By the end of the Civil War, over 331,000 slaves had been freed statewide. Although they were free, life for former slaves was not easy. Opportunities were limited, and in the years following emancipation, progress was slow.
Begun in 1785 with 167 skilled and unskilled slaves, Somerset Place in Washington County was a prosperous plantation by 1790. Slaves' descendants continued the work until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
Slavery in the state's mountains differed from that supported by the cash-crop economy of the east. In the west, slave owners were mostly professional men who used the slaves in their businesses or hired them out to others.