Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest

staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database


Return to search page.

Atwell, Joseph Sandiford
Birth Year : 1831
Death Year : 1881
Rev. Joseph S. Atwell, from Barbados, was the first colored man ordained a Deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Kentucky, according to his obituary on p.5 of the New York Times, 10/10/1881. Rev. Atwell was Rector at St. Phillips Protestant Episcopal Church on Mulberry Street in New York City when he died of typhoid fever in 1881. He had attended Codrington College in Barbados, and came to the United States in 1863 to attend the Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated in 1866 and next came to Kentucky where he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Smith. Rev. Atwell was a missionary worker in Kentucky and next went to Petersburg, VA, where he was ordained a priest in 1868 and became Rector of the St. Stephen's Church and was head of a parish school. He then went to Savannah, GA, in 1873 and was Rector of the St. Stephen's Church. He went to New York in 1875. Rev. Joseph S. Atwell was the husband of Cordelia Jennings Atwell, a mulatto from Pennsylvania, and the father of Joseph, Robert, and Earnest Atwell [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived at No.112 Waverley Place.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Immigration, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Barbados, Lesser Antilles / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Kentucky / Virginia / Savannah, Georgia / New York

Born in Mexico, Lived in Kentucky, 1850-1920
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1920
This entry comes from reference questions asked by a researcher looking at the population of those who were born in Mexico and lived in Kentucky up through the end of WWI. A second part to the search looked at how the individuals were classified by race in U.S. Census records. Given that race was not noted consistently in the census for African Americans in Kentucky, it was a bit of a surprise that in Kentucky census records and death records, and in military records, those persons born in Mexico and having lived or died in Kentucky, and those who served in the military, most often their race was noted as "white" between 1850 and 1920. There were also a scattering of other race notations: black, colored, mulatto, Indian, Mexican, Spanish, some made-up notations, a combination of two or more of these, or nothing was listed in the column for race. There was not a large population of persons born in Mexico and living in Kentucky; there were no more than 43 prior to the 1920 Census. Also, it cannot be assumed that individuals self-identified in terms of race or knew what race had been noted in a government document. Other considerations in the research were as follows: were the persons born in Mexico, KY, located in Crittenden County, or were they born in a city named Mexico in another U.S. state; was it noted in the record that the person was born in Mexico (the country) and the person was also a citizen of Mexico (the country); was the person who was living in Kentucky a citizen of the United States or some other county, and had been born within the country of Mexico.


The census records contains the names of European emigrants whose child or children were born in Mexico (the country) prior to the entire family living in Kentucky. Individual names could not be relied upon as a hint about the person's nationality, race, or ethnicity. In the table below are totals for all persons who were born in Mexico (the country) and lived or died in Kentucky between 1850 and 1920. Please note that the table DOES NOT contain information on the adoption of Mexican children by non-Mexican parents. There is NO NOTATION of children born to a Mexican parent and a non-Mexican parent. There is NO NOTATION of individuals who were brought from Mexico and enslaved in Kentucky. Without a doubt, there were unique family dynamics, and there were enslaved Mexicans in Kentucky [see the Peter White entry in NKAA], but documenting such information requires research beyond the use of U.S. Census records, military records, and Kentucky Death Records. Slaves listed in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census Slave Schedules are not enumerated by name or country of origin, only the slave owners are listed by name.


For this NKAA Database entry, the start year is 1850, which was the first year the U.S. Census collected data on place of birth for each person. Up to the year 1870, the U.S. Census records were organized under the U.S. Federal Court system. Each district had a U.S. marshal who hired other marshals to administer the census. For the U.S. Territories, governors were responsible for the enumeration of their areas. The 1850 Census data was collected after the Mexican-American War that took place between April of 1846 and February of 1848. Added to the influence of the war were major political debates as to whether the newly acquired land from Mexico would become slave-holding territory or not. In Kentucky, the question of race had historically been recognized as black, mulatto, or white, all based on physical appearances. The same criteria applied to others who were born in Mexico and other countries. By 1850, the most immediate concern was how to extend and maintain the ways of the past within the newly acquired Mexican Territory. For more see the PBS site How the Mexican-American War Affected Slavery / The Abolitionist. Also, men from Kentucky rushed to the call to come fight for America during the Mexican-American War, and there were so many men who came forward that all could not be taken; nonetheless, there were more than 5,000 Kentucky fighting men in Mexico during the war. For more see the Kentucky Historical Society website Explore KY's Mexican American War, see also the site The Mexican War.


