Return to the Riley Farm
In 1878, after meeting President Hayes at the White House, Henson returned to the Riley plantation to find it much diminished — a scene common after the end of slavery in the South. Upon recognizing Henson, the Widow Riley exclaimed: "Why, Si, you are a gentleman!" To which he replied: "I always was madam."
Letter of introduction from Frederick Douglass
"I called on his Excellency President Hayes, in his office, while Mrs. Hayes very kindly showed my wife through the house."
"The once great plantation is now but a wilderness; the most desolate, demoralised place one can imagine. The fertile fields where once waved acres upon acres of tasselled corn…the once ploughed land where grew the endless rows of potatoes…all these splendid lands are overgrown with trees and underbrush… and when we drove at last up the grass-grown road to the house …it was in such a dilapidated condition that the windows rattled and the very door sprang ajar as we drove up…"
"[S]he began to question me, asking me for many names of officers under whom Mr. Riley served in the war of 1812. My memory did not once fail me…and
Erected 2021 by Montgomery Parks.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #19 Rutherford B. Hayes series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1878.
Location. 39° 2.633′ N, 77° 7.298′ W. Marker is in North Bethesda, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Old Georgetown Road (Maryland Route 187) 0.1 miles south of Tilden Lane, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11416 Old Georgetown Rd, Rockville MD 20852, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Royal Audience (here, next to this marker); The Meathouse: A Food Vault (a few steps from this marker); Agriculture on the Riley Plantation (a few steps from this marker); The Riley Plantation (a few steps from this marker); Preserving the Riley-Bolten House (a few steps from this marker); Farm Road Bed (within shouting distance of this marker); Josiah Henson (within shouting distance of this marker); Life in the Slave Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Bethesda.
More about this marker. The marker is in a screened porch on the grounds of the museum. While screened, the porch is open-air.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on June 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.