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<Early Settlers>

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Adam (Boone slave)
Start Year : 1773
Adam was one of the slaves who came to Kentucky in 1773 with Daniel Boone, his brother, Squire, and their families. Adam was with the group of men who were sent out for provisions. The men were attacked by Indians, and Adam survived by hiding out on a creek bank. He returned to tell of the killings, including that of Boone's son, James. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Chambers, Greenberry and Charlotte
Greenberry Chambers, from Barren County, KY, and a former slave, is recognized as the first permanent settler of Blaine Township in Minnesota. Chambers was a fugitive slave in 1864 when he joined Company H of the 15th U.S. Colored Infantry. After the Civil War, Chambers gathered his wife Charlotte and their five children and moved to Minnesota, where he purchased 160 acres of land thought to be totally useless. The family farmed the land for almost a decade before moving to St. Paul. Charlotte Chambers died in 1884 and Greenberry died in 1898. For more about the Chambers family see Circle Pines & Lexington, Minnesota by S. Lee; History of Upper Mississippi Valley by N. H. Winchell, et al.; and "The Story of Greenberry Chambers" at the City of Blaine website.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration West, Military & Veterans, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Blaine and Saint Paul, Minnesota

Estill, Monk
Death Year : 1835
Monk Estill arrived in Kentucky in the 1770s as a slave and was later freed, the first freed slave in Kentucky. He made gunpowder at Boonesborough, KY. His son, Jerry, was the first African American born in Kentucky. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000 [electronic version available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server], and The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.

See depicted image and additional information about Monk Estill at Madison County Historical Society website.
Subjects: Businesses, Early Settlers, Freedom
Geographic Region: Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky

First African Baptist Church (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1790
The First African Baptist Church is considered the first west of the Allegheny Mountains, and is said to predate the first Baptist Church for whites. The church was founded by Peter Durrett, who was a slave also known as Old Captain. Durrett was born in Caroline County, Virginia in the 1700s and arrived in what is now the state of Kentucky around 1785. He and his wife lived in Lexington and the First African Baptist Church was located at the corner of what would become known as Lexington and Euclid Streets. Durrett preached to the slaves who were allowed to attend his church, and there was a beginning congregation of 50 members. Today the First African Baptist Church is located at 465 Price Road in Lexington, KY. For more about the history of the church and it's preachers, the community, and other African American churches that developed from the First African Baptist Church, see One Grain of the Salt by Dr. L. H. McIntyre.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Kentucky African American Churches, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Free Blacks, Negroes, and Mulattoes in the 1800 Kentucky Tax Lists
Start Year : 1800
The Second Census of Kentucky 1800 was constructed from the tax lists in the existing Kentucky counties. Below are the names of free Blacks, Negroes and Mulattoes, all taxpayers who were included in the listing. They were among the 739 free Colored persons in Kentucky in 1800. There may have been others named on the lists, but their race was not noted.

  • Robert Anderson, Barren County
  • William Anderson, Barren County
  • John Baker, Nelson County
  • William Blakey, Barren County
  • Abner Bourne, Barren County
  • Peter Brass, Franklin County
  • William Cousins, Nelson County
  • William Daily, Fayette County
  • Isam Davis, Lincoln County
  • Adam Evens, Lincoln County
  • Michael Jackson, Lincoln County
  • Abraham Levaugh, Warren County
  • John Lewis, Jefferson County
  • Bristo Mathews, Lincoln County
  • Edward Mathews, Lincoln County
  • Gloster Rawls, Nelson County
  • George Stafford, Gallatin County
  • Moses Tyre, Bullitt County
  • William Walker, Nelson County

Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county K-M], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Kentucky Counties: Bullitt, Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Nelson, Warren

