Thomas Corwin,between 1844 and 1860.jpg

When Tom Corwin was in Congress from the Warren county district, he used to be disturbed very much by hearing so much boasting and bragging from State of Maryland members, of the wonderful greatness of the eastern shore of Maryland.

Other members of Congress were bored as well as Corwin, by the eastern shore fellows continually harping upon their great eastern shore, and their great constituency — their great people !

One day an eastern shore member was speaking on some measure, and Tom declared to some of his fellow-members in his place, if that Maryland chap again said anything about his eastern shore, he would reply to it. This was, sub rosa, noised about among members, and those in the conspiracy waited for an eulogium upon the eastern shore.

Sure enough, the orator, in due time, came to the “eastern shore,” and, among other things he proclaimed :

“Look at the great State of Maryland, look at the eastem shore of Maryland from whence I come ! Why, it is the garden spot of creation, and its people are the chosen ones of mankind. It is a great country, a blessed country, a God-gifted land !”

And the orator soon sat down after all that, and Tom Corwin arose in his place, with his fellow-members around him, all expectant, but not knowing what was to come.

Among other things, orated eloquent Tom :

“The gentleman from Maryland speaks most eloquently and opportunely, of his great State, and pronounces the eastern shore of that great State, ‘ the garden spot of creation, and its people a blessed people.’

In reference to this, I have a fact to relate, if I can command sufficient attention.”

Everybody in the House was now full of attention.

“Mr. Speaker, I am a lawyer, and I had a case in court one day, in my town of Lebanon, Warren county, Ohio.

It was a case of much importance, and my success in it depended upon the evidence of an aged, venerable, white-headed witness, near four-score years ; and I called him to the witness stand, and he gave his most important testimony, and my case, I thought, was won. But the lawyer on the other side commenced to cross-examine the witness, to break him down, if possible, on account of his extreme old age and necessary want of memory, and says he to the witness, ‘ My aged friend, how old might you be?’

The old, white-headed witness looked around at the court and at the jury and at me and then, at last, at the cross-examining attorney, and he answered, ‘I am just forty-two years of age, next month!”

This was an astonisher, an amazer. I was amazed, and felt that my witness would certainly be completely broken down for lunacy. All in court were surprised.

The cross-examiner continued, ‘ only forty-two years of age ! why, old man, you look to be at least eighty years of age.’

” ‘Well,’ said the witness, ‘ I will tell you how that is : the first part of my life I spent on the eastern shore of the State of Maryland. I was born there, — on the eastern shore ! and I lived around, and lost there thirty-eight years, and under the good God I have always thought that in estimating and numbering my years.

He would not take account of the years gone and lost, on that God-forsaken eastern shore of Maryland, and therefore, I am forty -two years of age!

This was enough — quite enough — and the Maryland harp of a thousand strings never sounded more “My Maryland ” or the ” Eastern shore of Maryland,‘” in the halls of Congress ! Never !


The Old Court House: Reminiscences and Anecdotes of the Courts and Bar of Cincinnati (1880)


Corwin served in the United States House of Representatives representing the “Warren County district (Ohio)” in 1821 – 1823 and 1829 – 1830.

During this period Maryland Congressmen from the Eastern Shore included Thomas Bayly, John Leeds Kerr, George Edward Mitchell, John S. Spence, Richard Spencer, Ephraim King Wilson, and Robert Wright.


“William C. Samuel Adams, 72, chronicled black communities,” Baltimore Sun; 26 October, 2005

William Crawford Samuel Adams, a retired administrator of the city’s school bus system and a historian of Baltimore County African-American communities, died of cancer Saturday at Gil- christ Center for Hospice Care. The Columbia resident was 72.

Born in Lutherville, Mr. Adams grew up in a historically African-American neighborhood on Bellona Avenue. He later researched the lives of the families who lived there and published his findings.

He attended the old Lutherville Colored School — and years later was named director of a museum created at the former segregated school.

In 1950, he quit Carver High School in Towson to join the Maryland National Guard’s black unit, the Monumental City Guard. He served in a segregated trucking battalion in Virginia, where he and members of his unit appeared as extras in a 1952 war film, Red Ball Express, with Jeff Chandler and a 25-year-old Sidney Poitier. Mr. Adams later contributed his military service recollections to a book, Forgotten Road Warriors, by his friend, Louis S. Diggs.

After his military service, Mr. Adams completed his high school education through the GED program and earned a degree from LaSalle Extension University.

