Fredrick was an American citizen from an African American slave family in Maryland. Prior to the abolition of slavery, many escaped slaves fled to ports such as Melbourne. Frederick work on the docks as a call pumper and had the reputation as a hard industrious worker. He was convicted for the alcohol fueled murder of his lover Minnie Hicks. Prior to his execution, Jordan is recorded to have admitted regretting not heeding his mother’s advice not to “keep straight”.