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Nelson County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Nelson County, located in west-central Kentucky, is surrounded by seven counties. It was the fourth county established in Kentucky, formed in 1784 from a portion of Jefferson County and named for the governor of Virginia, Thomas Nelson. The county seat is Bardstown, first known as Salem and later renamed for one of the original town settlers, David Bard (spelled as Baird in some sources). In the First Census of Kentucky, 1790, there were 10,032 whites, 1,248 slaves, and 35 free persons. The county population in 1800 was 9,866, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 7,948 whites, 1,902 slaves, and 16 free coloreds. In 1830 there were four free African American slave owners in Bardstown. The population increased to 10,270 by 1860, 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

  • 997 slave owners
  • 4,156 Black slaves
  • 969 Mulatto slaves
  • 94 free Blacks
  • 1 free Colored [Charlot Humphrey]
  • 21 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 1,053 slave owners
  • 4,918 Black slaves
  • 578 Mulatto slaves
  • 79 free Blacks
  • 32 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 3,092 Blacks
  • 796 Mulattoes
  • About 221 U.S. Colored Troops listed Nelson County, KY, as their birth location.

For more see Nelson County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; Abstracts of Wills Nelson County, Kentucky 1785-1823: complete index including slaves, Blacks, and servants by Nelson County Historical Society; Marriage Bond Books, 1785-1913 by Nelson County Clerk; From Out of the Dark Past Their Eyes Implore Us: the Black roots of Nelson County, Kentucky by P. Craven and R. L. Pangburn; and Declaration of Marriage of Negroes and Mulattoes: the Commonwealth of Kentucky [1900-1985?] by Nelson County Historical Society.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Nelson County, Kentucky



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