1877 map of Dorchester County; Bucktown District; note presence of “D. Hughes,” father of Rev. Enoch Hughes


An Illustrated Atlas of Talbot & Dorchester Counties, Maryland. Compiled, Drawn and Published from Actual Surveys of Lake, Griffing and Stevenson. 1877


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.

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 …

Lost History Notes: U.S. Marshal Frederick Douglass entertained with President of Dorchester & Delaware Railroad in Cambridge; planned to speak in Somerset County’s Princess Anne

From research collection of William Alston-El and Old Anacostia Douglassonians. Copyright enforced with full force of US Constitution and Criminal Code.

Before presentation of “The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Cambridgelast September at the Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center in downtown Cambridge the consequential September 1877 visit of United States Marshal of the District of Columbia Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass, in company with Hon. John Mercer Langston, to Cambridge was unknown in the local, regional, statewide, national and international mythology of the Eastern Shore’s most famous prodigal son.

With nearly 100 people attending the dual presentation of Master Eastern Shore Historian Dr. Linda Duyer and Old Anacostia Douglassonian John H. Muller, hosted by Honorable Mr. Donald Pinder and Honorable William “Bill” Jarmon of the Harriet Tubman Organization it is evident there is an abundant interest in the lost history of Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass within Cambridge and adjacent communities of the Delmarva Peninsula.

Continuous scholastic investigation has yielded more context and perspective to the lost history of Frederick Douglass in Cambridge and the expanse of the Delmarva.

Closely connected within and to Shore communities through associations and affiliations with both the Baltimore Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Delaware Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Douglass was associated with fraternal organizations on the Shore led by members of the Bailey Tribe, as well as networks within fields of education, politics, and journalism on the Delmarva.

Covering unknown tens of thousands of miles criss-crossing the country and world by ferry, steamboat, stage coach, street car and railroad for more than a half-century Dr. Douglass was a travelling man.

On several occasions across years of research we have found Dr. Douglass involved with what today would be called public policy issues of “urbanism,” such as petitioning the United States Senate to approve a proposal for extended service of the Anacostia and Potomac River Railway Company, a company in which Douglass was an investor and held stock.

As an advocate for organized labor and integration of transportation accommodations, there are several lines of discussion Dr. Douglass and W. Wilson Byrne, President of the Dorchester and Delaware Rail Road, could have maintained during the course of their entertainment in Cambridge.

“Dorchester and Delaware Railroad.” Poor, Henry V. Poor’s Manual of the Railroads of the United States, 1870 – 1871. Vol. 3. New York: 1870. p. 451.

Based in Cambridge, Bryne organized investors and a survey in the late 1860s, with the line from Camrbridge in Dorchester County to Seaford, Delaware completed in 1869.

In future posts we will discuss more of the lost history of Frederick Douglass and the railroads as it relates to a collection of railroad lines, train stations and executives. We know folks out there love railroad history and therefore the lost local history of Douglass on the Shore is also the lost local history of Delmarva railroads.

Ghost Visit of Dr. Douglass to Princess Anne, county seat of Somerset County

During the course of known and lost visits Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass made to the Shore — St. Michaels, Talbot County (June 1877); Easton, Talbot County & Cambridge, Dorchester County (September 1877); Easton, Talbot County & Cambridge, Dorchester County (November 1878); Queenstown & Centreville Queen Anne’s County (October 1879); Salisbury, Wicomico County (February 1880); Wye Island and Wye House [Talbot County], June 1881; Denton, Caroline County (November 1883); Port Depost & Rising Sun, Cecil County, (December 1885) and Easton & St. Michaels [Talbot County] (March 1893) — we have found at least three “Ghosts Visits.”

These are at least three occasions Douglass had confirmed and intended to visit and speak within a community of Maryland’s Eastern Shore yet for reasons beyond his control, such as bad weather grounding travel across the Chesapeake Bay, he was unable to meet his ambitious schedule.

Along with Ghosts Visits to Caroline County (1879) and Kent County (1889) we can confirm Dr. Frederick (Bailey) Douglass had full intention to speak in Princess Anne, the county seat of Maryland’s southernmost Somerset County (1877).