Grant, Thomas and Amanda
Birth Year : 1848
Born in Germantown, KY in 1848, Thomas Grant was a member of the U.S. Army Colored Soldiers. According to the U.S. Civil War and Soldier Records and Profiles, Grant enlisted with the U.S. Colored Troops in Lexington, KY, on March 4, 1865. He was stationed in El Paso, TX, in 1870, and at Fort Davis, TX, in 1880. Grant arrived in Tuscon, AZ in 1892, remaining there after he retired from the 10th Cavalry. He was one of the five African American pioneers in the Arizona Territory [Arizona became the 48th state in 1912]. Grant was a stationary engineer and lived on North Main Street in Tucson, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. In 1910, he was employed as a hotel porter, and was the husband of Amanda G. Grant (b.1870 in TX). Amanda's parents were former slaves who were born in Kentucky. Both her daughter, Rita Wellis, and her granddaughter, Christina Wellis, lived with Amanda and Thomas Grant in Tucson. The family lived on West 22nd Street at 11 Avenue. Grant was still alive in 1933 when he was included in J. W. Yancy's thesis on African Americans in Tucson. For more see In the Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage, by the University of Arizona Library; and The Negro of Tucson, Past and Present (thesis) by J. W. Yancy.

See photo image with Thomas Grant at the University of Arizona website.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Germantown, Bracken County, Kentucky / Tucson, Arizona

Harrison, Nathaniel "Nate"
Birth Year : 1819
Death Year : 1920
Nate Harrison was an African American man from Kentucky who was referred to as the first white man on Palomar Mountain. He was actually the first man who was not Native American to live on the mountain. There is a monument to Harrison near the spring where he built his cabin. It was thought that Harrison had been a slave brought to the West around 1848, and who had escaped from his owner and hidden in the mountains. He didn't talk much about his life in Kentucky. Nate knew all of the Palomar Mountain trails and had provided spring water to those on the trails. Others in the area knew of his existence, but Nate Harrison was not named in the U.S. Federal Census. When Nate got so feeble that he could not take care of himself, members of the African American community in San Diego took Nate from his mountain cabin and placed him in the San Diego County Home for the Aged. He died soon after being placed in the home and was buried in a pauper's field. For more see V. S. Bartlett, "Uncle Nate of Palomar" [available .pdf online at the Peter Brueggeman, Palomar Mountain History Resources website].

See photo image and additional information about Nate Harrison at the San Diego State University website.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration West, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Palomar Mountains, California

Hart, Jack
A slave of Nathaniel Hart and an early settler in Kentucky, Hart was present at Sycamore Shoals (in Tennessee) during the signing of the treaty for the purchase of "Kaintucke" from the Cherokees. He also accompanied Daniel Boone on the Wilderness Trail and was present during the building of Ft. Boonesborough. Hart loaned his rifle at the Battle of Blue Licks and the rifle was lost. On March 24, 2004, the Kentucky Senate adopted a resolution honoring Hart and authorizing the purchase of a flintlock rifle to replace the one that was lost in 1782. For more see SR 191.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee / Fort Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky / Blue Licks, Nicholas County, Kentucky

Ishmaelites of Kentucky
There are two discussions about the existence of the the Tribe of Ishmael.

According to earlier sources, between 1785 and 1790, an Islamic denomination called Ishmaelites was first noticed in Nobel County (now Bourbon County), KY. The group was led by Ben and Jennie Ishmael. Individual members were of a multiracial background of African, Native American, and poor whites. The first generation included escapees from slavery and the Indian Wars, all having made their way to Kentucky from Tennessee, North & South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. In the early 1800s, the Ishmael's son John led the group across the Ohio River to the area that today is part of Indianapolis; soon afterward the group became a nomadic community. They were viewed as odd and referred to as gypsies. The group was suspected of having a high infant death rate, and in the 1880s it was common for the children to be taken away from their parents. Adult members were arrested on an array of charges, then imprisoned, committed, or bound to servitude. By the late 1800s, three-fourths of the patients at the Indianapolis City Hospital (a mental institution) were from the Tribe of Ishmael. In 1907 the compulsory sterilization law was passed in Indiana, and the procedure was used to further reduce the number of new births by Ishmaelite members. For more see Black Crescent: the experience and legacy of African Muslims in the Americas, by M. A. Gomez, pp.196-200; and O. C. M'Culloch, "The Tribe of Ishmael: a study on social degradation," Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction at the Fifteenth Annual Session Held in Buffalo, NY, July 5-11, 1888, pp. 154-159. See also The Tribe of Ishmael: a group of degenerates... at the Eugenics Archive website.

