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Harriet Tubman's name discovered in old Cayuga Centers' ledger

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Cayuga Centers in Auburn has been helping kids find a home for over 160 years.

What started as an orphanage has grown to include foster parenting and family therapy.

Now, Cayuga Centers has found a surprising link to a famous figure - Harriet Tubman.

It is a small piece of American history discovered by Kim Dungey with Cayuga Centers in Auburn.

Harriet Tubman's name in an asylum ledger dating back to the late nineteenth century.

Dungey was flipping through old records for research when she found it.

"Harriet Tubman's name leaped off the page at me and I was ecstatic. That's the most excited thing I've ever seen.," Dungey said.

At the time, Cayuga Centers was called Cayuga Asylum for Destitute Children.

The asylum ledger shows a government official committed a little blind girl, named Harriet, to the asylum at around four-years old.

She would stay in the institution off and on until the age of 17.

"The record stated that she came back to the agency for summers and this repeated for several years," Dungey said.

In 1891, Harriet Tubman, one of the most influential anti-slavery activists, was living in Auburn.

The ledger shows Tubman took the teenager out of the asylum to care for her.

"For us it was an amazing discovery - a brush with history. Harriet Tubman lived her later years in Auburn, so all of us who are Auburnians are very well aware of her story," Dungey said.

A story of compassion and heroism and one that would go on to help shape American history.






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