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Postell, Peter, Sr. [Peter Glass]
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1901
Postell (spelled Postel in some sources) was a former slave who was born in South Carolina according to census records. He owned a merchant business in Hopkinsville, KY, and was considered quite wealthy. He was often referred to as "The Richest Negro in the South." His estate was valued at $500,000. During slavery, Postell, had the name Peter Glass. He was brought to Kentucky from North Carolina, and he later escaped and joined the Union Army during the Civil War, serving with the 16th U.S. Colored Infantry, according to his military service record, he was in the brass band. Postell had enlisted in Clarksville, TN, in January of 1864, and North Carolina was listed as his birth state. He returned to Kentucky after the war and opened a grocery store in Hopkinsville and is listed in the 1870 U.S Federal Census as Peter Postell. He was the husband of Pauline Buckner Postell, b.1851 in Christian County, KY, [her father was born in S.C.]. Peter Postell was the son of Mrs. C. Kirkpatrick, who was born around 1819 in South Carolina. According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the Postell household consisted of Peter, his wife and four children, his mother, her husband and their son, and a boarder. Peter and Pauline Postell had several more children before Peter died in 1901. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings at the the Documenting the American South website; "A Rich Negro," The Adair County News, 08/21/1901, p. 1; and "Death of a wealthy Negro," New York Times, 05/23/1901, p.1.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: South Carolina / North Carolina / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky