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Adair County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Adair County, named for General John Adair, is located near the Tennessee border in south-central Kentucky. The county was developed in 1801 from a portion of Green County, KY. General John Adair was born in South Carolina and came to Kentucky in 1786. He was a U.S. Senator in 1805, served as a Kentucky Legislator, and was the Governor of Kentucky 1820-1824. He was a U.S. Representative 1831-1833. Once Adair County was established, there were 800 persons [heads of households] counted in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census. In 1830, there was one African American slave owner in the county. There were 8,000 people counted in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, excluding slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from the 1850-1870 census records.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 486 slave owners
  • 1,886 Black slaves
  • 239 Mulatto slaves
  • 108 free Blacks
  • 1 free Mulattoes
With the country moving closer to the beginning of the Civil War, there were still about 8,000 people in Adair County, according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census (minus the slaves). The number of slaves and slave owners had decreased, as had the number of free Blacks. The number of persons listed as Mulatto had increased.

1860 Slave Schedule
  • 341 slave owners
  • 1,342 Black slaves
  • 260 Mulatto slaves
  • 20 free Blacks
  • 40 free Mulattoes
Five years after the Civil War and the freeing of Kentucky slaves with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, the numbers had not drastically changed when the 1870 U.S. Federal Census was completed:
  • 1,783 Blacks (including Parker Hiram Jackman)
  • 32 Mulattoes
  • About 35 U.S. Colored Troops of the Civil War had reported that they were born in Adair County, KY.
For more see "Adair County" and "John Adair" in The Kentucky Encyclopedia; Historical Sketches of Kentucky, by L. Collins [available at Google Books]; and Notes on Adair County, Kentucky, by J. A. Steele and M. C. Watson.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Adair County, Kentucky

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