Posts Tagged “Eastern Shore”
Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Queen Anne’s County (Sun., October 20, 2019 @ 1:30 PM, Centreville Branch of the Queen Anne’s County Library)
Join local history enthusiasts and community leaders for a debut presentation detailing the previously unknown history of Marshal Frederick Douglass visiting and speaking to more than 500 hundred people in Centreville, Maryland.
Arriving in Queenstown, Queen Anne’s County, by steamboat from Baltimore, the visit of Marshal Douglass to Centreville drew visitors from nearby Talbot, Caroline and Kent counties.
Learn more about the lost local history from internationally known Douglassonian John Muller, who has previously presented on the lost and unknown history of visits Douglass made to Cambridge in Dorchester County and Denton in Caroline County.
Q&A following the presentation.
Within the past year or so I’ve become more familiar with the waterways, wharves, churches, school houses, cemeteries, towns, cities, peoples, institutions and folklore of Maryland’s Eastern Shore as a street historian and Washington correspondent.
Although Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia was published by the History Press in 2012 and presented at such venerable national literary landmarks as Politics & Prose and the Library of Congress, along with features by the Washington Post, WYPR and C-SPAN’s BookTV, not a single institution nor individual from the Eastern Shore reached out in an interest to further a more scholastic, geographic and chononologic understanding of the Shore’s most famous and consequential native son.
At the commencement of the statewide Frederick Douglass Bicentennial last year I began a singular mission to uplift the lost history of Douglass on the Shore, as well as challenge the debilitating status quo that has suppressed and kept the fuller history lost and forgotten for generations.
Last year the Star Democrat published my “Letter To the Editor” (“Douglass college ties extended far and wide,” 1 Feb, 2018) demonstrating Washington College in Chestertown to be scholastically duplicitous and illiterate of its own history. In September of 2018, in collaboration with a well-respected community historian and the Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center, more than 60 people attended the free presentation of “Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Cambridge.” The Star Democrat featured the lost history on its front page.
In February of this year more than seventy people attended a presentation of “Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Denton,” at the Caroline County Library. The Star Democrat wrote an advance story as well as highlighted the presentation and history on the front page of the weekly Times-Record, which exclusively covers Caroline County.
Gratitude and respect is in order for a number of public and private institutions, as well as private citizens and public administrators who have been receptive, helpful and supportive over the past two years.
Over the course of this year and the forthcoming year Eastern Shore Douglass-themed tours will be developed and a guide book to the lost history of Frederick Douglass on the Shore, which includes information on little to previously unknown visits and/or connections to the counties of Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico, will be produced and published.
Names and institutions needn’t be named and identified but a close record has been kept of those receiving public funds that have demonstrated an incapacity to respond to emails, take the initiative to reach out and/or in any measurable way collaborate to advance, uplift, uphold and preserve this lost history.
For those who can taste that salt water right now this memo is for you.
In Washingtonian lexicon “across the bridge” means East of the (Anacostia) River, as in the neighborhoods and areas of Washington City separated by the Old Eastern Branch of the Potomac. In Eastern Shore lexicon “across the bridge” means across the bridge that spans the Chesapeake Bay.
No matter the bridges that require crossing, the history will no longer be dumbed down, obscured and lost. The individuals and institutions that have been obstinate will not be pardoned.
The contemporary urgency of now to uplift the fallen and lost history and thusly defend indigenous Douglassonian communities from those who seek to poison, destroy and mislead is the same sentiment contained therein the article below from more than a century ago.
Old Anacostia Douglassonians
DEFENDING THE EASTERN SHORE.
A Chicago Paper’s Criticism of Fred. Douglass’s Birth-Place Refuted.
The Chicago News recently published the following letter from Mr. Lewis A. Leonard:
Permit me to call attention to the gross libel which you unintentionally perpetrated in the Morning News today on a most intelligent community by quoting about the locality which gave Frederick Douglass to the world. These are the objectionable lines:
“His mother was a black slave and he was born on a remote plantation lying on the banks of the Choptank river in Maryland, February, 1817, amid the laziest and muddiest of streams, surrounded by a white population of the lowest order and among slaves who in point of ignorance and indolence were fully in accord with their surroundings. It is a remarkable fact that there was one, and apparently only one, exception to the general laziness and ignorance of the black population in the midst of which he was born, and that one exception was his mother. She could read, though how she could have learned has every [sic] been a mystery to her son.”
