Oral History

Harless and Blanche Wood Interview

Interviewee: Harless Lincoln Wood
Interviewee: Blanche Revere Pratt Wood
Interviewer: James Bielo
Interviewer: Heather Raines
Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Various oral history documentation materials and media

  • 28 page transcript
  • biographical information sheets
  • 2 college course data analysis reports
  • 6 photographs provided by family

In an interview focused on work themes, the Woods speak at length of everyday rural life through the decades, from a time of self-sufficiency on the land to their later work opportunities with the National Park Service. Although audio was not provided, one could read the closeness of this couple in the printed transcript as they finished each other’s sentences or spoke in unison to explain their experiences with canning, threshing, hunting, milking, barter trade, timber cutting, basket making, dance, music, school, family, and farm.

baskets. shakes, shingles, cabin, threshing machine, chestnuts, scrip, World War II, D-Day Plus Six, painting, harvest, hay, canned, country store, garden, milk, cow, beagle, cat, foxes, hogs, veal, cabbage, buckwheat, wheat flour, swap, rabbit, skunk, quail, turkey, black walnut, squirrel, ginseng, flooring, sawmill, rocks crusher, carpenter, washboard, gravel, sand clay road, buggies, cross-cut saw, square dance, baseball, timber, whittling, splits, quilt, church
Bio Sketch

Harless Lincoln Wood was born October 20, 1916, Meadows of Dan, Virginia, to Rufus V. and Bertha Boyd Wood.  A veteran of the US Army, he served in Europe during World War II earning the Bronze Star Award and the Good Conduct Award.  After the war, he married  Blanche Pratt (born 1925, Black Ridge, Floyd County), daughter of George and Ursula Pratt, on December 22, 1949.  He loved the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and began his career in 1953 working on the Blue Ridge Parkway, retiring in 1980. Following the basket-making tradition of his mother, Bertha Boyd Wood, Harless later became a well-known basket maker, creating thousands of handmade oak and reed baskets that many family, friends, and others continue to treasure.


The Economics Series oral history interviews explored the many ways, historical and current, of local economy and work. The Woods’ interview was conducted by Radford University students James Bielo and Heather Raines. During the Fall of 2000, Dr. Mary LaLone’s Radford University Anthropology 471, Economic Anthropology class interviewed five Floyd County families about their own economic livelihood strategies, including Harless and Blanche Wood.  We are grateful to all of the respondents for sharing their stories.