Category Archives: Houses

Aunt Bettie’s Lot and Cabin

The Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace
Markers in the Landcape

Douglass wrote:

“[My life] began in the family of my grandmother and grandfather, Betsey and Isaac Baily. They were quite advanced in life, and had long lived on the spot where they then resided. They were considered old settlers in the neighborhood…  The dwelling of my grandmother and grandfather had few pretensions. It was a log hut, or cabin, built of clay, wood, and straw. …  My grandmother–whether because too old for field service, or because she had so faithfully discharged the duties of her station in early life, I know not–enjoyed the high privilege of living in a cabin, separate from the quarter…”   (My Bondage and My Freedom, ch.1)
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Wye House

The Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace
Markers in the Landcape

 
Douglass wrote:

“My master was the [overseer] on the home plantation of Col. Edward Lloyd; had overseers on his own farms; and gave directions to overseers on the farms belonging to Col. Lloyd.  This plantation is situated on Wye river — the river receiving its name, doubtless, from Wales, where the Lloyds originated.  They (the Lloyds) are an old and honored family in Maryland, exceedingly wealthy.  The home plantation, where they have resided, perhaps for a century or more, is one of the largest, most fertile, and best appointed, in the state.”  (My Bondage and My Freedom, ch 2)
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Lloyd’s Long Woods

The Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace
Markers in the Landcape

Douglass described the day his grandmother led him to Wye plantation, where he would begin life as a working slave:

“The distance from Tuckahoe to Wye river–where my old master lived–was full twelve miles, … my dear old grandmother– blessings on her memory!–afforded occasional relief by “toting” me (as Marylanders have it) on her shoulder.  … we happened to pass through portions of the somber woods which lay between Tuckahoe and Wye river.  She often found me increasing the energy of my grip, and holding her clothing, lest something should come out of the woods and eat me up.  Several old logs and stumps imposed upon me, and got themselves taken for wild beasts.  I could see their legs, eyes, and ears, or I could see something like eyes, legs, and ears, till I got close enough to them to see that the eyes were knots, washed white with rain, and the legs were broken limbs, and the ears, only ears owing to the point from which they were seen.”   (My Bondage and My Freedom, ch. 2)

Continue reading Lloyd’s Long Woods

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