Death knocked on the door of the Frederick Douglass family too often, Douglass outlives his wife, two children, and numerous grand-children

Death knocked at the door of the family of Frederick Douglass all too frequently. When a parent buries a child the natural evolutionary order of life is upset. Frederick Douglass buried two of his children. Just nine of Douglass’ twenty-one grandchildren lived to adulthood.

When his youngest daughter Annie died in March 1860, less than two weeks short of her 11th birthday, Douglass was in Glasgow, Scotland, having fled the country after he was implicated in John Brown’s failed raid of the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in November 1859.

Anna Murray Douglass passed away on August 4, 1882 and nearly ten years later, as a heat wave swept through the city, on July 26, 1892 Douglass’ middle son and namesake, Frederick, Jr. died. He was fifty years old.

From the National Tribune, August 4th, 1892,

Tuesday, July 26. – Frederick Douglass, jr., a son of the noted colored man of that name died at Hillsdale, a Washington suburb, today. Mr. Douglass was for some time employed in the office of Recorder of Deeds in the District of Columbia, having gone there while his father was the Recorder, but for the past five years has been a clerk in the Pension Bureau.

And from the Washington Post, November 5, 1887

“Death in Fred. Douglass’s Family

Charles R. Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass, is at present sadly afflicted in the loss of his two elder children, Chas. F. and Julia A. Douglass, of typhoid fever. The disease was first taken by the son about five weeks ago and by the daughter about two weeks ago, since which time the three other children have been attacked and one of them is now lying at the point of death. Charles was about twenty years of age and the daughter about fifteen. The son’s death took place Wednesday night and the daughter’s the following night. The two bodies will be interred at Greenwood this afternoon.”

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