He worked for the city school system more than 30 years, retiring in 1997 as chief of school bus operations. Family members said he oversaw 26 school bus contracts for special-education students on nearly 400 routes.

Mr. Adams became interested in family history while watching a television miniseries based on Alex Haley’s best-selling book, Roots.

“Based on the lingering impact of the series, I decided to investigate the roots of my Adams ancestry,” he wrote five years ago of his family, who once lived on the Eastern Shore.

“I was pessimistic about finding any information, but I wanted to try. I thought I would hit a dead end with the slavery period. How wrong I was,” he wrote. “I was able to discover a rich heritage of freedom extending back over 300 years. The more I researched, the more I found about the fascinating life of free blacks in Colonial Virginia and Maryland.”

He traced his lineage to Peter Beckett, a slave, and his wife, Sarah Dawson, an indentured servant on a plantation on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The results of that work were published in the 2000 book, Free Born — 350 Years of Eastern Shore African American History — The Adams/Beckett Family.

He continued his research and self-published books on the history of Lutherville’s African-American community and a history of Baltimore County’s segregated schools. Using census records from 1860 to 1930, he compiled a list of the county’s African-American residents.

“This guy had so much information, and he was so generous in sharing what he knew,” said Mr. Diggs, a local historian and author based in Owings Mills. “He wanted more people to be aware of our history.”

Mr. Adams recently donated his library of 200 books to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African-American History and Culture in the Inner Harbor. His donation is to be named the William Adams Special Collection.

He also was a practitioner of the martial arts, achieving the rank of sixth-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate. He taught many young men and women at a Cherry Hill club called the Avengers, later running Shibumi martial arts studios in Park Circle and in Columbia.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s he taught T’ai Chi Chuan to seniors at the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. He also enjoyed motorcycling, horseback riding and camping.

A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Meeting House, Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, 5885 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, the former Carolyn Greenfield; four sons, Ali Hassan of Altadena, Calif., William Samuel Adams Jr. and Reginald Adams, both of Baltimore, and Bryan Adams of Haddonfield, N.J.; a daughter, Yolanda Robinson of Columbia; two brothers, Allan Adams of Lutherville and Maynard Adams of Baltimore; a sister, Celeste Adams of Lutherville; 32 grandchildren; and 19 great grandchildren. A daughter, Montressa Clarke, died in 1994. His marriage to Bernice Ollie Williams ended in divorce.


Bibliography: “Early Black Dorchester, 1776-1870: A history of the struggle of African-Americans in Dorchester County, Maryland, to be free to make their own choices”

get up on your bibliography

Early Black Dorchester, 1776-1870: A history of the struggle of African-Americans in Dorchester County, Maryland, to be free to make their own choices

Author: McElvey, Kay Najiyyah

Publication info: University of Maryland, College Park, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1991. 9133192.

ProQuest document link


Early Black Dorchester is a narrative account of selected events that demonstrate the struggle of Dorchester County’s African Americans to be free to make their own political, economic, religious, and educational choices between 1776 and 1870. This book describes how the black people’s struggle for freedom of choice was centered within a larger power struggle among opposing white interest groups in the county, state, and nation. The book also describes how, during times when the struggle favored strong anti-blackforces, black leaders (enslaved and free) emerged to voice or demonstrate the black point of view. The book explains how these leaders, by solicitation and example, encouraged other black people to join forces with white supporters in order to counteract the anti-black interest groups. This book demonstrates how Dorchester’s African Americans proved themselves deserving of full citizenship status and capable of making their own political, economic, religious, and educational choices.

Bibliography Note: “The Road to Jim Crow: The African American Struggle on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, 1860 – 1915” [1]

The Road to Jim Crow: The African American Struggle on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, 1860 – 1915 was first recommended to us by Dr. Edward Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist (retired).

Authored by attorney C. Christopher Brown and published in 2016 by the Maryland Historical Society we have found the book to be comprehensive, revealing and groundbreaking within the modern field of Delmarva Studies.

In future posts we will be featuring excerpts of the book which deal with several subjects, persons, places and events of our scholastic investigation.

As previously noted, the closure of local Eastern Shore publishers within recent decades has surely changed the conditions and dynamics for local historians of the Delmarva.

It is duly noted and recognized the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore published Brown’s important work of local scholarship in 2016, as well as Stealing Freedom Along the Mason-Dixon Line: Thomas McCreary, the Notorious Slave Catcher from Maryland by Milt Diggins.

We applaud all who body forth new scholarship and more complete history.


