Frederick Douglass Timeline
A Timeline of Frederick Douglass’s Life in Maryland and Beyond
February 1818 - Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey born at Holme Hill Farm
August 1824 - Sent to live on Lloyd Plantation, Wye River, at the home of his master, Aaron Anthony.
February 1825 - Mother visits him for the last time before her death late in 1825 or early in 1826.
March 1826 - Sent to live with Hugh Auld family in the Fells Point section of Baltimore.
October 18, 1827 - Anthony's slaves divided among his heirs; Frederick awarded to Thomas Auld, returned to Hugh Auld family in Baltimore.
1827 - Sophia Auld teaches Frederick the alphabet; later he learns to write and do arithmetic on his own initiative.
1831 – Frederick undergoes religious conversion, joins Bethel A.M.E. Church, buys first book, The Columbian Orator.
March, 1833 - Sent to St. Michaels to live with Thomas Auld.
January 1, 1834 - Begins year as field hand under Edward Covey, the "slave breaker," suffers many lashings.
August, 1834 - Fights with Covey; is not whipped thereafter.
January 1, 1835 - Reassigned as field hand to William Freeland.
April 2, 1836 - Escape plot foiled; Frederick and other plotters jailed in Easton.
April, 1836 - Sent back to Baltimore by Thomas Auld.
1836- 1838 Learns caulking trade, is savagely beaten by white fellow apprentices, joins debating society, meets Anna Murray, free Negro daughter of slaves.
September 3, 1838 - Escapes north by train and boat.
September 15, 1838 - Marries Anna Murray in New York City.
September 17, 1838 - Leaves New York with his wife for New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he will work as a caulker.
September 18, 1838 - Arrives at New Bedford, Massachusetts. Soon after, changes name to Frederick Douglass.
1839 - First hears William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, other abolitionist leaders; is inspired by abolitionism as "new religion."
August 9, 1841 - Garrison hears Douglass speak at New Bedford antislavery meeting; is impressed by his ability.
August 12 – 13, 1841 - Speaks before large, chiefly white audiences at Nantucket convention; rouses great enthusiasm; is hired as lecturer by Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society for three-month trial period.
January, 1842 - Hired permanently as anti-slavery lecturer after 3,500 mile tour draws big crowds, high praise for his oratorical talent.
May 28, 1845 - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, published, revealing his identity and presenting a picture of his early life in Talbot County slavery.
August 6, 1845 - Leaves the United States for England, partly to avoid being captured and sent back to slavery and partly to spread the anti-slavery cause in the British Isles.
August 28, 1845 - Arrives at Liverpool on "visit to the home of my paternal ancestors."
October 6, 1846 - Hugh Auld agrees to sell Frederick's manumission for 150 pounds sterling ($711.66 in American currency) raised by British admirers.
December 12, 1846 - Becomes free man when manumission papers are filed in Baltimore County court.
September, 1847 - Announces plans to start newspaper, The North Star, despite bitter opposition from Garrison and Phillips, with funds provided by British friends.
December 3, 1847 - First issue of The North Star is published in Rochester, New York, where he makes his home for the next twenty years.
December, 1847 - Meets John Brown in Springfield, Massachusetts. In later discussions with him, is greatly influenced by Brown's personality and insistence that slavery cannot be ended without violence.
July 19 – 20, 1848 - Attends first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York; begins lifelong crusade for women's voting rights.
May 9, 1851 - Openly breaks with Garrison over issue of political action to end slavery, which Garrison opposes; hence forth the two become bitter enemies.
September, 1851 - Aids three fugitive Maryland slaves, wanted for murdering their former master when he tried to recapture them in Pennsylvania while they were escaping to Canada. The three are among hundreds Douglass helps flee to freedom as "station master" of the Rochester terminus of the Underground Railroad.
July 5, 1852 - Delivers his famous speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" in Corinthian Hall, Rochester, New York.
August, 1855 - Publishes second of his autobiographies My Bondage and My Freedom, a more balanced account of his early life than the Narrative.
September 12, 1855 - Attends Liberty Party Convention at Ithaca, New York; nominated for office of Secretary of State of New York, first time such an honor conferred on an American Negro.
February 1, 1858 - John Brown stays at Douglass's home in Rochester while perfecting plans for encouraging slave revolt.
August 20, 1859 - Meets Brown secretly at stone quarry near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; learns of plan to attack Harpers Ferry; refuses to join Brown's forces.
