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Mercer County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Mercer County, located in central Kentucky, was formed in 1785 from a portion of Lincoln County. It was named for Hugh Mercer, from Scotland, who was a physician killed during the American Revolutionary War. Mercer County was the sixth county formed in Kentucky, and it is surrounded by six counties. Harrodsburg, the county seat, was first called Harrod's Town. It was founded in 1774 by James Harrod, who was a pioneer, explorer, and a soldier in the French and Indian War. Harrodsburg is considered the first permanently established settlement in Kentucky. In the First Census of Kentucky, 1790, there were 5,745 whites, 1,339 slaves, and 7 free persons. The 1800 county population was 9,646, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 7,297 whites, 2,316 slaves, and 33 free coloreds. In 1830 there were nine free African American slave owners. By 1860, the population had increased to 10,427, 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

  • 619 slave owners
  • 2,952 Black slaves
  • 295 Mulatto slaves
  • 261 free Blacks
  • 73 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 618 slave owners
  • 2,353 Black slaves
  • 732 Mulatto slaves
  • 103 Colored slaves
  • 167 free Blacks
  • 1 free Colored [Parellee Meaux]
  • 89 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 2,691 Blacks
  • 566 Mulattoes
  • About 142 U.S. Colored Troops listed Mercer, KY, as their birth location.

For more see Mercer County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Letters to Ministers and Elders on the Sin of Holding Slaves, and the Duty of Immediate Emancipation, by J. G. Birney; Marriage Books, 1786-1984, Mercer County (KY) County Clerk; and Through Two Hundred Years, by G. M. Chinn and R. W. Conover.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county K-M]
Geographic Region: Mercer County, Kentucky

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