Bibliography Note: “A History of African Americans of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore” (1997)

A History of African Americans of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore (1997) Edited by Carole C. Marks.

In our review of the existing Delmarva bibliography we have noticed within the past two decades there has been a shift, of sorts, which nonetheless has not yet told the proper history of Dr. Douglass on the Shore.

With the 2009 closure of Tidewater Publishers, which produced several invaluable titles, and the seeming disappearance of the Queen Anne Press, which published titles from Dickson J. Preston, it would appear book publishing on the Eastern Shore has seen better days.

Within the past two decades Dr. Carole C. Marks, formerly director of the “Black American Studies Program” at the University of Delaware, has published and edited, Lift Every Voice: Echoes from the Black Community on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1999 and A History of African Americans of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1997.

When we read sentences, such as the one below, we understand why and how the history of Dr. Douglass on the Shore has been lost.

A second Eastern Shore slave of significance was Frederick Augustus Bailey Douglass. Born in Tuckahoe, Maryland, in Dorchester County, he experienced forced separation from family members and the horrors of slavery at an early age.

A History of African Americans of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, p. 57. [PDF]

TOC: A History of African Americans of Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Lost History of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglas & the Princess Anne Academy (University of Maryland – Eastern Shore); note on Solomon “Saul” T. Houston of Salisbury on the Lower Shore

Dr. Frederick Douglass had various connections and associations with the earliest organizers and first founders of the Princess Anne Academy, today University of Maryland – Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland (Somerset County).

Photo from collection of Master Historian Honorable William Alston-El, copyright protected and pursued with full force and authority of the Unites States Constitution and U.S. Criminal Code on Copyright Law. Archives of Old Anacostia Douglassonians.

As shared with the Delmarva more than a year ago in response to the blasphemous scholastic dishonesty of Washington College, the infinite and eternal associations and connections of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and higher education, with genesis in ear hustling parts of lessons intended for future Princeton College graduate Daniel Lloyd to decades of committed service as a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University to an intentional visit to Al-Azhar University in Old Cairo to ongoing support of institutional education efforts in his indigenous Eastern Shore on behalf of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and local primary schools for children descended from those of whom he had been enslaved, are sacredly beyond reach of preachers and biographers.

Eurocentric Historians Suppress Dr. Douglass and Higher Education

Founded in 1886 as the Princess Anne Academy, today the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore in Somerset County’s Princess Anne serves along with Morgan State University, founded in 1867 as Centenary Biblical Institute, in Baltimore City as testament to the leadership of the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which founded both institutions with deliberate intent and mission of providing formal educational instruction for, to and by peoples of African descent within and outside Maryland and the Delmarva.

Untold by a power elite of diabolical Eurocentric historians who demonstrate continued inattention to scholarship as personified by Washington College’s Adam Goodheart and the likes of Yale Professor David Blight, Harvard’s John Stauffer and the duplicitous Leigh Fought of LeMoyne College, all falsely believed to be “Douglass Scholars,” is the history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass and Higher Education.

Despite any awards, prizes and speaker’s fees the aforementioned “Douglass Scholars,” are dishonorable and shameful contemporary representations of the sacred tradition and foundation established by Douglassonian Scholars of African descent of yesteryear.

The scholarship of Howard and Harvard-educated Professor James Monroe Gregory, native Washingtonian and Howard University Professor Rayford Logan, Master Historian Dr. Professor Benjamin Quarles of Morgan State University, Yale University’s John Blassingame, Honorable Donna M. Wells of Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center and Master Historian Honorable William Alston-El out the corners of Southeast Washington by way of Old Anacostia Douglassonian Dr. John Kinard established a scholastic standard and interpretation those invested personally and publicly in furthering their own interests of Eurocentricism are incapable of advancing and uplifting.

Without benefit of a formal day of education Dr. Douglass rose out the Tuckahoe in Jacksonian America to counsel Senators, Governors, Chief Justices, Speakers of the House, Presidents, foreign heads of state and the most learned men of his times.

Therefore what be possible excuse for lack of knowledge, scholarship and education on this matter from those who command teaching positions at the most prestigious universities in this country?

Why is there no Center for the Studies of Frederick Douglass at an institution of higher learning in our area and the country?

