Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland sometime between 1820 and 1825. Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. She risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses. A leading abolitionist before the American Civil War, Harriet Tubman also helped the Union Army during the war, working as a spy among other roles. After the Civil War ended, Harriet dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly. In 1896, Harriet Tubman purchased land adjacent to her home and opened the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People. She created a place for former slaves to receive housing and health care that would enable them to age in dignity and decency.