Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Frederick Douglass and "Allender's Jake": a research note

There are very few people who will be interested in this post, but for the few among you who study Frederick Douglass, a small research discovery.

Jake Ellis -- aka "Allender's Jake", aka William Dixon -- the fugitive slave Douglass encountered on his first day of freedom in New York City, the one who warned him about slave catchers and who was at the center of a years-long legal battle that pulled in underground railroad conductor David Riggles -- was not the property of Dr. Joseph Allender, as Blassimgame et al. suggested in the footnotes to their (excellent) annotated edition of My Bondage, My Freedom.

Period newspaper accounts of Ellis's trip explicitly say Ellis was the property of "Dr. William T. Alexander" of Baltimore. They got the name wrong. This would be William T. Allender (1807-1880), Dr. Alexander's son.

That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.


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