Nothing less than deliberate and diabolical Eurocentricism is responsible for reinforcing and supporting mediocre, speculative and incomplete scholarship produced by the alleged leading scholars at the alleged elite universities across the country. Truth be told, some of the leading Douglassonian scholars are Europeans, including University of Edinburgh Professor Celeste Marie-Bernier. Prof. Bernier’s book If I Survive is never mentioned by shameful David Blight whose book, which cites Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia eight (8) times, draws from the same Douglass Family scrapbook collection of Linda and Walter O. Evans in which Bernier has been working with for nearly a decade.

The scholarship and its discussion, conversation and debate is held morning, noon, afternoon and late night on the back of the bus where elite scholars are unable to defend their inattention to scholarship.

Let us work together to return the history to the communities where its legacy maintains and abides for us all. The community has been exploited and left in a state of unknowing due diabolical Eurocrenticism that by remaining silent we all passively condone.

Connections of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass & Princess Anne Academy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is princess-anne-academy-listing-.jpg
Records of the Princess Anne Academy confirm service of several friends of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass throughout Maryland and the Delmarva.
Above red squiggle is Salisbury’s Solomon T. Houston who facilitated a February 1880 visit of Frederick Douglass to Salisbury City to benefit the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, today the Chipman Cultural Center.

Generations before the founding of Centenary Biblical Institute and the Princess Anne Academy an adolescent Freddy Bailey attended Methodist church services in alleys of pre-industrialized Fell’s Point Baltimore City.

By combination of formal church attendance and revelation to the street corner ministry and preaching of Father Charles Lawson, Douglass was affiliated and initiated as a disciple of the faith and orientation of the bondmen and freedmen during the Second Great Awakening which begat the first independent religious denomination of peoples of African descent in America.

Following the American Civil War Dr. Douglass was active in support of education efforts on the Eastern Shore across Sunday schools, primary schools and institutions of higher learning supported by the Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Lack of knowledge of nationality and Eurocentric Historians have openly conspired to conceal and suppress the truth which properly honors and recognizes the self-reliance, self-preservation and self-education efforts of African peoples of the Eastern Shore, including expansive and consequential contributions of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass during Reconstruction to these efforts across the Delmarva from the Upper Shore to Lower Shore.

Diabolical Eurocentric history and mythology imposed internally and externally will not acknowledge this sacred lost history of Dr. Douglass on the Eastern Shore.

To compound the lack of knowledge of nationality and self we have found few within the local communities of the Shore who acknowledge and command an understanding of their own community’s history. Therefore it is our obligation out of a great sense of hospitality, courtesy and respect to share this community history henceforth with the community to reach one teach one.

Salisbury’s Solomon T. Houston, long-serving member of Princess Anne Academy & friend of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass

Obit for Solomon T. Houston, courtesy of Dr Linda Duyer, Delmarva African American History,

At the time of his passing in January 1916, according to a newspaper report, the philanthropic resident of Salisbury’s Georgetown neighborhood Solomon T. Houston was “not only a leader in social, financial, and political affairs, but he was a leader in religious affairs, being a member of the John Wesley Church, and chairman of several committees.”

Known and respected within and by all nationalities of Salisbury, Houston was also known for his service as a member of the Governing Board of the Princess Anne Academy and as a director of Morgan College in Baltimore City.

Upon his death another paper reported, “‘Saul,’ as he was generally known, was 83 years old. A brother, aged 91, survives him. His funeral yesterday was the largest ever seen in the lower peninsula for one of his race. Many prominent men attended the service as a mark of their respect for ‘Saul.'”

Delmarva Master Historian Dr. Linda Duyer brought to our attention the interesting mention of “Saul” in Swepson Earle’s 1916 classic Maryland’s Colonial Eastern Shore:

Dr. Huston, a physician of wide reputation, lived in the mansion and practiced medicine in Salisbury until his death, about the middle of the last century. One of his old family servants, who recently died, at an advanced age, Saul Huston, was the wealthiest colored man in that section of the State. As is almost invariably the case with old family servants of the Eastern Shore — but very few of whom now survive — Saul was shrewd, dignified, with a quick brain and pleasing personality, and carried the impress of old- time manners and virtues.

February 1880 visit of Douglass to Salisbury

Local newspaper report of anticipated visit of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to Salisbury (Wicomico County), Maryland. Courtesy of Dr Linda Duyer, Delmarva African American History,

Returning to the Eastern Shore less than six months after a fall 1879 visit to Centreville in Queen Anne’s County, in February 1880 Douglass traveled from Washington City to Baltimore, where he lodged in the home of Rev. James H. Brown, founding instructor and organizer of Centenary Biblical Institute.

