William Wesley Payne Memorial Cabin
The first stop was the William Wesley Payne Memorial Cabin. William Payne was the son of an slave on the Stratford plantation, and he remained on the plantation until his death in 1954. On a hill overlooking the Great House and the Potomac River, a cabin was erected to his memory. The cabin itself was constructed to honor Mr. Payne's life, and at his request was designed to replicate the one he was born in. It is also located in an area that some call "Payne Hill or Knoll" signifying the presence of the Payne family in that area.
The cabin itself is a fairly faithful rendition of a 19th century slave cabin and would have housed anywhere from 6 - 8 and upwards of enslaved African Americans
In front of Stratford's Great House stand
two reconstructed slave quarters
. The buildings are made of stone with glass windows and at first glance
seem to be out of character with the type of slave dwellings found elsewhere
on the plantation. The document that provided the guide for the reconstruction
at mid -century was an 1805 insurance sketch which showed the two dwellings
and noted they were stone. The proximity to the Great House made it
likely that they were built to complement the Great House. The site also
represented years of frustration as Doug and his crew dug in several locations
for the remains of the original quarters in that area. Despite the
efforts, no such remains were found, and efforts were abandoned in that location
for the present.
For the past two summers Doug and his students have been digging
at a site on the southwest corner of the great house oval. They are
still not sure what the building was used for, but they are looking for clues
for a possible connection to the African American presence at Stratford.
The last stop was the slave cemetery where it is known that the remains of some Stratford enslaved African Americans lay. Another slave community was across the road where the directors' cabins now stand.