Wes Woods

Wes Woods grew up near the end of enslavement in our country, but shares the memories he has or has been told of life as an enslaved person.  He describes the living conditions first, and then  how his father hired him out to earn extra money after Emancipation.
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There were three or four cabins for the slaves to live in, not so very far from the house. The cabin where my mother and father lived was the closest to the house, for my mother did the cooking. Our cabin was one long room, with a loft above, which we reached with a ladder. There was one big bed, with a trundle bed, which was on wooden rollers and was shoved under the big bed in the daytime. The oldest boys slept in a big wooden bed in the loft. The cabins were built of logs and chinked with rock and mud. The ceiling was of joists, and my mother used to hang the seed that we gathered in the fall, to dry from these joists. Some of the chimneys were made with sticks and chinked with mud, and would sometimes catch on fire. Later people learned to build chimneys of rock with big wide fireplaces, and a hearth of stone, which made them safer from fire.

We were glad when the news came that we were free, but none of us left for a long time, not until the Woods family was broken up. My father hired me out to work for my victuals and clothes, and I got $25.00 at the end of the year. I do not remember any wedding or death in my old master’s house.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Wes Woods1864Eliza IsonEliza Kennedy
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Garrard County, KYKentuckyCartersville, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Family, 1st Person, Bound out after war