According to more recent sources, the Tribe of Ismael is a myth, and Ben and Jennie Ishmael were Christians. One of the current sources is the 2009 title Inventing America's "Worst" Family by Nathaniel Deutsch. The book traces how the Ishmael Family, a poor Christian family that included a Civil War veteran, was used as a representation of the urban poor in the late 1800s, then during the 1970s, became a very much admired family credited with founding an African American Muslim movement and community. For additional information see E. A. Carlson, "Commentary: R. L. Dugdale and the Jukes Family: a historical injustice corrected," BioScience, vol.30, issue 8 (August 1980), pp. 535-539; R. Horton, "Tribe of Ishmael" in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, by D. J. Bodenhamer, et al.; and E. F. Kramer, "Recasting the Tribe of Ishmael," Indiana Magazine of History, v.104 (March 2008), pp.36-64 [available online in IUPUI Scholar Works Repository].
Subjects: Communities, Early Settlers, Freedom, Hoaxes, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Nobel County (Bourbon County), Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Tennessee / North Carolina / South Carolina / Virginia / Maryland

Johnson, Robert: Family and Relatives
Robert Johnson, one of the first Kentucky senators, was a white settler from Virginia. He came to Kentucky in 1783 and built Big Crossings Station, a fort near North Elkhorn Creek in Scott County. Johnson, one of the largest land owners in the state, owned slaves, some of whom were also his relatives. Today there are Johnson family members who are African American and those who are white. A biennial family reunion was held in Georgetown, KY, in July 2005. One of Robert Johnson's sons (by his wife Jemima) was Richard M. Johnson, a U. S. Representative and Senator and the ninth Vice President of the United States. Richard Johnson developed a relationship with Julia Chinn, described as a mulatto, whom he acquired from his father's estate. Julia and Richard had two daughters, Imogene and Adaline. Richard publicly acknowledged his relationship and his children and tried to introduce his daughters into white society, all of which cost him his Senate seat in 1836. For more see S. Lannen, "Unearthing their roots-sharing uncommon ancestors a diverse Kentucky family reunites," Lexington Herald-Leader, July 23, 2005; and Life and Times of Colonel Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky, by L. W. Meyer.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Fathers, Mothers, Inheritance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Kentucky Slaves and Free Blacks, 1800
Start Year : 1800
G. Glen Clift, Assistant Secretary of the Kentucky Historical Society, compiled and published "Second Census" of Kentucky 1800, originally published in Frankfort, KY in 1954. The following quotation is taken from the title page: "A Privately Compiled and Published Enumeration of Tax Payers Appearing in the 79 Manuscript Volumes Extant of Tax Lists of the 42 Counties of Kentucky in Existence in 1800." Within the table on page VI is the following information: 739 free Colored and 40,303 slaves, and there is also a breakdown by county.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county K-M], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z], Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Slaves and Free Persons Not White, 1790
Start Year : 1790
In 1790, there were 11,830 slaves and 114 free blacks in the area known as Kentucky, according to the title Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy, p116. Another source is the "First Census" of Kentucky 1790, compiled by C. B. Heinemann, published in Washington in 1940. The following quote comes from page 1. "It is a privately compiled list of tax payers appearing in the tax lists of all Kentucky counties which were established at the time of the First Federal Census." In Heinemann's work, the number of slaves are slightly higher: 12,430 slaves and 114 free persons who were not white. The following information comes from p.3.

  • Bourbon County:     6,929 whites,   908 slaves,
  • Fayette County:    14,626 whites, 3,752 slaves, 32 free persons
  • Jefferson County:    3,857 whites,    903 slaves,   5 free persons
  • Lincoln County:       5,446 whites, 1,094 slaves,   8 free persons
  • Madison County:     5,035 whites,    737 slaves
  • Mason County:        2,500 whites,    229 slaves
  • Mercer County:        5,745 whites, 1,339 slaves,   7 free persons
  • Nelson County:      10,032 whites, 1,248 slaves, 35 free persons
  • Woodford County:    6,963 whites, 2,220 slaves, 27 free persons

Subjects: Early Settlers, Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county K-M], Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z], Slavery in Kentucky, Sources

