ROSETTA DOUGLASS SPRAGUE
born, in New Bedford, Mass., June 24, 1839. She is the oldest child and the only living daughter of the late Frederick Douglass. At the age of five years she moved with her parents to Lynn, Mass., where the first narrative of Frederick Douglass, written by himself, was published. Its publication attracted widespread notice and stirred the ire of slaveholders in the vicinity from which he escaped. His many friends fearing for his safety arranged to send him abroad. His wife has often told of the demonstrative and enthusiastic young father catching up his infant daughter and fervently thanking God that his child was born free and no man could separate them. Among the many friends who were solicitous for the family were two maiden ladies, Abigail and Lydia Mott, of Albany, New York, who were cousins of Lueretia Mott, the well-known philanthropist and friend of the Negro. These women, who conducted a lucrative business on Broadway, opposite Bleeker Hall, were also staunch Abolitionists. Being anxious for the welfare of the little six-year-old daughter of Douglass, they sought the privilege, of caring for her while the father was abroad. The wife and three sons remained at their home in Lynn during the father’s absence. Mrs. Sprague has frequently spoken of her stay with the Motts, who were in good circumstances, and with their one servant lived in comfort. Their little charge was amply provided for, and was made contented and happy. She had a time for play and a time for study. Miss Abigall gave her instruction in reading and writing and Miss Lydia taught her to sew. At the age of seven Rosetta wrote her first letter to her father, and when her eighth birthday had passed she made a shirt to give him on his return from England. At this early age the child was painfully conscious of the trials and misery resulting from slavery. Many slaves had sought and obtained shelter with the Motts, and the anxious moments of their stay made a deep impression on her childish mind.