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

Douglass described the day his grandmother led him to Wye plantation, where he would begin life as a working slave:

“The distance from Tuckahoe to Wye river–where my old master lived–was full twelve miles, … my dear old grandmother– blessings on her memory!–afforded occasional relief by “toting” me (as Marylanders have it) on her shoulder.  … we happened to pass through portions of the somber woods which lay between Tuckahoe and Wye river.  She often found me increasing the energy of my grip, and holding her clothing, lest something should come out of the woods and eat me up.  Several old logs and stumps imposed upon me, and got themselves taken for wild beasts.  I could see their legs, eyes, and ears, or I could see something like eyes, legs, and ears, till I got close enough to them to see that the eyes were knots, washed white with rain, and the legs were broken limbs, and the ears, only ears owing to the point from which they were seen.”   (My Bondage and My Freedom, ch. 2)

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Markers in the Landscape

“From the Tuckahoe to the Wye, as Betsey and Frederick traveled it, is a distance of twelve miles. You can make the journey yourself today, over much the same roads they used, in twenty-five minutes or so by car. Your will not find the scenery greatly changed, except that the roads now are of blacktop, and corn and soy beans have replaced wheat as major crops. The route runs from Tappers Corner, which faces the old Anthony place, to Cordova, once called Thimbletown, and on to the hamlet of Skipton. Near there it crosses the great slashing scar of U.S. Route 50 and veers through territory, still largely forested, that in those times was called “Lloyd’s Long Woods.” That was where Frederick’s fearsome monsters doubtless lived.”  (Young Frederick Douglass, p. 38)

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