LaForce Family Slaves
During the Revolutionary War, Loyalists from North Carolina sought refuge in the Kentucky territory. Rene LaForce (spelling varies, also La Force), a Huguenot, died en route. His wife, Agnes Moseby LaForce, their children and their families, and 13 slaves completed the journey and settled near Martin's Station, located three miles south of Paris, KY. In June, 1780, a British garrison from Detroit approached the LaForce family fortress with about 150 soldiers aided by Native Americans, all led by Captain Henry Byrd. (Detroit was British territory until 1796.) Though the LaForce family claimed to be Loyalists, there was an exchange of gunfire, and lives were lost on both sides. The garrison overtook the fortress, and the inhabitants were marched to Detroit, where the slaves became the property of the garrison soldiers and Native Americans, while the LaForce family was sent to jail in Montreal, Canada. Agnes LaForce and her family were eventually set free, and she attempted to regain the slaves, but even with a good word from George Washington, she was unsuccessful. In 1813 and 1814, her son, William LaForce, who had returned to settle in Woodford County, KY, continued to fight for the return of the slaves without success. The slaves were Betty and her children Hannah, James/Tim, Ishmael, Stephen, Joseph, Scippio, and Kijah; and Hannah's children Candis, Grace, Rachel, Patrick, and Job. For more about the LaForce Slaves see "Descendants of Betty 'Bess' (LaFORCE)" - Generation 1 and Generation 2; and La Force Efforts to Recover Slaves, by L. S. Wark. For more information about the attack on the LaForce Family see W. R. Riddell's articles "The Early British Period," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 5, issue 3 (July 1920), pp. 273-292; and "Two Incidents of Revolutionary Time," Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 12, issue 2 (August 1921), pp. 223-237.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Martin's Station, Bourbon County, Kentucky (no longer exists) / Detroit, Michigan / Montreal, Canada / Woodford County, Kentucky

Letcher, Sukey
Birth Year : 1781
Sukey Letcher, the widow of George Letcher, was born near White Oak Spring in Mercer County, KY around 1781, the slave of Leonard Thompson. She was thought to be one of the first of African descent to be born in Kentucky. April 16, 1873, she was living in Harrodsburg and was the oldest living Colored person born in Kentucky. According to author Lewis Collins, the 1777 Harrodsburg Census showed that there were 19 slaves, and only a few slave families had been brought to Boonesborough and Logan's Station a little before or around the time the census was taken. Sukey [Sooky] Letcher is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census with a note that she was the first Colored child born in Mercer County, KY. She was living with the five members of the George Smith household. Letcher is not listed as a free person in the U.S. Census prior to 1870; she may not have gained her freedom until after the Civil War. She died some time between 1873 and 1880. For more see "The Oldest Colored Person" on p.614 in Collins Historical Sketches of Kentucky: history of Kentucky, volume 2, by L. Collins and R. Collins.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Logan, Molly
Logan was one of the first African American women in Kentucky. A slave, she came to the state with the Benjamin Logan family on March 8, 1776. She had three little boys, Matt, David, and Isaac. The family settled in St. Asaph, a station [later Fort Logan] in Lincoln County, District of Kentucky. For more on Molly Logan see Women in Kentucky, by H. D. Irvin; and Chapter 1 of The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky by L. H. Harrison.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Saint Asaph [Standford], Lincoln County, Kentucky

London (slave)
Death Year : 1778
London, who was killed during battle at Fort Boone, was the slave of Colonel Richard Henderson; they had come from Virginia to what was then known as the County of Kentucky. Henderson was associated with the Transylvania Company that had hired Daniel Boone to help settle the region (Kentucky). When London was killed, Henderson sent a petition to the Virginia General Assembly seeking compensation for the death of his slave; London had been given a gun and ordered by the commanding officer to take up a post outside the fort to help fight against the attack by Shawnee Indians. Henderson stated that if London had stayed in the cabin, rather than following orders to fight, he would not have been killed. Read the text of the petition in Petitions of the Early Inhabitants of Kentucky to the General Assembly of Virginia 1769-1792, by J. R. Robertson [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Fort Boone [Boonesborough], Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Virginia

