Talbot County, Maryland
Historians have found it difficult
to determine the exact location of Douglass's birth. The general area
in Talbot County, Maryland, is known, but the exact location is unknown. Take a look at
the "clues" a father/daughter historian team discovered as they tried to reconstruct
Douglass's early life. The "annotated
photograph maps" of the area created by this team are especially helpful—take
the time to make this virtual tour of the area.
To get another excellent look at the area,
watch a two-minute clip of C-SPAN's American Writers feature on
Douglass. (After clicking on this
link, click on "Watch 2 hrs. 33 mins.," then go to 53:53 and watch the video until 56:08.)
Top Left: Douglass was born along Tuckahoe Creek in
Talbot County, Maryland (photo by Lizzie Lowe).
Bottom Left: Though the exact location of his birth is unknown, it
is thought that it was within a few hundred yards of this field (photo by
When Douglass was about six years old, his grandmother walked with him the
twelve miles from his childhood cabin to the Wye House plantation where he
would begin work as a slave.
"Public opinion is, indeed, an unfailing restraint
upon the cruelty and barbarity of masters, overseers, and
slave-drivers, whenever and wherever it can reach them; but there
are certain secluded and out-of-the-way places, even in the state of
Maryland, seldom visited by a single ray of healthy public
sentiment—where slavery, wrapt in its own congenial, midnight
darkness, can, and does, develop all its malign and shocking
characteristics; where it can be indecent without shame, cruel
without shuddering, and murderous without apprehension or fear of
exposure. Just such a secluded, dark, and out-of-the-way place, is
the "home plantation" of Col. Edward Lloyd, on the Eastern Shore,
Maryland. It is far away from all the great thoroughfares, and is
proximate to no town or village."
My Bondage and My Freedom
Top Left: Aerial view of Wye House Plantation
(Courtesy of the Frances Loeb
Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, mhsdalad 060060).
Bottom Left: Drive leading up to the present-day estate (photos by Lizzie
Douglass was later a slave in St.
Michael's, Maryland, a small shipping town in Talbot County. Visitors
can take this walking
tour of the quaint town. The home where Douglass was a slave to the
Auld family is now Justine's Ice Cream Parlor. St. Michael's is one
of only two locations in Talbot County where any official
mention is made of Frederick Douglass.
Left: Justine's Ice Cream Parlor (photo by
Lizzie Lowe). Near Right: Historical marker, near Tuckahoe River, Talbot County
(photo by Lizzie Lowe).
Bottom Far Right: Historical marker, St. Michael's Maryland (photo
by Lizzie Lowe).
Easton, where Douglass was jailed after leading an unsuccessful attempt to
escape, has several historical places to visit as well as an interesting
Right: Talbot County Jail, Easton, Maryland (photo
by Lizzie Lowe).