Free black laborers came to Hampton for paid work at the harvest throughout the period of slavery and beyond. For many formerly enslaved men and women, Hampton still represented the best means of survival following Emancipation. One individual in this position, who worked in the Long House Granary, was Jim Pratt. Born enslaved at Hampton in 1834, he escaped during the Civil War but was recaptured. Following Emancipation, as a free black man, he became a paid laborer on the estate. In 1894, Ridgely family memoirist James McHenry Howard commented:
“Jim Pratt is still upon the farm as a laborer & though getting old is one of the hardest workers that have been upon the place. When a younger man he took pride in eclipsing any hired hand in the harvest field, and in forking hay he generally succeeded in breaking down any rival.”
Walk to the Stables to learn more about another site of labor and possibility on the Hampton Estate.