McWorter, Free Frank
Birth Year : 1777
Death Year : 1854
Born in South Carolina, Free Frank McWorter was the son of a slave named Juda and her owner, George McWhorter. Frank and McWhorter settled in Pulaski County, KY, in 1795. Frank worked McWhorter's farm and was allowed to establish his own saltpeter business. He earned enough money to purchase a farm, his wife's freedom, his freedom, and that of an older son. Once free, Frank took the name Free Frank. In 1830, he and the free members of his family moved to Pike County, Illinois, where he accumulated land. Frank eventually established the town of New Philadelphia, continuing to purchase the freedom of his children and grandchildren still in Pulaski County, KY. While in Illinois, Frank officially changed his name to Frank McWorter [without the 'h']. Three years after his death, portions of the New Philadelphia property were sold to purchase the freedom of the remaining family members in Kentucky. For more see Free Frank; a black pioneer on the Antebellum frontier, by J. E. K. Walker.
Subjects: Businesses, Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Pulaski County, Kentucky / Pike County, Illinois / New Philadelphia, Illinois

Moulton, Elvina
Birth Year : 1837
Death Year : 1917
Elvina Moulton, also known as Aunt Viney, was a former slave born in Kentucky. She was the first African American woman in Boise, Idaho, arriving around 1867. She was employed at a laundry and was also a nurse and housekeeper. She was a founding member of the First Presbyterian Church in Boise; Moulton was the only African American member. For more see Elvina Moulton in "Idaho Territory Days" an website; and A. Hart, "Idaho history - Pioneers of the Gem state," Idaho Statesman, Life section, p. 3.

See photo image of Elvina Moulton at Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Project website.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration West, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Boise, Idaho

Page, Lucy and Edward (Ned)
Lucy and Ned Page were slaves from Lexington, KY. Their quest for freedom was the first case to test the Ohio Constitution concerning slaves, fugitive slaves, and indentured persons. In 1804 Lucy and Ned were brought to Ohio along with the family and slaves of Colonel Robert Patterson, founder of Lexington, KY, and Cincinnati, OH. Both Dr. Andrew McCalla and Patterson had bought land near Dayton on which they planned to have a permanent home for their families and their slaves. The Ohio Constitution prohibited slavery but allowed for fugitive slaves to be recaptured, and stated that only free persons could become indentured. The constitution had more than a few ambiguities as to when a slave would become a free person in Ohio in reference to slaves visiting the state for an undetermined time period, as well as for enforcing the time period a slave (now indentured freeman) would be bound for service. Slave owners from Virginia and Kentucky who moved to Ohio had not had a problem keeping their slaves/indentured servants indefinitely. So, McCalla and Patterson planned for their slaves, once in Ohio, to be referred to as indentured persons, and knowing that Lucy and Ned Page would attempt an escape, had a bill of sale showing that Patterson had sold Lucy and Ned to McCalla. Less than a year after Patterson's first load of belongings arrived in Ohio, the plan began to unravel. Patterson's slave, William Patterson, went before the Court of Common Pleas clerk to have his name placed in the Record of Black and Mulatto (free) Persons. Sarah Ball did the same. In 1805, whites in Dayton encouraged Moses and two other slaves to leave Patterson's farm. With the help of attorneys George F. Tennery and Richard S. Thomas, Moses filed an affidavit saying that he was being held as a slave and forced to work at the Patterson farm. Patterson challenged Moses' claim, stating that Moses, a slave, had helped with the move to Ohio, but that he actually belonged to his brother-in-law, William Lindsay, and under the contract terms, Moses was to return to Kentucky to his life as a slave. The court decided in Patterson's favor, and within days Lindsay arrived in Ohio and took Moses back to Kentucky. Lucy and Ned Page also filed an affidavit, but unlike Moses' case, there was evidence that Lucy and Ned Page were Patterson's slaves before leaving Kentucky. When the case went to court, Patterson changed his story, saying that the Pages were actually indentured servants. The courts decided in favor of the Pages. Patterson and McCalla devised a plan to take the Pages by force back to Kentucky, as had been done with Moses. But, when McCalla and slave catcher David Sharp arrived in Dayton, their efforts were resisted by a group of whites and Ned Page, who had armed himself with a pistol. Sharp was arrested for breach of peace and McCalla filed civil suits in the federal district courts. Lucy and Ned Page left Dayton for an unknown location. McCalla's suits were tied up in the courts for ten years. For more see E. Pocock, "Slavery and Freedom in the Early Republic: Robert Patterson's Slaves in Kentucky and Ohio, 1804-1819," Ohio Valley History, vol. 6, issue 1 (2006), pp. 3-26; and for what was thought to be the first case (1808), see The First Fugitive Slave Case of Record in Ohio, by W. H. Smith.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio

