The Search for Frederick Douglass’s Birthplace
Markers in the Landcape


Douglass wrote:

“As I grew larger and older, I learned by degrees the sad fact, that the “little hut,” and the lot on which it stood, belonged not to my dear old grandparents, but to some person who lived a great distance off, and who was called, by grandmother, ‘OLD MASTER.'”   (My Bondage and My Freedom, ch.1)

“I have had two masters. My first master’s name was Anthony. I do not remember his first name. He was generally called Captain Anthony–a title which, I presume, he acquired by sailing a craft on the Chesapeake Bay. He was not considered a rich slaveholder. He owned two or three farms, and about thirty slaves.”   (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, ch. 1)


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Markers in the Landscape


“Aaron Anthony, who had grown up in the district east of the Tuckahoe, regarded the land he acquired [Holme Hill Farm] as nothing but an investment and a place to keep his slaves. He and his family never lived on the Tuckahoe property; their home was a rent-free house on Colonel Edward Lloyd’s palatial estate, a dozen miles westward on Wye River, where Anthony served as overseer.”  (Young Frederick Douglass, p. 21)

“Ebenezer and Martha Jackson bought the farm from John P. Anthony in 1866 and sold it to James P.J. Hubbard in 1891. The house built by Jackson is still standing.”  (Young Frederick Douglass, p. 232, footnote 14.)

Holme Hill Farm (left), Aunt Bettie’s Lot at the head of
Kentucky Ravine (right-center).  View from Tapper’s Corner
See more photos of Holme Hill Farm at Tapper’s Corner


“[Douglass] had sailed from Baltimore aboard the overnight steamer Highland Light, on which he had also set a precedent by being assigned a stateroom, and arrived at Easton Point early on the morning of Saturday, November 23, 1878. … On Monday he traveled in a hired rig the twelve miles up to Tuckahoe Creek, to the crossroads known as Tappers Corner, and to the farm, once owned by Aaron Anthony, where his grandmother’s cabin had stood. Nothing remained of the little log hut; even the well that he remembered was gone. The old overseer’s house was also gone, and a new house had been built by the current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Jackson. So it was difficult to reconstruct the place as it had been when he had last seen it half a century earlier.”  (

Young Frederick Douglass, p. 190)

[ crhno_crh670 for Tapper’s Corner ]