He the proceeded across the Chesapeake Bay to the Church Street home of Salisbury’s Solomon T. Houston, a future member of the boards of Morgan College and the Princess Anne Academy.

Maintaining a lifelong commitment to the moral and educational improvement of his people, the lecture of United States Marshal of the District of Columbia Frederick (Bailey) Douglass was advertised as benefiting the John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church in Salisbury.

Proceeds from the lecture Dr. Douglass delivered in the extant Wicomico County Court House assisted covering the costs of an addition of a second floor to the original John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1838.

The extant building stands today as the oldest structure on the Delmarva independently built by peoples of African descent, serving the present-day community as the Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center.

Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass spoke in Salisbury in February 1880 which benefited the John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, originally built in 1838 and extant today as the Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center. It is the oldest building on the Delmarva built and preserved by peoples of African descent.

Presence and preservation of the church in which Dr. Douglass spoke to benefit is a testament to the community of all nationalities and generations in the city of Salisbury on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore.

Were it not for the street historian as detective work of local journalist and columnisst Dr. Linda Duyer and the collaborative research spirit of a former board member of the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture an awareness and recognition of a visit of Dr. Douglass to the Lower Shore may have continued to evade scholars.

An important and consequential note to the February 1880 speech Douglass delivered in the extant Wicomico County Court House is its benefit to John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, within the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of whom the opening of the Princess Anne Academy was critical.

On a future post we will share the connections of Rev. Monroe, Godson of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass to the John Wesley M. E. Church and the circumstances of his being offered the inaugural principalship of the Princess Anne Academy.

Visit to historic Houston Cemetery in Salisbury on the Lower Eastern Shore

Obelisk for “Saul” in Salisbury. Photo collection of Old Anacostia Douglassonians, Master Historian William Alston-El.

Last year on a collaborative history mission with Delmarva Master Historian Dr. Linda Duyer we had opportunity to pay our respects to the Honorable Solomon T. Houston, host and friend of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass.

Etched on one side of the obelisk acknowledges Solomon T. Houston (Oct. 27, 1832 – Jan 12, 1916) as the son of Levin & Easter Houston, the husband of Anna Maria (July 18, 1837 – Oct. 10, 1907). Other sides of the obelisk reflect members of the Houston family including his brother Levin Houston.

We thank Dr. Linda Duyer, a respected community historian from street corner murals to the offices of United States Senators, for her time and kindness introducing us to an incredibly important and largely overlooked figure in the history of Salisbury and the Lower Shore.

Historians with No History

History not contained in any books must be sought, pursued and investigated in cemeteries, churches, libraries and archives of the streets where Eurocentric Thought has no authority nor is welcome.

The dominance of Eurocentric thought and Eurocentric mythology has exploited and falsified the history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass.

Untold are the close connections Dr. Douglass had either to the founders of and/or these institutions of higher learning in present-day Maryland and Washington, D.C.:

1) Coppin State University

2) Centenary Biblical Institute (Morgan State University)

3) Princess Anne Academy (University of Maryland – Eastern Shore)

4) Frostburg State University

5) American University (founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, of the Eastern Shore)

6) Howard University

7) Miner Normal School (founded by Myrtilla Miner, today the University of the District of Columbia)

An era of exacting attention to bibliography, scholarship and informed interpretation is upon us whereas in 2019 the era of diabolical Eurocentricsm and Historians with No History is a bygone era only if we make it so.

Now that we know better we must do better. Dr. Douglass and the Shore deserve better.


Editor’s Note:

We appreciate and respect the time and correspondence of Bill Robinson, director of the Office of Public Relations for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

The post was generated without support nor correspondence from any other staff at UMES, let alone staff in the archives of UMES and/or the Frederick Douglass Library.

Records of the Field Offices for Maryland and Delaware, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 [National Museum of African American History and Culture]

Harper’s weekly, 1868 July 25, p. 473. (Alfred Rudolph), 1828-1891, artist.


The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). The life of the Bureau was extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner of the Bureau, and Howard served in that position until June 30, 1872, when activities of the Bureau were terminated in accordance with an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366).

While a major part of the Bureau’s early activities involved the supervision of abandoned and confiscated property, its mission was to provide relief and help freedmen become self-sufficient. Bureau officials issued rations and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, and supervised labor contracts. In addition, the Bureau managed apprenticeship disputes and complaints, assisted benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. The Bureau also helped black soldiers, sailors, and their heirs collect bounty claims, pensions, and back pay.

