Eston Woodward (Woodard) was born in 1847 in the State of North Carolina. Little is known of his parents or his early childhood, as he was in his early teens when his master migrated from North Carolina to Louisiana. He was lucky to have had a good slave master, one who cared for his servants. It was a sad day with him when his boss as they called the masters in those days, was called to war (The Civil War in 1862). Eston stayed with the family until the war was over in 1865.
What a happy day it was when the news came to the south that the war was over. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863. By the time news got to the South it was around June 19th. That is why the Blacks celebrate the 19th of June.
After the war was over the slave masters would call all his servants in and inform them they were free to go or they could remain with the masters and work as day laborers or as share croppers on halves. That is one half of their products would go to the landlord and one half for themselves. As the servants had nothing to start with the landlord would furnish all their necessities, that is food and clothing for the year. At the end of the year or the harvest time, the landlord would get his pay from the half that the tenants would have usually leaving them breaking even or coming out in debt, to carry over to the next year.
The servants that were thrifty enough to come out at the end of the year or the day labors who saved their money would usually purchase livestock and farm equipment that they could farm on the third and fourth, that is they would give the landlord the third load of corn and the fourth bail of cotton for their rent.
Grandpa Eston Woodward use to tell us how he worked as a boy in his teenage years, going to the cotton gin in the late summer months helping load the cotton from the wagon to the gin stalls and driving the mules around on the press that is to press the cotton lint that had been separated from the wagon to the gin stalls and driving the mules around on the press that is to press the cotton lint that has been separated from the seed to make a bail that would weigh around five hundred pounds. In the late fall or winter months he would help split rails or cut wood for the fireplace and cookstove. Sometimes they would clear new grounds for planting in the coming year. After several years working as a laborer, Eston left the plantation and worked as a day laborer with Norris Snowden. After several years he was able to buy two mules and farm equipment and started share cropping on his own.
In 1870, Eston Woodward was married to Harriett Lucas. To this union eleven children were born, six girls and five boys. In this order; Katie, Laura, Elbert, Amos, Mattie, Roy, Willie, Delane, Delithy, Elizah, and Della. The first (Katie) was born in 1871 and the last (Della)·in 1893.
Katie Woodard married John Wilkerson. To this union seven children were born. Three boys and four girls; Savannah, Alma, Robert, Rosa B., Cleophas, Mattie and Boss.
Laura died at an early age. Elbert B. Woodard married Ethel Jackson, to this union ten children were born, nine boys and one girl; Alvie J., Alfonza T., Willie C., John B., Arnold S., Bennie T., Harold S., Bessie L., Prince C., and Elbert C. Ethel Jackson died in 1923. Elbert married Elizabeth Braggs and seven children were born to this union, five girls and two boys; Robertine, Alma L., Ruth, Christine, Eston, Gladys and Olando.
Amos the fourth child of Eston and Harriett, married Cora Spivey, to this union seven children were born, Lessie, Beatrice, Inez, Roy, Jethro, Mary Lee and Lois.
Mattie was married to John Mayfield to this union three boys and one girl were, born, Van, Bruce, Lucis, and Corean.
Roy the sixth child was married to Mariah Spivey who was later divorced and Roy married Ruby Gary, to this union four girls and one boy were born, Mary Helen, Theresa, Janice, Margarett and James.
Willie C. Woodard was married and only one child was born to this union, Willie C. Woodard, Jr.
Delane Woodard was married to Catherine Anding and to this union eleven children were born, Thelmon G., Minyon, Leola, Johnny, Mildred, Willis, Delane, Jr., Evelyn, Juanita, Myrline, and Tamer.
Delitha Woodard was married to Richard Lewis, to this union only one child was born, Luther Lewis. Delitha was called (Bammer).
Eliza Woodard was married to George Walton, to this union nine children were born, five girls and four boys, Beatrice, Maud Lee, Jimmy, Willie C., Theo, Gloria, Jerline, Edna and Rudolph.
Della was the baby child of Eston and Harriett Woodard. She was married to Willie Anding and to this union two children were born, Hattie and Leroy.
Eston Woodward was a thrifty farmer. He never had a chance to attend a formal school at all, therefore he did not learn to read and write until he was a grown man, however, he could determine how much a bail of cotton would bring if you tell him the price per pound and the weight of the cotton. How he could do this has always been a puzzle to me.
Grandpa (Eston) as we called him, would sit around the fire place with his long cob pipe with a small stick about a foot long to light up his pipe, after it was lit, he would put it in the ashes to save it for another lighting. He grew his own tobacco in the back yard. It grew in stalks about five or six feet tall with wide leaves, when it was ripe he would cut the leaves and dry them in the sun then twist the leaves into pards about six or eight inches long then it was ready to keep until the next season.
In the record books of Lincoln Parish Louisiana located in the Court House at Ruston Louisiana, we find that Eston purchased three parcels of land. Book F, page 31, Book E page 146 and Book P. page 335. Those records are difficult to follow as no typewriters were in use at that time. All the records are in longhand and some of the Clerks did not write to well. However Eston bought a total of 194 acres of land.
The main crops grown on the farm was cotton, corn and peanuts. Aside from this were watermelons, potatoes, and sugarcane. Many vegetables were grown in the gardens and hogs for meat and cows for milk and butter. With the help of the children as they became large enough to work, Eston and Harriett reared a large family, most of their foodstuff were grown on the farm.
This farm is located about five miles northeast of Ruston, LA. At this time Vienna Louisiana was the county seat of the Parish and is the oldest settlement in Lincoln Parish. Near the Eston Woodard's home, a small schoolhouse was built known as the Snowden Schoolhouse. They had school for three months per year, usually December, January, and February. Then the school children would stop to help on the farm. All of Eston and Harriett children grew up at home except Laura, who died at an early age. As they became grown, they would marry and settle nearby to start life anew. It was the good old days for the Woodard family. They would work six and one half days per week. On Saturday, they take off for leisure. The older boys would go horse riding around in the community while the girls would help their mother around the house.
On the first Sunday in the month, Eston and Harriett would take all the children to church in the wagon while some of the older boys would ride horseback. They would carry their dinner and stay at church until after night services.
Eston Woodward died September 6, 1912 at the age of 65, leaving Harriett and the baby child Della at home. Della became more attached to her mother after the death of her father. For several years they carried on the farm with the help of the youngest boy Delane who had married and settled on the same place about one half mile from the home site. It grieved Della's mother more than any of the other children for her to get married when she was grown. In fact she would not agree for her to go, so Della had to slip away by night, run away as they called it in those days, to get married. Harriett stayed close by, she lost her sight and moved to Ruston and lived with her oldest daughter for some five or more years, but finally regained her sight before she died.