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

Pilot Knob, Voting Districk #3, Simpson County, Kentucky

(start date: 1870  -  end date: 1890) 

This entry is a brief look at the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 in Simpson County, KY. The purpose of the entry is to show some of the challenges in researching and documenting African American populations and voting districts in small farming communities after the American Civil War and during the Reconstruction Period. Pilot Knob District #3 was located in the northwestern region of Simpson County, along the boarder with Logan County, KY.

Within the Pilot Knob community, there is a knob or monadnock and it is the highest elevation (928 feet) in Simpson County. The county was formed in 1819 from portions of Logan and Warren County. There were slaves and a few free colored persons in Simpson County dating back to the earliest settlements. Just prior to the Civil War, there were approximately 2,309 slaves [blacks and mulattoes] and 96 free persons of African descent in Simpson County according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census and the 1860 Slave Schedule. After the Civil War there were 2,051 blacks and mulattoes in Simpson County, and of that number, at least 180 lived in Pilot Knob District #3 as they are listed on the available sheets of the 1870 U.S. Census.

The 180 persons were only a portion of the total Pilot Knob colored population. There was a total of 470 colored persons in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 [source: 9th Census - v.1, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, 1870, p.153, "State of Kentucky, Table III - Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties"].

Before giving a breakdown of Voting District #3, it must be explained that the district was a subset of a much larger pool referred to as Subdistrict #150. The majority (290) of the 470 colored persons previously mentioned lived in Subdistrict #150 and they had been assigned to Voting District #3. They represented a little less than a third of the 1,000 or more colored persons in Subdistrict #150. The remainder of the residents were assigned to magisterial voting precincts numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6.

So, for the year 1870, in the Pilot Knob Voting District, there were 290 colored persons in Subdistrict #150 who had been assigned to vote in District #3, and added to that were the 180 colored persons who lived in the Pilot Knob District #3, and all added together equaled the 470 colored persons counted in the Statistics of the Population. That being the case, the overall total of 470 colored persons in Voting District #3 was the second largest colored population in Simpson County, with only the city of Franklin District #1 having a larger colored population of 567.

The colored populations in the other districts were Lake Spring District #2 - 430; Gum District #4 - 141; Round Pond District #5 - 95; Middleton District #6 - 462. The colored population was fairly evenly split over district numbers 1, 2, 3, and 6. It should also be noted that these districts contained most of the colored men in the county, and the significance of that being that in 1870 African American men were eligible to vote for the first time with the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on February 3, 1870. [Women would get the vote in 1920.]

Over the next ten years, the black [and mulatto] population in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 increased to about 480 according to the 1880 U.S. Census [there are a number of entries crossed out, lined-through, or partially lined-through on the census records]. All are listed as living in Pilot Knob District #3 only on census pages 1-28. The population numbers indicate that the structure of Pilot Knob Voting District #3 lead to an increase in the number of colored persons while the white population included in the same district seemed to have decreased.

The conract in population growth is in spite of the fact that there are 2 pages missing (no.s 3-4) from the 18 total census pages for the 1870 U.S. Census of Pilot Knob District #3. Overall, the population in Pilot Knob Voting District #3 was on a downward slide as the 19th Century was coming to a close: population of 1,581 in 1870; 1,341 in 1880; and 1,198 in 1890 [*see sources listed below].

Though, what was taking place in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 was not indicative of what was taking place in the county as a whole. Between 1870-1890, the Simpson County population continued to increase, and the African American population in Simpson County continued to increase. By the time the 1900 census was taken, the magisterial districts and voting precincts of Simpson County had changed completely and there was no longer a Pilot Knob District #3. The North Franklin region, exclusive of part of Franklin City, became District #3. The other districts were 1. East District, 2. South Franklin, exclusive of part of Franklin City, and 4. West District [source: ** see below].

Within the census records are the individual names of African Americans who lived in what was for a short time one of the largest voting districts in Simpson County, KY. The voting members (males) in the African American households were listed with the occupation of farmer or working on a farm, while the women are listed as keeping house, domestic servant, or no occupation was given. Simpson County had an agrarian economy and produced wheat, corn, oats, and tobacco, and livestock that included horses, mules, cattle, and hogs [source: History of Kentucky by L. Collins].

There were very few African American landowners between 1870 and 1890. Of the African American names listed in the 1870 and 1880 census records for Pilot Knob District #3 and the No.3 Voting Precinct of Subdistrict #150, many of the names have not be found in later census records. The area may have been a temporary stop for families passing through to northern and western locations. It is also highly probable that some died and their death certificates or other mentions of their deaths are no longer available.  Some may have changed their names due to marriage and other circumstances, or their names were spelled drastically different in each census record. There is also the possibility that there are individuals who never existed and their names were made up by the census takers (known as "padding the totes").

Below is a random selection of the names of African Americans listed in the 1870 and 1880 Census of the Pilot Knob District and the No.3 Voting Precinct of Subdistrict #150 in Simpson County, KY.