At the close of the war, if Mexican immigrants came to Kentucky accompanying the soldiers who were returning home, this information would not be noted in the 1850 U.S. Census record. Immigration data would not be collected for another 50 years; in the 1900 census, persons born in Mexico and living in Kentucky were placed within the previously defined race categories of either black, Mulatto, or white. The same was mostly true for the 1910 census. There were also additional notes added to a few entries, such as "Spanish" or "American." The population numbers for persons born in Mexico and living in Kentucky did not fluctuate much until the 1920 census was taken, and it showed an increase that was more than four-times the average between 1850 and 1910. The sudden increase of Mexicans in Kentucky had come about during the decade of the Mexican Revolution [], between 1910 and 1920 when thousands were fleeing Mexico. This was particularly true during the latter half of the decade and during WWI [] when American servicemen were fighting in Europe. Also included in the table below are the names of men who were born in Mexico and completed their WWI Draft Registration Cards in Kentucky, as well as those who were included in the draft registration records from Kentucky for the American Civil War.


Between 1910 and 1920, the increasing number of Mexicans in Kentucky was driven by the coal mining businesses in Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Hopkins, Letcher, Perry, Pike, and Union Counties. The coal companies had launched an international recruitment effort for coal miners. According to author Richard J. Callahan, in 1920, there were 92 Mexican miners in the Harlan coal mines [source: Work and Faith in the Kentucky Coal Fields: subject to dust by R. J. Callahan, p.77]. Mexicans made up 13% of the immigrant population in Benham, and they were the second largest group of immigrants in Benham [source: Factions and Corporate Political Strategies in Harlan County, Kentucky: implications for community sustainability (thesis) by A. R. Winston, pp.219-220]. See also the Benham Coal Company Records at Explore UK, the records are held at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. [The number of coal miners in the table below is slightly less than was counted by Callahan; the census data would have been collected during the earlier months of 1920 and did not represent the entire calendar year.]


The table below is the initial response to the questions of the researcher who helped initiate this entry. At no time between 1850 and 1920 was there more than 10 persons noted as Black or Mulatto during each decade reviewed for  Mexicans living in Kentucky or who died in Kentucky. Overwhelmingly, persons born in Mexico who migrated to Kentucky were noted as white in the U.S. Federal Census. Even when the person recording the data was not sure how to note the race of Mexicans in Kentucky, the made-up notations of Ba, OP, Wt, Ot, and other notes were used, but all of these notations were marked-out and replaced with the letter "W" for "White." There was also the occasional notations such as P, Spanish, Malaysian, I for "Indian," Mw for "Mexican-White," or Y for "Yellow."




Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Jefferson, Kenton, Marion, Nelson, Todd, Warren, Washington Mexican -1,
Mulatto -2,
[Not noted for all others]
1801-1850 7 Females
35 Males
16   Blacksmith, 3 Boatmen, Fifer, Finisher, 4 Laborers, 2 Lutheran Ministers, Musician, Servant, Shoe Maker, Student in Nelson Co., 3 Tailors, ? Maker,
[Nothing noted] -15, [undecipherable] -7

*Fifer - non-combat foot soldier who played the fife [transverse flute] during battle.
[Not noted] No name for one person. Of the sixteen children under the age of 18, four children were in a household with their parents. Three of the children were listed as working.


Barren, Breckinridge, Campbell, Green, Hardin, Jefferson, Kenton, Madison, Marion, McCracken, Mercer, Nelson, Washington Copper or Colored -1
Mulatto -1
[Not noted for all others]
1803-1858 9 Females
21 Males


  3 Carpenters, Finisher, Laborers, Loafer, Music Teacher, Shoe & Boot Maker, River Man, Servant, 3 Students in Nelson Co., 2 Tailors, Tobacconist, Watchman, [Nothing noted] -13 [Not noted]