The truth is that river is not a lazy, muddy stream, but one of the most beautiful bodies of pure salt water on the face of the globe. For scenic impressiveness, as well as for the richness and excellence of its salt-water products, the Tread Avon, that arm or the Choptank near which Fred. Douglass was born, stands unrivaled. The county of Talbot, where he first saw the light, is made up of people as intelligent, cultured and hospitable as can be found on the Atlantic coast from Labrador to the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of being ignorance, the county was the first in one in the United States to provide a good system of free education, and these schools were generally patronized that when Fred Douglass lived there I doubt if there was a white adult in the entire county who could not read and write. Few such communities were to be found fifty years ago. Since 1817 the county has maintained a system of public schools unexcelled by those of any section of the country. For more than fifty years a good education has been provided, entirely free of individual expense, even for a book or slate pencil.
There is not anywhere a community that has produced more brainy and prominent men than the area embraced in a circuit of fifty miles from the birthplace of the distinguished Afro-American.
At one time the mayors of both Chicago and St. Louis – Rice and Thomas – were natives of the county. And within the area indicated are the birthplaces of Lecompte, of Kansas, whose name was given to the famous constitution, and Judge Delahay, the first chief justice of that State. Hooper, the well-known Mormon delegate, came from the same locality, and while he was in Congress another ex-citizen (Pearce) was serving a term from a district under the very shadow of Bunker Hill. Not five miles from the old home of Douglass still, stands the house built and occupied by the ancestors of Henry Clay, and Philip Francis Thomas, who was President Buchanan’s Secretary of the Treasury, lived and died within a dozen miles in the opposite direction. Others worthy of note might be mentioned, among them William Wirt, Luther Martin, Bishop Emery, James Alfred Pearce, John Bozman Kerr, Secretaries Kirkwood and Creswell, of President Grant’s cabinet, while on the edge of the circle in one direction lived John M. Clayton, of national fame, and in the other the eminent lawyer and pure jurist, who has been so fouily abused, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.
This locality was also the home of the Davis family, which gave to the country more distinguished men than any other known to history. At one time there is a public life of the family of intellectual giants Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy, Jefferson C. Davis, a major-general of the federal army; Judge David Davis, of the United States Supreme Court; Henry Winter Davis, the most conspicuous and able member of Congress on the Union side from the South, and Colonel Davis of Virginia, then in the Confederacy, and still living, and who is regarded as one of the ablest lawyers in West Virginia.
The community is almost entirely engaged in agriculture, but the people have been distinguished for their intellectual strength from colonial times up to the present day. Two members of General Washington’s staff, Gen. Tench Tilghman, aid de camp, and Dr. Elbert, surgeon-general, were from within ten miles of the Douglass home and their descendants are among the leading people of that locality today.
Nor is it true that “the negro slaves were densely ignorant, and Fred. Douglass’s mother stood as the one exception to the general laziness and ignorance.” The colored people had the fostering care of their white masters to an unusual degree. Colonel Stevens, of the county, a merchant prince in his day, freed all his slaves and made the largest donation to the American Colonization Society which is ever received, and the republic of Liberia was a hobby of this mal till the day of his death. As a result of his efforts many intelligent colored person from Talbot went to Liberia, and one of them became president and another vice-president of that republic.
Judged by any accepted standard, estimated by the intelligence, industry and progressiveness or her sons who have gone abroad or those who have remained at home, this grand old country will always be found marching right along at the head of the procession of progress and civilization.
“Defending the Eastern Shore.” Baltimore Sun, 03 Sep, 1891. page 1.
Star Democrat: “Author John Muller to discuss Caroline County Frederick Douglass History” [A5, February 7, 2019]
Author John Muller to discuss Caroline County Frederick Douglass History
By JACK RODGERS email@example.com
DENTON — John Muller, author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia, along with Denton Town Councilwoman Doncella Wilson will be discussing a previous unknown visit Douglass made to Denton.
The talk will be held at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Caroline County Central Library in Denton.