The act of March 3,1865, authorized the appointment of Assistant Commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the former Confederate states, the border states, and the District of Columbia. While the work performed by Assistant Commissioners in each state was similar, the organizational structure of staff officers varied from state to state. At various times, the staff could consist of a superintendent of education, an assistant adjutant general, an assistant inspector general, a disbursing officer, a chief medical officer, a chief quartermaster, and a commissary of subsistence. Subordinate to these officers were the assistant superintendents, or subassistant commissioners as they later became known, who commanded the subdistricts.

The Assistant Commissioner corresponded extensively with both his superior in the Washington Bureau headquarters and his subordinate officers in the subdistricts. Based upon reports submitted to him by the subassistant commissioners and other subordinate staff officers, he prepared reports that he sent to the Commissioner concerning Bureau activities in areas under his jurisdiction. The Assistant Commissioner also received letters from freedmen, local white citizens, state officials, and other non-Bureau personnel. These letters varied in nature from complaints to applications for jobs in the Bureau. Because the assistant adjutant general handled much of the mail for the Assistant Commissioner’s office, it was often addressed to him instead of to the Assistant Commissioner.

In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard in July 1865, the Assistant Commissioners were instructed to designate one officer in each state to serve as “general Superintendents of Schools.” These officials were to “take cognizance of all that is being done to educate refugees and freedmen, secure proper protection to schools and teachers, promote method and efficiency, correspond with the benevolent agencies which are supplying his field, and aid the Assistant Commissioner in making his required reports.” In October 1865, a degree of centralized control was established over Bureau educational activities in the states when Rev. John W. Alvord was appointed Inspector of Finances and Schools. In January 1867, Alvord was divested of his financial responsibilities, and he was appointed General Superintendent of Education.An act of Congress, approved July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), ordered that the Commissioner of the Bureau “shall, on the first day of January next, cause the said bureau to be withdrawn from the several States within which said bureau has acted and its operation shall be discontinued.”

Consequently, in early 1869, with the exception of the superintendents of education and the claims agents, the Assistant Commissioners and their subordinate officers were withdrawn from the states.For the next year and a half the Bureau continued to pursue its education work and to process claims. In the summer of 1870, the superintendents of education were withdrawn from the states, and the headquarters staff was greatly reduced. From that time until the Bureau was abolished by an act of Congress, effective June 30, 1872, the Bureau’s functions related almost exclusively to the disposition of claims. The Bureau’s records and remaining functions were then transferred to the Freedmen’s Branch in the office of the Adjutant General. The records of this branch are among the Bureau’s files.


In June 1865, Comm. Oliver Otis Howard appointed Col. John Eaton as the Assistant Commissioner of the District of Columbia, which included Maryland, the District, the city of Alexandria, and the neighboring Virginia counties of Fairfax and Loudon. On September 27, 1865 (Special Order Number 77), Commissioner Howard appointed Lt. Col. William P. Wilson as acting Assistant Superintendent for Maryland. Wilson served until March 30, 1866, and was then replaced by Bvt. Maj. Gen. George J. Stannard, who became the first Assistant Commissioner for Maryland. Stannard’s headquarters was at Baltimore. His command included all of the state, except the counties of Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince Georges, and St. Marys, which were under the control of the Assistant Commissioner of the District of Columbia. In early summer 1866, six counties in Virginia and two in West Virginia, known as the Shenandoah Division, were added to the Maryland Command (transferred to the Virginia command in the following September). By July 1866, Bvt Maj. Gen. Francis Fessenden replaced Stannard, and served for 1 month before he was replaced by Bvt. Maj. Gen. Edgar M. Gregory. On January 16, 1867 (Special Order Number 7), Maryland’s jurisdiction was expanded to include Delaware. Bvt. Brig. Gen. Horace M. Brooks replaced Gregory in January 1868, and by August 1868, Bureau affairs relating to Maryland and Delaware were reassigned to the Assistant Commissioner for the District of Columbia. A subassistant commissioner, Fred C. Von Schirach, remained in Baltimore until December 1868. A claims agent remained in Baltimore until 1872.


Unlike its operations in states of the Deep South where providing relief, supervising labor contracts, and the administration of abandoned property was of primary concern, the Bureau’s activities in Maryland and Delaware and other areas under its jurisdiction centered largely on freedmen education, the administration of justice, and veterans’ claims.The Freedmen’s Bureau’s efforts to provide education for freedmen in Maryland was hampered by a system of illegal apprenticeship of school-age children. In direct conflict with the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (14 Stat. 27), black children were being bound to their former owners for indefinite periods of time with the help of Maryland government officials. An estimated 10,000 black children were bound out as apprentices between 1864 and 1867. The Bureau, however, through writs of habeas corpus and other court actions, fought vigorously to have these children released. By 1868, the intense efforts of the Bureau had largely ended the apprenticeship system in Maryland.

