Believe in Being There
You might not see them from the road. You have to stop and get out. Walk around for a closer look. Crypts floating to the surface.
This is St. Paul AME Church. It’s one of dozens of segregated black churches that organized in Caroline County and throughout the Eastern Shore of Maryland after 1865.
I visited the St. Paul’s AME Church a few weeks ago. The scene was incredible. Pulpit, piano, pews, and stained glass were still in place. I found hand-hewn sill timbers – evidence that the building was indeed built in the early 1800s, as noted by one source.
The roof is caving in. One of the newer headstones in the graveyard was deliberately toppled off its pediment. Within a generation, this old church building will die and disappear into the landscape like many others. The gravestones will remain hidden under tangled vines for a thousand years. Then they will disappear, too.
A historic marker at the end of the MD Route 328 bridge over Tuckahoe River commemorates Douglass and his birthplace. But the historic marker is 6 miles off. A local historian matched places named in Douglass’s autobiographies with local land records, newspapers, and other sources. He published his conclusion about the birthplace in a 1985 bio of Douglass.
We updated our map app that shows clues in the Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace. See the full-size app here.
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Their daughter Rosetta reminded those who admired her father:
“The story of Frederick Douglass’ hopes and aspirations and longing desire for freedom … was a story made possible by the unswerving loyalty of Anna Murray.”
As many as four or five two- and three-mast sailing vessels at a time were often tied up at the Denton wharves. I often had the job of leading the mule forward to lift the bag out of the vessel’s hold, and backing him up again to drop the bag onto the wharf and to lower the tongs back into the hold for another bag. You get the picture – the mule and the boy – back and forth all day until the last bag was out of the hold.