Lucy Ann Warfield

Lucy Warfield spent her childhood and young adult life enslaved.  She doesn’t know her age, but she was an adult and married when the Civil War broke out.  In this excerpt, she describes why she doesn’t know when she was born, as well as the difficulty of the work she was given as an enslaved person.  She finishes by describing how one of her mother’s sisters was able to escape to Canada.
See full document • Visit the Library of Congress to see the original document


Lordy child, I’ve been old so long that the affliction of years makes me forget lots and lots I might tell you.  I was born in Jessamine County, Kentucky, but I can’t say what year, because White folks didn’t keep count of their slaves’ ages.  They were just like chickens- like so many chickens.

I know I was a married woman when the war came, and they say I am more than a hundred, Nannie says I’m about 117.  But I just don’t know.  Anyhow, I know that God’s been awful good to me.

. . . They never did give me a whipping, but they sure worked me hard. I did a man’s work on the place; putting’ up stone fences and rail fences, splitting’ rails, breaking hemp, plowing fields, doing corn planting’, and anything the men were supposed to do, and I was supposed to say nothing. The good Lord only knows just what I’ve been through.

I remember when one of my mother’s sisters ran off and got safe into Canada.  She was a fine woman and she didn’t care for anything except to be free. She did what more of them ought to have done – me, too, because I was grown in size long time before we were free- but they were just afraid.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Lucy Ann Warfield1820 (117 years old – speculated)UnknownScott and Perry Families
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Clark County, OHOhioJessamine County, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Family, Gender/gender rolesFirst person, dialect