Once the home of Eliza Bailey Mitchell, abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ closest sibling, the oldest one-room and loft portion of this structure (left) was built between 1815 and 1850, while the second room on the right was reconstructed at CBMM to resemble the original and typical parlor-and-hall style home. Eliza and her husband Peter, a free Black Man, lived in this house with their family for many years, on the Perry Cabin Farm owned by the Hambleton family, which previously enslaved Peter. The house was moved to Lee Street in St. Michaels by the time Peter purchased it from the Hambletons in 1871, one year after Eliza’s death.
In 1972, James E. Thomas – the great-grandson of Peter and Eliza Mitchell, became the first Black Commissioner of the Town of St. Michaels and, a few years later, its first elected president. He was instrumental in saving the Mitchell house from demolition. It was moved to the Fogg’s Landing area of CBMM in 1981 and was restored to interpret the lives of enslaved and free Black laborers through the lives of the Bailey-Mitchell family and renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
The home and its occupants’ stories were untold for many years, until it came to CBMM, which is situated on land that was part of the Perry Cabin Farm where Peter Mitchell was enslaved and only a few blocks from the Auld property where Frederick Douglass and Eliza Baily Mitchell were enslaved.