Alex Woodson

In this third person narrative, the interviewer first describes how Alex Woodson (who is referred to as “Uncle Alex”) was sold. The interviewer then documents several stories of enslaved people during the Civil War, before briefly referencing emancipation. 

*Historically-used terms that are offensive, marginalizing and/or disparaging have been removed from the transcripts and replaced with [redacted].  See more information.
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…[Alex Woodson] was a good-sized boy, possibly 7 years or more when Freedom was declared. His master was “Old Master” Sterrett who had about a 200-acre place and whose son in law Tom Williams ran a store on this place. When Williams married Sterrett’s daughter he was given Uncle Alex and his mother and brother as a present. Williams was then known as “Young Master.”

When war came Old Master gave his (Woodson’s) mother a big roll of bills, “greenbacks as big as your arm”, to keep for him, and was forced to leave the neighborhood. After the war… [Alex Woodson’s mother] returned the money to him intact.

Uncle Alex remembers his mother taking him and other children and running down the river bank and hiding in the woods all night when the soldiers came. They were [Confederate General] Morgan’s men and took all available cattle and horses in the vicinity and beat [searched] the woods looking for Yankee soldiers. Uncle Alex said he saw Morgan at a distance on his big horse and he “was sure a mighty fine looker.”

Sometimes the Yankee soldiers would come riding along and they took things too.

When the [Civil] War was over old Master came back home and the [redacted] continued to live on at the place as usual, except for a few [formerly enslaved people] that wanted to go North…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Alex WoodsonUnknown (80-85)  Iris Cook“Old Master” Sterrett, Tom Williams 
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
New Albany, ININWoodsonville,  KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Civil War, Emancipation, EconomicsFirst Person, Third Person, Dialect, Sold, Hired Out, Hart County