Of the twelve children under the age of 18, six lived in a household with their parents.
1870 30 Adair, Boyle, Campbell, Daviess, Estill, Fayette, Franklin, Greenup, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, Kenton, Madison, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Nelson, Washington White -22
Black -3
Mulatto -3
[Marked Out]- 2
1802-1868 10 Females
20 Males
6   Barber, 3 Carpenters, Carriage Driver, Domestic Servant, Farmer, Home, 3 Keeping House, Music Teacher, 2 Farm Laborers, Laborer, Printer, Railroad, Sailor, Shoe Maker, 2 Students, Tailor, Wagon Maker, [Nothing noted] -5, [undecipherable] -1 [Not noted for all] Of the six children under the age of 18, they all lived in a household with their parents.
1880 24 Adair, Boyle, Campbell, Carroll, Franklin, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, Kenton, Logan, Lyon, McCracken, Mercer, Nelson, Union, Warren, Washington White -19
Black -2
Mulatto -2
I=Indian -1
1803-1858 6 Females
18 Males
3   At home, 2 Carpenters, Carriage Painter, 3 Farmers, Farm Hand, Hack Driver, 4 Keeping House, Musician, Planer in Mill, Servant, Shoe Maker, 3 Students, Tailor, [Nothing noted] -4 Single 9
Married 13
Widowed 2
Of the three children under the age of 18, they all lived in a household with their parents.
1900 31 Adair, Ballard, Boyle, Campbell, Christian, Fayette, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, Kenton, Lincoln, McCracken, Mercer, Muhlenberg, Nicholas, Shelby, Trigg, Warren, Woodford White -24
Black -7