Death Year : 1778
Pompey was an interpreter for the Shawnee chief Blackfish, whose scouts captured Daniel Boone in 1778. Boone escaped, and Ft. Boonesborough was attacked. Pompey fought alongside the Indians; Daniel Boone is credited with the shot that killed Pompey. It is believed that Pompey was a former slave from Virginia and had lived among the Shawnee for some time. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; and T. F. Belue, "Did Daniel Boone kill Pompey," Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 67, issue 1 (1993), pp. 5-22.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Virginia / Fort Boonesborough State Park, Madison County, Kentucky

Priest, James M.
Death Year : 1883
James M. Priest was the slave of Jane Anderson Meaux. Jane A. Meaux was born 1780 in St. Asaph [later Fort Logan], Lincoln County, District of KY, and died in Jessamine County, KY, in 1844. Jane Anderson Meaux stipulated in her will that all of her slaves were to be freed after her death, under the condition that they go to live in Liberia. Prior to her death, she educated and freed one of her slaves, James M. Priest. She sent Priest to Liberia, Africa, to evaluate the situation of the former slaves. When he returned, Priest was sent to school, 1840-1843; he graduated to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. James M. Priest had joined the Presbyterian Church when he was a slave. He expressed an interest in becoming a minister, and he was placed under the direction of Rev. Samuel Taylor in Jessamine County, KY. Priest was such a good student that Jane A. Meaux and Rev. Taylor decided he needed a more formal education, and they tried to get him admitted to Centre College in Danville, KY, around 1835. The school would not accept Priest as a student, and he was enrolled in McCormick Theological Seminary located in New Albany, IN. After graduation, James M. Priest returned to Liberia and was the first foreign missionary from McCormick Theological Seminary. Priest would become the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, 1864-1868. He was serving as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia when he died in July of 1883. For more see p.205 of History of Kentucky, edited by C. Kerr et al.; p.9 of A History of the McCormick Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, by L. J. Halsey; pp.562-63 of Maxwell History and Genealogy, by F. A. W. Houston et al. [all available full-text at Google Book Search]; see Settlers to Liberia "April 1843" at The Ships List website; and "The death of James M. Priest...," Arkansaw Dispatch, 07/28/1883, p.2. A daguerreotype portrait [online] of Priest is available at the Library of Congress. For more of James M. Priest being denied enrollment at Centre College see "Dartmouth College - A Noble Example" in The Colored American, 04/29/1837 [available online in the Black Abolitionist Archive at the University of Detroit Mercy]. See also James M. Priest on page 549 in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions by G. H. Anderson.

  See photo image of James M. Priest at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Judges, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Saint Asaph [Stanford], Lincoln County, Kentucky / Jessamine County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

Rose, Edward
Rose grew up near Louisville, KY. His birth and death dates are not known for certain, but he lived during the late 1700s and early 1800s. His father was a white trader and his mother was referred to as a Cherokee-Negro woman. Rose was known as a shrewd businessman who would fight to the death, more often than not coming out on top of a deal by any means necessary. He was sometimes referred to as a "celebrated outlaw." Rose also had a unique skill for languages, particularly Native American languages, and he was one of the few successful guides, hunters, and fur traders in the uncharted western territory, so much so that his services were a necessity. When he wasn't leading an expedition, Rose lived with the Crow, Arikara, Omaha, and other Native Americans. It is believed he was killed in a tribal battle sometime around the mid 1830s. Edward Rose was one of the contemporaries who mapped the west for future generations, though his name has been forgotten over time. For more see W. Blenkinsop, "Edward Rose," The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, 1972, vol. 9, pp. 335-345; K. W. Porter, "Roll of Overland Astorians," Oregon Historical Quarterly, 1933, vol. 34, p. 111; and In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, by Q. Taylor.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Shipley, Reuben
Birth Year : 1811
Death Year : 1873
Shipley was born around 1811 in Kentucky, according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, and later moved to Missouri with his master. While there, he married a slave woman with whom he had two boys who became the property of his wife's owner. Around 1850, Shipley left Missouri and traveled to Oregon with his master. He became a free man and attempted to buy the family he had left in Missouri. But Shipley learned that his wife had died, and her owner refused to sell Shipley his sons. Shipley remained in Oregon and purchased 80 acres of land in Corvallis. He married Mary Jane Holmes, and they had six children. Shipley deeded two acres of his land to the county for a cemetery on the condition that African Americans would also be buried there. The land transfer for the Mt. Union Cemetery was completed in 1861. Shipley, his wife, and her second husband, R. G. Drake, are all buried in the cemetery. For more see chapter 6, "A few Colored men in Oregon: Blacks in Oregon 1850-1900" in A Peculiar Paradise, by E. McLagan.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Migration West, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Missouri / Corvallis, Oregon