1 Although the illegal apprenticeship system hindered the Bureau’s educational activities in Maryland, the agency still managed to provide assistance with the construction and repair of school buildings and protection of and transportation for teachers. To increase its visibility and to gauge the interest of freedmen in establishing schools, Maryland and District of Columbia Bureau officials traveled to various counties, holding meetings on the benefits of education and the agency’s intention to provide aid for schools. In addition, the Bureau worked closely with private benevolent societies, such as the Baltimore Association, the American Missionary Association, and the Freedmen’s Union Association, to sustain freedmen schools in spite of intense and often violent opposition from whites. From October 1867 to October 1868, the Bureau provided aid and assistance to some 80 schools in Maryland.

2 Although the black population in Delaware and West Virginia was small, and Bureau operations in these states were limited, the agency still managed to provide noteworthy assistance for freedmen education. In Delaware the Bureau assisted in the construction of several freedmen schools. The agency also provided aid to various civic groups and benevolent societies, especially the Delaware Association for the Moral Improvement and Education of the Colored Race, which maintained some 23 schools in various parts of the state. West Virginia maintained a system of free education. However, whites controlled funds for schools and employment of teachers, and schools for blacks and whites remained separate, as required by law. Bureau officials, nonetheless, worked closely with the West Virginia superintendent of free schools in the establishment of schools for freedmen. As in Maryland, Bureau officials traveled throughout West Virginia counties, advising freedmen of their support and plans for building schools. Similar to other areas under its jurisdiction, the Bureau supplied funds for buildings, and teachers were generally paid from public funds, contributions from blacks, and aid from benevolent societies. By 1868, with cooperation mostly from freedmen themselves, the Bureau was able to establish 9 schools in West Virginia.

3 Safeguarding rights and securing justice for freedmen was of paramount concern to the Freedmen’s Bureau. Following the Civil War, several Southern states enacted a series of laws commonly known as “black codes,” which restricted the rights and legal status of freedmen. Freedmen were often given harsh sentences for petty crimes and in some instances were unable to get their cases heard in state courts. In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard on May 30, 1865, Assistant Commissioners were authorized, in places where civil law had been interrupted and blacks’ rights to justice were being denied, to adjudicate cases between blacks themselves and between blacks and whites. In the District of Columbia and Maryland, the civil process of law had not been interrupted, and unlike many areas of the South under the Bureau’s jurisdiction, no freedmen’s or provost courts were in operation. The Bureau did however, provide legal assistance to freedmen in civil and criminal cases in both the District of Columbia and Maryland. This was done especially in instances where freedmen lacked counsel and in cases where Bureau officials felt that freedmen were wrongly convicted or imprisoned. In 1868, the Assistant Commissioner for the District reported that of the nearly 900 cases handled by his office, a large percentage involved incidents in Maryland.

4 In accordance with a law passed by Congress on March 29, 1867 (15 Stat. 26), making the Freedmen’s Bureau the sole agent for payment of claims of black veterans, Bureau disbursing officers assisted veterans and their heirs in the preparation and settlement of claims. To administer claims, the Bureau established a Claims Division. This office was abolished in 1868, and most of the activities of the Maryland Bureau relating to claims were then centered in Baltimore, MD, where two full-time disbursing officers were assigned to settle and pay veterans claims. At the Baltimore office, the Bureau handled claims for Maryland, Delaware, and other areas under its jurisdiction. In 1868 Bureau agents disbursed more than $10,000 for military claims.5 The Bureau maintained registers and files for claimants for payments of bounty, back pay, and pensions. These records often contain the name, rank, company, and regiment of the claimant; the dates the claim was received and filed; the address of the claimant; and remarks.


1 Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867, [pp. 3 – 9], Records of the Commissioner, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group (RG) 105, National Archives Building; W. A. Low, “The Freedmen’s Bureau in the Border States,” in Radicalism, Racism, and Party Realignment: The Border States during Reconstruction, ed. Richard O. Curry, (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1869), 247.

2 W. A. Low, “The Freedmen’s Bureau in the Border States,” pp. 247 – 49. Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1868 [pp. 11 – 13, 15 – 24].