12 Females
19 Males
5 [Nothing noted] 18,
[Marked-out] 1,
Unknown 4,
1853, 1856, 1861, 1867, 1875, 1877, 1894, 1898
Barber, 4 Carpenters, Civil Engineer, Coachman, 2 Farmers, Hospital Corp - Military, House Girl, Jeweler, Laborer-Brick, Painter, Patient in Lunatic Asylum, Physician, Shoe Repairer, 5 Students, 2 Teachers, Teamster-Lumber, Wheelwright, [Nothing noted] -4, [undecipherable] -1 Single 13
Married 17
Widowed 1
Of the 5 children under the age of 18, four lived in a household with their parents.
1910 43 Ballard, Breathitt, Breckinridge, Campbell, Christian, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Hardin, Hart, Hopkins, Jefferson, Lincoln, Mercer, Trigg, Whitley, Woodford, Union White -23
White/American -5
White/Spanish -7
Black -3
Mulatto -3
Spanish -1
1836-1909 22 Females
21 Males
7 [Nothing noted] 31,
Unknown 1,
NA 1,
1865, 1874, 1880, 1884, 1886, 1890, 1898, 1905, 1910 (2)
2 Bookkeepers, Coachman, Coal Miner, Farm Worker, Farmer, Housekeeper, Inmate-City Hospital-Steamboat, Laundress, Mining Engineer, Musician/Teacher, 2 Nun/Teachers, Physician, 2 Race Horse Grooms, School Teacher, 2 Servants, Theater, Timber Cutter, Undertaker, Quarry Worker, [Nothing noted] -19, [undecipherable] -1 Single 17
Married 23
Widowed 3
One person's age was marked-out.
Of the seven children under the age of 18, all lived in a household with their parents.
1920 161 Bell, Campbell, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hardin, Harlan, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, Kenton, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Mercer, Perry, Pike, Spencer, Union White -52
Wt/White -35
Ot/White -46
OP/White -3
Ba/White -10
Mexican -2
Mulatto -2
Black -3
P=? -1
Y=Yellow -2
1833-1919 48 Females
113 Males
39 [Nothing noted] 8,
Marked-out 5,
Unknown 16,
[Undecipherable] 2, 1859, 1882 (2), 1888, 1895, 1898, 1900, 1907, 1910 (2), 1911, 1912 (5), 1913 (5), 1914, 1915 (18), 1916 (28), 1917 (9), 1918 (26), 1919 (27)
Bank Cashier, Blacksmith, Boarding House, 2 Carpenters, 67 Coal Miners, 2 Ditch Diggers, Doctor, Domestic, Electrician-Coal Mines, Errand Boy-Grocery Store, Farmer, Hotel Cook, Inmate-Laundress, Inmate - Shirt Maker, Laborer, 3 Laborer-Fort Knox, Life Insurance, Machine Shop, Minister, Publishing Company Subscriber, Seed Store, Soldier-Fort Knox, Soldier-Fort Thomas, Teacher, Wagon Maker, Waitress, [Nothing noted] -65 Single 96
Married 59
Of the thirty-nine children under the age of 18, thirty-eight lived in a household with their parents.
1863 Joseph Baldes Kentucky White 1838 Mexico   Carpenter   Married  
1863 Richard King Kentucky White 1831 Mexican   Finisher, Machinist   Married  
1863 Nathan Nolan Henderson White 1823 Mexico   None     15 years in the U.S. Service. Fought in the Mexican War.
1863 Peter Ross Kentucky   1823 Mexico   Boatman      
1917 Pete Casna Kenton White 1896 Gallop, Mexico Natural Born Citizen Covington Ice Cream Company - vendor 17 E. 2nd Street, Covington, KY Single  
1917 Manuel Leal Jefferson White 1893 Guanajuato, Mexico Alien - Mexican YMCA Building - painter 820 S. 3rd Street, Louisville, KY Single Claimed exemption from draft as alien.
  Frank Martimi Letcher White 1892 Lardo, Mexico Alien - Mexico The Consolidation Coal Company - miner Jenkins, KY Single Claimed exemption from draft as alien
1917 Antonio Perez Letcher Malaysian 1896 Mexico City, Mexico Alien - Mexico Consolidation Coal Company - miner Burdine, KY Single Private Infantry 6 months in Mexico
1917 Marcario Perez Letcher Malaysian 1889 Mexico City, Mexico Alien - Mexico Consolidation Coal Company - miner Burdine, KY Married Private Infantry 6 years in Mexico
1917 Paul Powell Jefferson White 1888 Saltillo, Mexico Alien - Mexico Baptist State Board - secretary 205 E. Chestnut, Louisville, KY Single Sergeant Infantry 3 months in Tennessee
1917 Juan Ruis Floyd White 1895 Del Riviera, Mexico Alien Declarant - Mexico Bates & Rogers - laborer Fed, KY Single Soldier in U.S. Army for 2 years
1917 Samuel Tejada Christian White 1890 Monclova, Mexico Alien - Mexico Montgomery-Perkins Co. - day laborer Hopkinsville, KY Single  
1918 Mike Ochoa Harlan White - Mexican 1897 Lampuga, Mexico Alien - Mexico U.S.C. & C. Company Inc. - miner Lampuga, Sonora, Mexico    
1850-1860 1 Kenton   1849 Mexico City, Mexico Covington, KY     Single Females -1
CAUSES: [Nothing noted]
1861-1870                   Females
1871-1880 1 Jefferson White 1844 Mexico Louisville, KY [Nothing noted] -1 Louisville, KY   Females
Males -1
1881-1890 2 Kenton White 1802, 1857 Mexico Cincinnati, OH
Covington, KY
[Nothing noted] -2 Kenton County, KY Single -1
Widowed -1
Females -1
Males -1
CAUSES: Osteitis, [Nothing noted] -1
1891-1900                   Females
1901-1910 3 Jefferson (2), Kenton Black, Indian, White 1841, 1855, 1885 Mexico Covington, KY
Louisville, KY-2
Carpenter, Domestic
[undecipherable] -1
Covington, KY -1
Louisville, KY - 1
[undecipherable] -1
Single -1
[Nothing noted] -1,
[undecipherable] -1
Females -1
Males -2
CAUSES: Accident, Strangulated hernia, [undecipherable] -1
1911-1920 8 Fayette, Franklin, Harlan, Jefferson (3), Owen, Pike Black, Mexican -4, White -3 1840, 1848, 1886, 1890, 1894, 1896, 1909, 1919 Mexico, Monteray, Mexico -1 Frankfort, KY Lexington, KY
Louisville, KY -2
Lynch, KY
Owenton, KY
Poor Fork, KY
Wolfpit, KY
Coachman, Coal Miner -3, House wife,
[Nothing noted] - 1
[undecipherable] -2
Frankfort, KY
Lexington, KY
Los Antiano, TX, [Nothing noted]-5
Single -5
Married -2
Widowed -1
Females -3
Males -5
CAUSES: Acute Bronchitis/Asthma, Appendicitis & Cholera, Asthma, Fell from 2nd story window, Gun Shot, Influenza, Slate fall in mine, Tuberculosis

Subjects: Immigration, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Race Categories, Mexico & Kentucky
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Mexico

Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent
Start Year : 1885
Prior to the end of the Civil War, the formation of Negro colonies in Central and South America had been attempted by President Lincoln and others. In 1885, the idea was revisited by a Negro organization known as the Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent. There were 50 prominent members from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and a few other states. The group met for several years and in 1893 were prepared to put their plan into action: Negroes in the U.S. were to form colonies prior to each colony being deported to a new homeland in various countries in Central or South America. Colonel John M. Brown, a county clerk of Shawnee County, Kansas, was president of the organization, and S. W. Wine of Kansas City was secretary. The Brazilian government had given assurance that it would help the Negro colonists. There was strong opposition to the plan from Negro leaders throughout the U.S. There was also speculation that the southern Negro labor force would be depleted and the North would lose the best members of the Negro race. For more information see The Negro a Menace to American Civilization by R. W. Shufeldt [available full view at Google Book Search]; and "Negroes going to Brazil," New York Times, 04/03/1893, p. 8. See also Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada.
Subjects: Immigration, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Central America / Brazil, South America

Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM), Kentucky
Start Year : 1881
Long before the Christian Woman's Board of Missions (Disciples of Christ) was formed, the year 1819 was the beginning of woman's missionary work as a distinctive agency. The first organization was the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York (source: Historical Sketch of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions by E. J. Dickinson; H. E. Moses). That particular organization ceased in 1861, though other efforts had been put into place over the 42 years and would eventually lead to the formation of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM) in 1874. The CWBM's first work with Negroes was in 1881 in Jackson, MS, where Negroes were to get the same kind of help as the CWBM had given in Jamaica [p.40]. The work in Mississippi lasted for 13 months. In the late 1880s, there was work in Kentucky that fell under the heading of "extension in the home field" [p.41]. This was not necessarily work geared toward Negroes in Kentucky because a different avenue had been found for that work, partially due to the fact that the membership of the CWBM was whites only.  


Working around the restricted membership, it was in Kentucky in 1880 that the first black led organization was formed. A group of black women took the lead and formed the Kentucky Christian Woman's Board of Missions Convention [source: The Stone-Campbell Movement edited by D. N. Williams, D. A. Foster, and P. M. Blowers, p.49, see "The CWBM and Race"; and the NKAA entry Conventions of the Colored Christian Churches in Kentucky]. Also, in 1896, black women in Mississippi formed the Mississippi Women's Missionary Society. Both the Kentucky and the Mississippi organizations did work with the national CWBM, but the two groups operated independently of CWBM and of each other. The segregated groups would eventually be merged into CWBM. 


The first Negro branch of the national Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM) was formed in Arkansas in 1896. The branch was organized by Sarah Lue Bostic who would go on to organize and lead other Negro branches. Another effort took place in 1889 when the American Christian Missionary Society (ACMS) formed a Board of Negro Education and Evangelization in Louisville, KY [source: Journey Toward Wholeness by B. M. Cardwell and W. K. Fox]. The organization gave support to colored institutes in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Louisville Bible College in Kentucky [pp.49-50]. It was a struggle for the ACMS to maintain the institutes. The following year, the national CWBM formed their Negro education and evangelization board which took over the work with Negroes that had been attempted by the ACMS. The work with Negroes is mentioned throughout the CWBM historical sketch, as are efforts in Kentucky, and the contributions and efforts from persons and organizations in Kentucky. There was also a Negro CWBM worker who came to Kentucky, and did so by way of Mississippi and Liberia. The journey actually started with his teacher, Jacob Kenoly (1876-1911), a minister who was born in Laclede County, MO. Kenoly was an educated man, his education started in Missouri and culminated in Edwards, MS at the CWBM school Southern Christian Institute. Kenoly attended this particular school because he wanted to go to Africa as a missionary. One last stop for his training was in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Once his education was completed and Jacob Kenoly had the money need for the voyage, he left the United States and arrived in Monrovia, Liberia as a Disciples missionary on July 26, 1905. He did good work until his death in 1911 due to a boating accident in Liberia.


Jacob Kenoly was the Disciples' second Negro foreign missionary sent to Liberia, Africa. The first had been a former slave named Alexander Cross who was from Kentucky [source: The Life and Work of Jacob Kenoly by C. C. Smith, pp.28-30]. Alexander Cross went to Monrovia in January of 1854, and died about a month after his arrival. When Jacob Kenoly arrived in Liberia 51 years later, he was told about Alexander Cross and he made it a point to talk with individuals in Monrovia who had known Alexander Cross. Jacob Kenoly was a minister and a school teacher in Liberia, and one of his students was James Isaiah Rundles, Sr. This was not the name Rundles was given at birth, but it was the name he was given when he started attending school. James Rundles may have been an orphan; when he sailed to the United States, on the passenger list he gave his father's name as George Washington Rundles [source: FamilySearch, Passenger List]. James I. Rundles, Sr. was an outstanding student, and Jacob Kenoly selected him to become the first Liberian student to go to the United States to study. Funding was solicited, and James I. Rundles, Sr. arrived at the Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, MS on November 2, 1909 [sources: C. C. Smith, "A Sketch of the life of Jacob Kenoly," The Missionary Review of the World, v.25 (new series), v.35 (old series), January-December 1912, pp.752-760 [online at Google Books]; and The Life and Work of Jacob Kenoly by C. C. Smith]. 