South Union, KY - Shakers, Slaves, and Freemen
Start Year : 1807
South Union, located in Auburn, KY, was the southernmost Shaker Community during the War of 1812. It was founded in 1807 and closed in 1922. The community was known as Gasper River until 1813 when it was renamed South Union. According to the thesis of Ryan L. Fletcher, in 1812, Willie Jones, from Halifax, NC, wanted to bring 107 of his slaves to South Union to receive the gospel. There were already slaves at South Union who belonged to Shaker Believers. It had not been easy to convert the slaves into Believers. They were referred to as the Black Family and were segregated from the remaining members. The thought of adding Willie Jones' slaves was not immediately embraced. It was decided that Jones' slaves would either willingly convert to Shakers and move to South Union, or they would remain slaves in North Carolina. Either way, they would still be slaves. Four of the slaves converted and the remainder were sold with none of the profits going to the South Union Shakers; they refused to have anything to do with the money. Willie Jones and his four slaves joined South Union, until Jones was accused of being a backslider and he left, taking his four slaves with him. Jones' downfall was attributed to slavery and the inequality that came with it. Shaker Believers supposedly followed a doctrine of egalitarianism, and slavery was causing disunion in South Union. In 1817, there was a protest referred to as a Shaker slave revolt. The revolt was nonviolent, it was led by African American Elder Neptune. The slaves wanted their freedom and equality, as was professed in the Shaker gospel. They began leaving South Union and re-establishing themselves in Bowling Green, KY. Elder Neptune soon joined them. Owners attempted to regain their slaves without legal or violent means, it was the Shaker way. Elder Neptune returned to South Union and in 1819, the ministry advised slave owners to emancipate their slaves. By the 1830s, all slaves at South Union had been emancipated. Many of the former slaves, including Elder Neptune, left the community and were captured and sold back into slavery; their emancipation in South Union was not recognized beyond the community. For more see "Does God See This?" Shakers, Slavery and the South by R. L. Fletcher (thesis); By Their Fruits by J. Neal; Shaker Papers, Shakers 1769-1893; and visit Shaker Museum at South Union.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: South Union, Auburn, Logan County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Tucker, Hagar
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1892
Hagar Tucker, from Kentucky, was the first African American police officer in Fort Worth, TX. The police department had been formed in 1873. More than a century later, the Fort Worth Police Historical Association led the effort to replace Tucker's headstone in Trinity Cemetery. Tucker had been a slave owned by William B. Tucker, Sr. from Casey County, KY; he had moved his family and slaves to Fort Worth [then an army garrison] in 1852. They were among the earliest settlers of Tarrant County. William B. Tucker was elected sheriff in 1856, Office of District Clerk in 1858, and Justice of the Peace in 1862. Hagar Tucker was a free man in 1865, and he married Amy, also a former slave of William B. Tucker, Sr. Hagar Tucker became a landowner, registered to vote, and in 1873 was appointed a special policeman. When Hagar found other employment, there would not be another African American police officer in Fort Worth until the 1950s. In 2007, a Texas Historical Marker #12192 was placed at Hagar Tucker's grave site. For more on Hagar Tucker see B. R. Sanders, "Former slave has place in police history," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 03/25/2007, Metro section, p. B1. For more on William B. Tucker, Sr. see Tarrant County, Tx Sheriff: over 150 years service, by Turner Publishing Company, Tarrant County (Tex.) Sheriff's Office.

Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration West, Corrections and Police, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Casey County, Kentucky / Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas

Watts, Cato
Watts was the first African American resident in Louisville, KY, around 1778, and the first resident to be executed, for killing his master. For more see Kentucky: a guide to the Bluegrass state, by Writers' Program of the WPA in the state of Kentucky; Race Relations in the Late 20th Century; and The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky


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