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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