Muller is known for producing a number of works, including Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent, and is currently working on Lost History: Frederick Douglass and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Muller will detail a visit made by Douglass, where he arrived by train before departing by boat to return to Washington, D.C., in late October 1883. Muller also said his research found that Douglass’ grandmother was well known in Denton for selling fishing nets.
“She was very entrepreneurial,” Muller said. “Douglass talks about, in his 1845 autobiography, his grandmother was known in the town of Denton for selling fishing nets. … Basically, today where the Denton steamboat wharf is.”
Muller said his series of talks, speaking last September about a previously undocumented visit by Douglass to Cambridge, are a way to bring lost history to residents.
“Overall, the history of Frederick Douglass post Civil War in the state of Maryland has not yet been told, recognized, acknowledged published — it’s been hidden,” Muller said. “The history of Frederick Douglass in the state of Maryland includes Hagerstown, Cumberland, Frostburg.”
Muller said documenting Douglass’ visits to the Eastern Shore, along with what he does during those visits, help researchers make inferences about his personality.
Muller said one inference he has made, through researching Douglass’ speeches on the Eastern Shore, was that he was highly politically motivated and vocal within the Republican party. Muller said after the Civil War, Douglass knew many influential state politicians running for office.
“Douglass was very involved in local politics in the state of Maryland without ever running for election himself,” Muller said. “He speaks at the courthouse, which I think is very significant because he spoke at at least four courthouses on the Eastern Shore.”
Muller said highlighting the history of Douglass in select counties around the Eastern Shore is part of finding lost history about his life. Muller said the bicentennial celebration of Douglass’ life has motivated him to find more history about his life.
“Douglass had a connection to Caroline County at a very, very young age and maintained that connection through mutual friends and correspondence and physical visits to Caroline County,” Muller said. “I think it was really a culmination of his life.”
On Feb. 28, Muller will present “The Lost History of Frederick (Bailey) Douglass in Baltimore,” at the Enoch Pratt Central Library with Dr. Ida E. Jones, Morgan State University’s archivist.
GATH on Dr. Frederick Douglass: “Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.” (1872)
Street journalists stick together today as they have forever.
As the most radical journalist birthed in America Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass ran with fellow street journalists.
Although largely forgotten today, George Alfred Townsend was a fellow Eastern Shoreman who ran alongside Editor Douglass and within similar circles of radical Reconstruction Washington City journalists.
For decades GATH tracked and chronicled America’s Pharaoh. GATH shared a mutual affection for the naturalism of Chesapeake Country with Dr. Douglass.
They corresponded. GATH stepped through Cedar Hill.
As radical journalists and Eastern Shoremen Gath and Dr. Douglass were brothers in ink and tidewater.
In late 1872, following the re-election of Republican President Grant over challenger, radical newspaperman and Liberal Republican, Horace Greeley, GATH dropped some words that were circulated throughout the country.
Fred. Douglass and Langston are set down in the papers as not loving each other overmuch. This Langston is an unreliable, nearly-white fellow, with considerable ability at phrase making and much sense. He is ever lasting in search of office, and Douglass, who is a well-ordered man, with a round head, is reported to have gone to President Grant and snubbed Langston’s aspirations.
Langston’s notion was that the colored race should have some Cabinet position, because it had voted for Grant, and he had constructed himself into the representative of the colored race as aforesaid.
Douglass had sense enough to know that color is a pretty mean qualification, except for matrimony, and that Langston would make a donkey of himself in whatever position he could get.
Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.
Muller, John. The Lion of Anacostia (Blog), “GATH on Dr. Frederick Douglass: Fred. Douglass comes from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and has a good oystery nature about him. He opens up well.” 14 September, 2018
Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Cambridge, Maryland — FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Lost History: Frederick Douglass in Cambridge, Maryland
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
**HARRIET TUBMAN MUSEUM AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER**
424 RACE STREET
CAMBRIDGE, MARYLAND 21613
In recognition of the lost Eastern Shore history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass, a special historic announcement will be made on the evening of Friday, September 21, 2018 at the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center in Downtown Cambridge.
With the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial being celebrated and recognized throughout the country, and world, the local impact and significance of his consequential life can often be overlooked. Local historians in identifying new evidence of Douglass’ impact on communities of the Eastern Shore are forthrightly sharing it with communities in which the history belongs.