The plan was for James I. Rundles, Sr. to get his education and return to Liberia as a missionary to his people. But, Rundles remained in the U.S. He married Bertha B. King from Hermanville, MS [source: Church Street: the Sugar Hill of Jackson Mississippi by G. Sweet and B. Bradley]. The couple moved to Kentucky where in 1917, James I. Rundles, Sr. was doing missionary work in Crofton, KY, for the Christian Woman's Board of Missions [source: James I. Rundles' WWI Draft Registration Card]. It was also noted on his registration card that Rundles had served for 4 years as a sergeant in a militia. He was claiming "exempt" from military service in the U.S. because of his missionary work. The couple would return to Mississippi and in Jackson, James I. Rundles was a minister, principal of a school, a business owner, and a community leader [source: James "Jim" Rundles, Jr., "Up and down Farrish Street," @, 10/24/2014 [online]. James I. Rundles, Sr. was given the birth date of September 14, 1888. He was born in Schiffelin, Liberia, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card, and he died around 1930 after returning to Liberia, according to authors Sweet and Bradley. 


For more information see "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber, pp.186-187; Negro Education: a study of the private and higher schools for colored people in the United States, v.1, by the U.S. Office of Education, T. J. Jones; and Christian Church Women by D. B. Hull. An early photo image of James I. Rundles, Sr. is in the January 17, 1918 issue of The Christian Century: a journal of religion, v.XXV, no.3 [available at Google Books]. The image caption is "Four of Jacob Kenoly's Boys from Liberia at Southern Christian Institute. Left to Right: Peter Dunson, James Rundles, Robert Gooden, and Jerome Freeman."

Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Immigration, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, African / Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky / Arkansas / Mississippi

Dock, Pong [Chinese in Covington, KY]
Birth Year : 1899
Pong Dock was a Chinese-American in Covington, KY. He was said to have been born in the United States where he lived for the first three years of his life before his family moved back to China. As a teen, Pong Dock was sent back to the U.S. and was the charge of Sing Lee, according to an article in The Hartford Herald, "State officials ponder very vexing problem: shall Chinese boy go to the white or colored schools of state?," 11/12/1913, p.1. Pong Dock was 14 years old when he registered for school in Covington, KY. The registration threw the city education system into a quandary; in Covington, there were schools for whites and schools for coloreds. The school system did not consider Pong Dock as colored or white. The matter was sent to the Kentucky Attorney General Marvel M. Logan [info at]. Logan sent the question back to the Superintendent of Covington Public Schools for a final decision. Pong Dock's caretaker did not want him to attend the schools for colored children. Kentucky school laws only pertained to the segregation of white students and colored students, but not Chinese students; though there were Chinese persons identified in the U.S. Census as "colored" and as "white." Concerning Pong Dock, the final decision about his education was that he would attend the First District School for whites on Scott Street in Covington. It is not known how long he attended the school. There were other Chinese-American children in Covington who attended classes at a Chinese Language program that was held at St. Xavier Catholic School in Cincinnati, OH. According to The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, Covington once had the largest population of Chinese in Kentucky, though no year or time period is given for when this was the case. The article goes on to say that the first mention of a Chinese person in Covington appeared in the Ticket newspaper in 1877, announcing the marriage of John Naw Lin to Mary Ann Morgan who was colored [of African descent]. Kentucky has never had a large Chinese population. Looking at the census records, it was found that the largest population of Chinese persons in Covington, KY, was 17 in the year 1900 and all were born in China. In 1910, there were 13, with 3 born in the U.S. The spelling of "Pong Dock" was not listed among the names in the U.S. Census records for Covington, KY in 1900, 1910, or 1920. For Kentucky overall, in the year 1900 there were about 52 residents who were born in China. A word of caution when looking in the census records for individuals who are Chinese, the letter "C" [for colored] was used to designate race for African Americans as well as other non-whites, especially Chinese persons. Sometimes there are made up notations such as "Yellow," or an individual who was born in China, and has parents who were born in China, is listed in the census as "white" or "black". The official instructions for both the 1900 and the 1910 census enumerators was to note persons who were Chinese with "Ch." For more about Pong Dock see "What shall be done with Pong Dock?" in the Los Angeles Herald, 11/25/1913, p.3; the Kenton County Public Library Chinese Americans website; and see "Asian Americans" on pp.40-41 in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. See also the Instuctions to Enumerators (1910) [.pdf] and Instructions to Enumerators (1900) [.pdf], both published by the Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census.


