- Rumsfeld bought the property known as “Mount Misery” while preparing to invade Iraq in 2003 for $1.5 million.
- It was originally the home of a “slave breaker” named Edward Covey, who was given the “rebellious” teenage slave Frederick Douglass to “break”.
- Douglass described the violent yet formative journey in his book, “My Bondage and My Freedom,” writing, “I shall never be able to narrate the mental experience through which it was my lot to pass during my stay at Covey’s.
Claudine Zap from Realtor.com wrote on Sept 30, 2019:
“Here’s a “known known”: Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is letting go of his vacation home in St. Michaels, MD. The Eastern Shore residence, which Rumsfeld, 87, picked up in 2003 for $1.5 million, is on the market for $2.45 million.
The sleepy town, about 2.5 hours from Washington, DC, offers a respite from the hurly-burly of political life, for tourists and notable names alike.
But the historic home from 1805 comes with a sinister past—way, way before Rumsfeld ever came on the scene.
The property, known as “Mount Misery,” by 1833, was apparently the home of a farmer, Edward Covey, who also routinely took on the role of “slave breaker,” the New York Times reported as a side note to a travelogue on the town of St. Michaels.
According to the Times article, Covey got his hands on the “rebellious” Frederick Douglass, who grew up in the area and went on to become a great abolitionist leader and statesman.
Douglass described the violent but formative experience in his book, “My Bondage and My Freedom,” writing, “I shall never be able to narrate the mental experience through which it was my lot to pass during my stay at Covey’s. I was completely wrecked, changed, and bewildered; goaded almost to madness at one time, and at another reconciling myself to my wretched condition.”
When Covey tried to “break” him, Douglass reportedly fought back, and escaped.
A 2006 article in the Baltimore Sun suggested that Mount Misery’s history be reclaimed by turning the place into a museum or a monument to a horrific chapter in U.S. history.
For some, the home’s moniker of “Mount Misery” may hit a little too close to home. Rumsfeld’s tenure in the Cabinet of George W. Bush was controversial for its embrace of torture as a means of extracting information from suspected terrorists, A play titled “Mount Misery,” exploring the story of the historic property and commenting on the lives of both Douglass and Rumsfeld, was staged in a theater in San Francisco in 2015…”
See full story here.