October 17, 1859 - Delivers lecture on "Self-Made Men" at Philadelphia; lecture interrupted by news of John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry; within a week hurries to Canada to evade arrest on charge of being a Brown accomplice.
November 12, 1859 - Sails from Quebec for England, where he stays six months.
August 29, 1860 - Attends radical abolition national convention at Syracuse; chosen one of two presidential electors-at-large; first time a Negro nominated for such a post.
February 24, 1863 - Becomes an agent for the U.S. Government to recruit Negro soldiers into the Union Army.
February 27, 1863 - Issues "Men of Color, To Arms."
February – July, 1863 - Travels throughout the North recruiting black troops; sons Lewis and Charles are among first to enlist; both see action with Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment.
August 10, 1863 - Receives pass from President Lincoln enabling him to go safely through the Union lines.
August, 1863 - Ceases publication of Douglass's Monthly, successor to The North Star and Frederick Douglass's Papers, ending fifteen-year career as editor and stating that he is going to the South to recruit Negro soldiers.
1864, November 1 Maryland Emancipation
November 17, 1864 - Returns to Maryland for first visit in twenty-six years; delivers six lectures in Baltimore; is reunited with sister Eliza whom he has not seen for thirty years. Lectures at Bethel Church, Baltimore “A Friendly Word to Maryland”
1865, April 9 End of the Civil War at Appomattox Courthouse, VA.
October, 1865 - Delivers lecture at inauguration of Douglass Institute, school for Negro children established in his honor in Baltimore.
May, 1869 - Breaks with feminist leaders when they refuse to support ratification of Fifteenth Amendment unless it includes right to vote for all women as well as black men.
May 19, 1870 - Hailed at great ratification of Fifteenth Amendment celebration in Baltimore.
May 11 – 12, 1872 - Nominated for Vice-President of United States on ticket with Victoria C. Woodhull by the Equal Rights Party, but instead campaigns for re-election of Grant.
July 1, 1872 - Douglass moves his family to Washington on 'A' Street NE.
March, 1874 - Named president of Freedmen's Bank.
June 20, 1874 - Tours Annapolis as guest of Thomas H. Young. He visited many “places of interest” including the Senate Chamber inside the Maryland State House. Viewed the painting of George Washington resigning his commission and recited Washington’s resignation speech from memory. Addressed the African American people of the city at a local African Methodist Episcopal Church (Mt. Moriah or Asbury).
March 18, 1877 - Senate confirms his appointment by President Hayes as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia.
June 17, 1877 - Returns to St. Michaels after forty-one year absence; there meets with Thomas Auld, speaks to racially mixed audience.
1878 Purchases "Cedar Hill", fifteen-acre estate in Anacostia, D. C.
November 23-26, 1878 - Visits Easton; there delivers lecture at courthouse; locates site of his birth on Tuckahoe Creek. Stays in the Brick Hotel.
June, 1879 - Bust of Douglass presented to city of Rochester.
January, 1881 - Publishes third autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
March, 1881 - Appointed Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia by President Garfield.
June 12, 1881 - Revisits Lloyd Plantation, called Wye House in Wye Mills, Maryland.
August 4, 1882 - Anna, his wife of nearly forty-four years, dies.
January, 1884 - Marries Helen Pitts, his former secretary.
February, 1888 - Dedicates remainder of life to struggle for full Negro freedom at surprise birthday party given him by Bethel Literary society in Washington, D.C. on his seventy-first birthday.
July 1, 1889 - Appointed Minister Resident and Consul General to Haiti by President Benjamin Harrison.
September, 1889 - Appointed Charge' d'Affaires for Santo Domingo as well as Minister to Haiti.
July 30, 1891 - Resigns Minister Resident and Consul General to Haiti; disgust over maneuvering by State Department and American business to acquire Mole St. Nicolas.
March, 1893 - Visits Talbot County for third time amid reports that he plans to buy an estate and spend his final years there. Does not buy.
January, 1894 - Delivers his last great address, "Lessons of the Hour," a powerful burst of his old-time fury against lynch law in the South.
February 20, 1895 - Attends morning sessions of National Council of Women in Washington, D.C.; dies at Cedar Hill in the evening.
February 25, 1895 - Family funeral services held at "Cedar Hill"; body lies in state at Metropolitan African Methodist Church in Washington.
February 26, 1895 - Body lies in state at Rochester City Hall; funeral services held in Rochester Central Presbyterian Church; buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester.
- Source: National Park Service