Category Archives: Frederick Douglass

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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Between Easton and Hillsboro, there is no Tuckahoe.

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

 

Frederick Douglass told a Baltimore audience  in 1877:

“I am an Eastern Shoreman, with all that name implies. Eastern Shore corn and Eastern Shore pork gave me my muscle. I love Maryland and the Eastern Shore!”

Douglass also wrote:

I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot county, Maryland.  (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, ch. 1)

Continue reading Between Easton and Hillsboro, there is no Tuckahoe.

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The Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace

Markers in the Landcape

On the 100th anniversary of the death of Frederick Douglass, Ebony magazine urged its readers to plan family vacations so that the kids could see monuments to black history. They recommended you visit the birthplace of Frederick Douglass.

 

Why not?

Because you can’t get to Douglass’ birthplace by following the tourist guidebooks and roadside history markers.  They point you to the bridge that carries MD Route 328 across Tuckahoe River.  The bridge was rebuilt in 2013 and named in honor of Douglass.  A historic marker at the end of the bridge commemorates Douglass and his birthplace.  But the historic marker is 6 miles off.
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