3 Annual Reports, Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1868, [pp. 26 – 30]. See also W. A. Low, “The Freedmen’s Bureau in the Border States,” 256 – 57.

4 Senate Ex. Doc. No. 6, 39th Cong., 2nd Sess., Serial Vol. 1276, p. 34; Annual Reports, Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867 [p. 3], and October 10, 1868 [pp. 5 – 11].5 Annual Reports, Assistant Commissioners, District of Columbia, October 10, 1867 [pp. 10 – 11, and October 10, 1868 [pp. 13 – 15].


Tales Of Old Maryland: History And Romance On The Eastern Shore Of Maryland (1907) [Chapter III – Fred Douglass.]

To properly uplift a scholastic understanding of the lost history of Frederick Douglass on the Shore we must first know the sources and bibliography.

A couple years back I was able to acquire a copy of this book at the Washington Antiquarian Book Fair from Rock of Back Creek Books of Annapolis, known to hang on Washington Street in Old Easton at Vintage Books.

We share the entirety of Chapter Three to take the initiative to enhance an understanding of the Douglassonian Bibliography and the relationship between Douglass and the Lloyd Family whereas other individuals and organizations have dumbed it down for too long.


DURING the life of Governor Lloyd, there was born in St. Michaels a mulatto boy, the illegitimate son of a white man of considerable learning and a colored woman, who was owned by a sailing master in the employ of the Governor.

Consequently this boy, who later became known to the world as Fred. Douglass,
until he was eight years of age, was much at Wye and played with the little pickaninnies there and sometimes with the Governor’s son, Daniel.

When about nine years of age, the boy, who had accompanied his master on a trip to Baltimore, ran away and was lost sight of for years, until he turned up in the person of Fred. Douglass, a well educated and traveled man of the world. It was said that he was the first colored man who was ever dined by Queen Victoria, though I believe Booker T. Washington was later similarly honored. President Cleveland was much censured for entertaining him at the White House. Douglass was at one time minister to Hayti and later became Marshal of the District of Columbia.

About 1881 the old man was moved to revisit the scenes of his childhood. One day, in company with several customs officers from Baltimore, he came to Wye and in the absence of Col. Edward Lloyd, was shown over the estate by his son, Mr. Howard Lloyd Douglass evinced his remarkable memory by- calling by name many of the points, creeks and bayous, names purely local and which he could not have heard during his long absence, some of which had even then, been forgotten by the boatmen around St. Michaels.

That blood will tell, was again proven, for when in the old garden, he seemed to be musing, entirely oblivious of his companions, and dropped into the negro dialect : ‘ ‘ Dar, ‘ ‘ he said, “is war me and Mars Dan uster trap rabbits.”

Marse Dan was the son of the Governor.

Some years later Mr. Howard Lloyd was in a Pullman car on his way to Philadelphia and noticed the aged figure of Marshal Douglass in the fore part of the car. Before reaching the city, Mr. Lloyd went forward to speak to him. The Marshal evidently did not recognize Mr. Lloyd and greeted him with a cold stare, possibly suspecting him to be a newspaper man. Mr. Lloyd held out his hand and said: “I don’t believe you recognize me, Marshal.” The Marshal paused, looked at
him keenly, then jumped to his feet, hat in hand: “Yes, I do; it is Mr. Howard Lloyd.”

Then followed more musings on the part of the old gentleman. When told by Mr. Lloyd that he was wearing his great grandfather’s watch (that of the Governor) Mr. Douglass begged to be allowed to hold it in his hand.

“How well I remember him,” he said, “stately old gentleman, moving about the farm in that quiet, dignified way of his, with his high hat and cane.” Then the eyes of the Marshal twinkled a bit. ‘ ‘ I remember, ‘ ‘ he continued, “when the Governor imported a bull of special breed and went out one day to inspect the animal. As he moved across the pasture, the bull glared at him with lowered head, but the Governor, not scenting trouble, went on.

Presently, with a roar, the animal made for the old gentleman. That was the
only time I ever saw Governor Lloyd act in an undignified manner, his hat went one way, his cane another, while the Governor made for the fence.”

Just what part Douglass played with John Brown I do not know, but letters were found in the possession of the latter which must have implicated him to a certain extent, for Governor Wise of Virginia made a requisition on President Buchanan for the person of “Frederick Douglas, a negro man, supposed now to be in Michigan, charged with murder, robbery and inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia.” Douglass evidently had an idea how the land lay and went to Canada and later to England. The matter was never pushed after his return and was soon lost sight of.


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