*Sources:

"State of Kentucky, Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties, Table III" on p.153 in Ninth Census - v.1, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, 1870

Population of Civil Divisions Less Than counties, Table III - Kentucky" on p.193 in Statistics of the Population of the United States at the Tenth Census, 1880

"Minor Civil Divisions, Table 5" on p.166 in Report on Population of the United States at the 11th Census: 1890, Part I 

** Source: 

"Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1900, Table 5" on p.184 in Census Reports, v.1, 12th Census of the United States taken in Year 1900, Population, Part I

AFRICAN AMERICANS LIVING IN PILOT KNOB DISTRICT #3 and the NO.3 VOTING PRECINCT of SUBDISTRICT #150
SIMPSON COUNTY, KENTUCKY
1870-1880
(random selection)


NAME/BIRTH YEAR CENSUS DISTRICT LOCATION OCCUPATION CENSUS LATER LOCATIONS OCCUPATION MARRIED NAME  DEATH
Armstrong, John / 1824 1880 Pilot Knob farming          
Arnett, Dovy / 1878 1880 Pilot Knob child          
Baird (or Beard), Wade / 1815 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm 1880 Middleton, KY laborer    
Blackburn, Clark / 1845 1870 Pilot Knob, KY works on farm          
Bland, Toby / 1859 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm 1920 Bowling Green, KY laborer   1924 Warren Co., KY
Boaz, Sophia / 1850 1870 Pilot Knob, KY domestic servant          
Bogan, Morning / 1825 1880 Pilot Knob, KY servant          
Bradley, Maria / 1830 1870 Pilot Knob, KY domestic servant          
Carter, Columbus / 1870 1880 Pilot Knob, KY child          
Crowdus, Henry / 1858 1870 Pilot Knob, KY domestic servant 1920 Indianapolis, IN none given    
Cushenberry, Hayes / 1874 1880 Pilot Knob, KY child 1940 Bowling Green, KY (widowed)    1944 Warren Co., KY
Davidson, David / 1825 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm          
Dawson, Nelson / 1854 1870 Pilot Knob, KY works on farm 1880 Lake Springs, KY works on railroad   Waren Co., KY
Disdale, Gabrella / 1867 1880 Pilot Knob, KY child 1900 Louisville, KY none given Bland  
Downey, Sallie / 1857 1870 Pilot Knob, KY domestic servant          
Ewing, Gilbert / 1856 1880 Pilot Knob, KY farming          
Fresh, Emeline (Emily) R. / 1841 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house 1920 Auburn, KY (widowed)    
Fuqua, Nelson / 1843 1880 Pilot Knob, KY laborer 1910 Bowling Green, KY (widowed)   1916 Warren Co., KY
Graham, Henderson / 1855 1870 Subdistrict #150 child 1930 Mound City, KS Pension Attorney   1937 Mound City, KS
Granger, Peter / 1861 1880 Pilot Knob, KY Laborer 1900 Bowling Green, KY horse trainer    
Hampton, Tisha / 1840 1870 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house          
Holland, William G. / 1842 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm 1900 Van Buren, AR farmer    
Horn, Rebecca / 1840 1870 Subdistrict #150 none given          
Huskey, Amanda / 1843 1870 Subdistrict #150 none given 1900 Simpson County, KY (widow)    
Isbell, Henderson / 1848 1870 Pilot Knob, KY works on farm 1900 Simpson County, KY horse trainer    
Kelley, Marthy / 1852 1870 Subdistrict #150 none given          
Low, Victoria / 1848 1870 Subdistrict #150 none given 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house    
Mallony, Richard / 1814 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm          
Martin, Prince, Sr. / 1821 1870 Pilot Knob, KY farmer 1900 South Franklin, KY none given    
McCutchen, Peter / 1851  1870 Pilot Knob, KY works on farm          
McElwain, Sarah / 1830 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house 1900 Hickory Flat, KY (widow)    
Petree, Eliza / 1850 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house          
Ray, Peter / 1820 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm         1880 Warren Co., KY
Sloss, Emma / 1856 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house 1900 Gallatin, TN  washerwoman   1909 Gallatin, TN
Smith, Sawyer / 1824 1870 Pilot Knob, KY farmer  1880  Franklin, KY farmer    
Smithson, Harrison / 1846 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm 1880 Pilot Knob & Franklin, KY
listed twice in census
farmer    
Tarrence, Nathan / 1857 1870 Pilot Knob, KY child 1910  Oak Grove, KY farmer    
Taylor, Joshua / 1840 1870 Subdistrict #150 works on farm 1900 Simpson County, KY farmer    (Civil War Veteran)
Tisdale, Fletcher / 1860 1870 Subdistrict #150 child          
Venable, Andrew J. / 1862 1880 Pilot Knob, KY laborer          
Whitesides, Susan / 1840 1880 Pilot Knob, KY keeping house          
Woodward, Adam / 1859 1870 Subdistrict #150 child          
Wright, Josephine / 1845 1870 Pilot Knob, KY domestic servant          

 

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Simpson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Pilot Knob, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: History of Kentucky
NKAA Source: 9th Census - v.1, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, 1870
NKAA Source: Statistics of the Population of the United States at the Tenth Census, 1880
NKAA Source: Report on Population of the United States at the 11th Census: 1890, Part I  
NKAA Source: Census Reports, v.1, 12th Census of the United States taken in Year 1900, Population, Part I. Prepared under the supervision of William Hunt.

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“Pilot Knob, Voting Districk #3, Simpson County, Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed November 18, 2017, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/3106.

Last modified: 2017-09-22 15:27:23