mary G. Butler

(For a pictorial outline of the following information, see "In Her Times" under the History tab of this site.)

c. 1797 Isabella born into slavery on the Hardenbergh estate, Swartekill, Ulster County, New York

c. 1806 - bought at auction for $100 by John Neely, near Kingston, NY

c. 1808 - bought for $105 by Martinus Schryver of Kingston, NY, staying there about 18 months

Diana Corbin, Sojourner's Daughter1810 - bought for 70 (c.$175) by John Dumont, New Paltz, NY, --she bore five children:

c. 1815 - Diana (shown at right)

c. 1822 - Peter

c. 1825 - Elizabeth

c. 1826 - Sophia

fifth child, died in infancy (?)

Late 1826 - Isabella escapes to freedom with infant daughter, Sophia -- she had to leave the other children behind because they were not legally freed in the emancipation order until they had served as bound servants until their twenties

July 4, 1827 - New York state emancipates slaves born after 1799

1827-28 - employed by Isaac Van Wagener in Wagondale, Ulster County, NY -- wins landmark law suit to recover son Peter illegally sold into slavery in Alabama -- converts to Christianity

1829 - moves to New York City with her son Peter

1831 - works for Elijah Pierson, a Christian evangelist, as a domestic

1832 - meets Robert Matthews, known as the Prophet Matthias, when he visits Pierson's home and starts housekeeping for him

1833 - joins the Matthias Kingdom communal colony, established under the leadership of Prophet Matthias, in New York City and later in Sing Sing, NY

1834-35 - Kingdom dissolved after Prophet Matthias arrested and tried for death of Pierson, Isabella wins slander suit

1836-38 - Isabella back in New York City, trying to keep son Peter out of trouble

1839 - Peter ships out on whaling ship, Zone of Nantucket

1840-41 - Isabella receives a total of five letters from Peter

1842 - whaler Zone of Nantucket returns to port with no sign of Peter -- Isabella never hears from him again

Proceed to Next Segment