From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Nicholas County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Nicholas County was formed in 1799 from portions of Bourbon and Mason Counties. It is bordered by five counties and was named for George Nicholas from Virginia, who was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and was the first Kentucky Attorney General. Carlisle, in Nicholas County, is one of the state's smallest county seats. It was established in 1816. The town was developed on land that had belonged to John Kincart, who named the town in honor of his father's hometown of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The 1800 Nicholas County population was 2,925, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 2,597 whites, 322 slaves, and 6 free coloreds. In 1830 there was one free African American slave owner. By 1860, the population was 9,416, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 421 slave owners
  • 1,283 Black slaves
  • 214 Mulatto slaves
  • 121 free Blacks
  • 48 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 381 slave owners
  • 1,407 Black slaves
  • 207 Mulatto slaves
  • 112 free Blacks
  • 42 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 955 Blacks
  • 225 Mulattoes
  • About 75 U.S. Colored Troops listed Nicholas County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see Nicholas County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; for more on George Nicholas stand on slavery see Kentucky and the Question of Slavery, a Kentucky Educational Television website; Edmund Lyne Papers [slaves manumission]; Marriage Books (indexed), 1800-1934 by Nicholas County Clerk; and Nicholas County Memorial Library Oral History Collection.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: "Second census" of Kentucky, 1800; a privately compiled and published enumeration of tax payers appearing in the 79 manuscript volumes extant of tax lists of the 42 counties of Kentucky in existence in 1800
NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Edmund Lyne Papers (archival material)
NKAA Source: Marriage books (indexed), 1800-1934 [Nicholas County]
NKAA Source: Nicholas County Memorial Library oral history collection

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  African American Slave Owners in Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Nicholas County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 15, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:50