The subject of biographies and focus of manuscripts for generations, including Young Frederick Douglass: The Maryland Years by Eastern Shore historian Dickson J. Preston, the fuller and more complete story of Dr. Douglass on the Shore has yet to be told.
Join local historians and community leaders for an announcement and presentation detailing previously unknown high-profile visits Dr. Douglass made to Cambridge, Maryland while serving as Marshal of the District of Columbia.
Following the presentation will be an open community conversation.
William Jarmon is a native of Dorchester County and retired Principal in the Prince George’s County School System. Mr. Jarmon is a past president of the Dorchester County Historical Society and current docent with the Harriet Tubman Organization in Downtown Cambridge.
Linda Duyer is a local Eastern Shore historian and author of Round the Pond, the Georgetown Neighborhood of Salisbury, Maryland (2007) and Mob Law on Delmarva (2014). Duyer is responsible for several groundbreaking research projects and publications. She is a frequent contributor to local media.
John Muller is the author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C: The Lion of Anacostia (2012) and Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (2013) and is at work on Lost History: Frederick Douglass and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Invited Elected Officials, Community Leaders and Organizations
Invitations have been extended to Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, members of the Cambridge City Council, faith leaders of Bethel AME Church and Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, Dorchester County Historical Society, Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Chesapeake Kinfolk Genealogy and Enrichment Services, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, University of Maryland-College Park, Salisbury University’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center, Dean of the Frederick Douglass Library at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, Maryland Humanities Council, National Museum of African-American History and Culture, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, coaches, players, volunteers and parents of the Anacostia Steelers, representatives of Old Anacostia Douglassonians, members of the Douglass / Bailey Family and others.
Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center
The Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center was started in the 1980s. Today it is run by dedicated local volunteers who actively share Harriet Tubman’s story and preserve her legacy. The Harriet Tubman Museum offers exhibits and a short film about Tubman’s life, as well as a resource area with books and related materials.
Please call ahead to arrange a group tour. The museum can organize tours of the area where Tubman lived and toiled. The museum is usually open Tuesday – Friday 12:00 – 3:00 PM and Saturday 12:00 – 4:00 PM. Admission is free; donations are welcome.
RSVPs are encouraged but not necessary. Please RSVP to HarrietTubman@verizon.net
For more information call 410.228.0401 or visit:
LOST HISTORY: Frederick Douglass in Cambridge, Maryland [Flyer] – Friday, September 21, 2018 @ 6:00 PM at Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center in Downtown Cambridge
Invitations have been extended to the Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, members of the Cambridge City Council, faith leaders of Bethel AME Church and Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, Dorchester County Historical Society, Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Maryland State Archives, Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Humanities Council, Chesapeake Kinfolk Genealogy and Enrichment Services, representatives of Old Anacostia Douglassonians, members of the Douglass / Bailey Family and others.
MARSHALL DOUGLASS’ OLD MASTER DEAD. –
The Baltimore American this morning says: – Captain Thomas Auld, so well known as once the owner of Hon. Frederick Douglass – once an Eastern Shore slave boy, now Marshal of the District of Columbia, one of the finest public orators in the United States – died on Sunday last at the residence of his son-in-law, John C. Harper, esq., near St. Michael’s, Talbot county.
Captain Auld was 85 years of age, and had been almost helpless for a long time before he died. He was at one time a merchant in St. Michael’s, was a member of the M.E. Church, was a most excellent man in all the relations of life, and was a kind and indulgent master, when he owned slaves, freeing them all at the early age of 31 years.
In the year 1839, after young Douglass ran away from his slave plantation, Captain Auld received a letter from a gentleman in Canada, asking if he would sell his freedom papers, and offering a liberal sum of money for them. He did not reply to the letter, saying that Douglass would have been free in a few years had he not run away, and now that he has gone, he could stay.
After the passage of the fugitive slave law in 1850, he transferred his supposed right in Douglass to his brother, Mr. Hugh Auld, in Baltimore, who disposed of it to Douglass himself, who was thus relieved of all apprehensions of arrest.
“Marshall Douglass’ Old Master Dead.” Evening Star, 11 February, 1880, p. 4
There are numerous factual errors and speculations within this short news item. However, it is a valuable contemporaneous account.