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Monday, May 25, 2009

KENTUCKY SLAVE QUARTERS

J. M. WATKINS AT HIS HOME BUSINESS WORKSHOP NEAR PAINT LICK

Not everyone gets to live in a slave quarters when they are young and impressionable. But J. M. Watkins did and he has always wondered about the old stone place ever since. J.M. is 73, and of course did not live during this blight on our country's history. So that is why he wonders about the place -- who did it belong to and when and why near Paint Lick, Kentucky?

CURRENT MODEL A GETTING NEW UPHOLSTERING

J.M. still tends to his business of 50 years -- upholstering collectible and vintage cars. I talked to him at his home workshop as he filled me in on the local history of Gerrard County and the slave house as he called it.

SLAVE QUARTERS -- COURSED RUBBLE MASONRY, CIRCA EARLY 1800s
GABLE END ELEVATION -- #1

As J.M. tells the story, his family moved into the place when he was a young boy and lived there with a large pack of siblings for about ten years. He told how there were always rumors about the place -- that it was a slave house. He and his siblings found leg shackles fastened to the floor in the basement. Although it was a rumor -- that his home was slave quarters at one time -- the large iron shackles in the basement cemented the notion with him that it was indeed true.

ALTHOUGH PHOTO IS FAR FROM PERFECT ONE CAN STILL MANAGE SOME DETAIL.
GABLE END ELEVATION -- #2 --EACH GARBLE END HAD INTERIOR FIREPLACE CONSTRUCTION.

Researching Murray-Wooley and Lancaster two experts on historic architecture, I found that slave quarters similar in construction and building design existed in early Kentucky about the late 1700s and early 1800s. The early stone construction of J.M.'s slave house would place it in the same time period.

I agree with Mr. Watkins that the house was probably a slave quarters at one time and my research would date it to around the early 1800s, but now I am asking myself why was it located near Paint Lick??? I plan on following this story up with more information gathering. The place was demolished in 1993. An original limestone quarry stone was taken from the slave quarters "house" demolition and given to Mr. Watkins for memory sake by a family member.

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