Did Enoch E. Hughes hear Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass speak in Cambridge (1877 / 1878) then hear Douglass speak in Washington City while enrolled at Howard University in the early 1880s?

Then and NowPastor sent local news to a Baltimore paper March 31
Courtesy of the Historical Society of Kent County — This is almost certainly a picture of Rev. E. E. Hughes, pastor of the Bethel A.M. E. Church in Chestertown after leading camp meetings in Cecil County in the late 1880s.

Nearly a decade ago, Kevin Hemstock, a newspaperman out of Kent County published a substantial article in the Kent County News about African Methodist Episcopal Church minister Rev. Enoch E. Hughes, a man otherwise lost to memory and nowhere to be found represented on local historic markers or within rudimentary heritage brochures.

In 2015 Hemstock inserted a photo and caption of Rev. Hughes in a book without further mention in the text.

During a recent research quest we came across Injustice on the Eastern Shore: Race and the Hill Murder Trial and upon reading the caption our street historian instincts begin to harmonize.

Enoch E. Hughes of Cambridge, Maryland and Howard University

Free-born in the Bucktown area of Dorchester County in 1860, the record indicates as a late teen Hughes and members of his family were living in Dorchester County during the September 1877 and subsequent November 1878 visit of United States Marshal Frederick Douglass to Cambridge.

Was Hughes in the audience that greeted Douglass, escorted him through town and heard him speak behind Bethel AME in September 1877 and/or was Hughes seated in the present-day Dorchester County courthouse in November 1878 where Douglass spoke to benefit a local cause?

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Enoch E. Hughes of Cambridge, Maryland was a student at Howard University in the early 1880s. Dr. Douglass was a member of Howard’s BOT from 1871 until his passing.

During the 1882 – 1883 school year at Howard University in Washington City Hughes, according to existing records, was the only student in any department from the Eastern Shore’s Dorchester County.

For that academic year Howard University enrolled two other students from Maryland’s Eastern Shore with Saint Michaels in Talbot County and Chesapeake [City] in Cecil County properly accounted for.

I am still tracking how and/or how well Douglass knew Hughes. Based on quantifiable and qualified scholarship, Douglass was an active presence on the campus of Howard University, serving as an active member of Howard’s Board of Trustees from 1871 until his passing in 1895.

According to existing records, accounts and oral tradition Dr. Douglass often knew the parents and sometimes even the grandparents of Howard students. Some of the students Douglass had known since their infancy.

This history has yet to be told due the proclivity of mainstream scholars to embrace and endorse diabolical scandal-mongering speculations and conjectures that have minimized and dishonored the people’s history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass.

It is the informed interpretation of Old Anacostia Douglassonians and Shore street historians that hereby, as it is formally known Dr. Douglass looked out for young people the entirety of his life and heretofore it is acknowledged Dr. Douglass was closer connected to the Eastern Shore following the Civil War than any previous historian other than Master Historian Dickson Preston has advanced, it is hereby our declaration it is highly probable Douglass would have known and/or met a young Enoch E. Hughes and his family during visits to Cambridge in the late 1870s and in subsequent years Dr. Douglass would have continued his relationship with a young Hughes in the early 1880s while Hughes was one of only three students from the Eastern Shore enrolled at Howard University.

It is our position their shared identity as Eastern Shoremen would would have been a discussion point for them, if nothing else.

The research continues …


African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Alexander Wayman recalls serving Port Deposit, Steward Richard Randolph Disney of Cecil County “was one of the best I ever had in any church”

Coming up a childhood associate with Anna Murray on the Caroline County side of the Tuckahoe creek, 7th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Alexander Walker Wayman (1821 – 1895) first caught word of the reputation of rebellious Frederick Bailey in St. Michaels in 1836 and would subsequently meet Dr. Frederick Douglass in Philadelphia years later in the 1840s.

At nineteen years old, in 1840, Wayman left the wood frame churches of the Choptank River behind for Baltimore City. Following passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 Rev. Wayman was assigned to serve the Port Deposit Charge and communities abutting the ancient Susquehanna River in Cecil County, Maryland whose shores were crossed by unknown number of runaway slaves including Frederick Bailey escaping Baltimore City in 1838.

When assigned to Port Deposit in 1853 Wayman, a native of Caroline County, worked alongside Cecil County native Richard Randolph Disney.

Wayman recalled in the 1880s that Disney “was my Steward at Port Deposit, and was one of the best I ever had in any church.” Reportedly, in 1857 Disney was licensed to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and pursuant made his way to Canada to aid fugitive slaves where he would become a Bishop in the British Methodist Episcopal Church.

After service in the Port Deposit Charge Wayman would travel the expanse of Western Maryland assisting congregations and leadership in Frederick, Hagerstown, Cumberland and Frostburg en route to his election as the 7th Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In February 1895 Wayman eulogized Frederick Douglass, his friend of a half-century, at Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington City, around the corner from the White House.


        APRIL, 1853. I finished up my second year at Union Bethel Church, Washington, D. C., and went to meet the Baltimore Annual Conference, which met in Baltimore City. Bishop Nazrey presided for the first time over the Baltimore Conference. The members received him very cordially. The session was not a protracted one. J. R. Sterrett and John H. Gaines were admitted on trial. D. W. Moore, Jacob Brooks, M. F. Sluby, and Thomas H. Manning were ordained Deacons. Edward Chambers and John H. Henson were ordained Elders.

At the close of this Conference I was appointed to Port Deposit Circuit. It went a little hard with me after having spent five years in succession in Washington City to take a country circuit. But as I had promised years before to obey as a son in the Gospel, I went and had a very pleasant year.

        I was told by the authorities that the laws of the State were against my remaining there, as I came from the District of Columbia. I had four appointments, which I visited every two weeks. The present Bishop Dizney of the B. M. E. Church was my Steward at Port Deposit, and was one of the best I ever had in any church. The B. M. E. Church made a wise selection when they voted for him to fill the place of Bishop Nazrey.

        I found the people on this circuit very kind indeed, which made me think that after all, in some respects, a country life is more to be desired than a city one.

        During this winter there was a very deep snow, and I was bound up for several weeks at the house of Rev. Stephen P. Bayard. Having purchased two books on phonography, I resolved to learn how to write short-hand. On Monday morning I commenced, and Saturday night I was able to read the first lesson in the book without a teacher. I have never since doubted the capacity of a man to learn whatever he wishes to.


Wayman, Alexander Walker. My Recollections of African M. E. Ministers, or Forty Years’ Experience in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 1881.