  See image of Pong Dock in the article "Shall Chinese boy go to white or colored schools, Kentucky problem," The Day newspaper, 10/09/1913, p.8. Image online at Google News Archive. [The Day, published in New London, Connecticut]
Subjects: Education and Educators, Immigration, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / China

Foley, Shirley, Jr.
Birth Year : 1916
Born in Louisville, KY, Mr. Shirley Foley, Jr. was a 1938 graduate of Fisk University and a 1940 graduate of Indiana University. Foley was married to the late Mary Frances Eaves, who was also from Louisville. He lived in Silver Spring, MD. Foley worked for the federal government for 38 years, including a tour of duty in the Pentagon's Department of Defense, and later was with the U.S. Department of Labor. He also did a two year temporary assignment in the U.S. Virgin Islands, assisting in the establishment of the Federal Office for Alien Employment Certification. Foley retired from the U.S. Department of Labor as a Manpower Development Specialist and traveled all over the world. He is the great-grandson of Pvt. Calvin Byrd (a.k.a. Calvin Brown), a slave born in Louisville, who ran away and enlisted in the 108th Infantry in 1864. Foley is also the nephew of Esther Maxwell Barrens. This information came from Mr. Shirley Foley, Jr. For an overview of Alien Employment Certification, see A. Weber, "The Role of the U.S. Department of Labor in Immigration," International Migration Review, vol. 4, issue 3 (Summer 1970), pp. 31-46.
Subjects: Employment Services, Immigration, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Silver Spring, Maryland

Foreign Labor
At the close of the Civil War, Kentucky and other southern states were faced with a labor shortage. The slaves were free and labor stabilization was an ongoing issue. Plantation owners across the south led the movement to bring in foreign labor, claiming it was necessary because paying wages for Negro labor had made the Negro prone to laziness and unreliability. Foreign laborers were sought from the north, Europe, and China. Approximately 3,500 persons, including a small contingency of Chinese immigrants, came to Kentucky, most settling in Louisville. It was not nearly enough to address the labor shortage, however. For more information see A History of Kentucky, by T. D. Clark; and R. T. Birthoff, "Southern Attitudes Toward Immigration, 1865-1914," The Journal of Southern History, vol. 17 (Aug. 1951), pp. 328-360.
Subjects: Immigration
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Foreign-born Negroes and Kentucky
Start Year : 1900
End Year : 1910
There had always been "foreign-born Negroes" in Kentucky, starting with the thousands of slaves who were born in African countries [see the NKAA entry Born in Africa, Born in Kentucky]. But, the U.S. Census term "foreign-born Negroes" did not include the slaves from Africa. The term was to include free persons born outside the U.S. who looked like they could be Negroes. There was nothing scientific about the classification. In 1910, the U.S. Census Bureau took a closer look at the foreign-born Negro population, though not because of the arbitrary classification, but rather, due to the size of the increase in the population numbers. The state of Kentucky was not a major player in the analysis. According to the book title Negro Population in the United States 1790-1915, pp.62-63, there were few foreign-born Negroes in Kentucky in 1910. Kentucky was one of three states where the numbers had actually decreased; for Kentucky, in 1900 there had been 72, and in 1910 there were 66 (p.61). Kentucky had the smallest negative growth in the number of foreign-born Negroes, followed by South Carolina, and Arizona. The South was not where most of the foreign-born Negroes lived. "In the South, as a whole, the number is so extremely small both absolutely and relatively as to be of no statistical importance." ~ [source: F. J. Brown, "Migration of colored population," Publications of the American Statistical Association, v.6, no.41, March 1898, pp.46-48]. At the turn of the century, the number of foreign-born Negroes went from being unimportant statistically to a population that needed to be looked at more closely. The book title, Negro Population in the United States 1790-1915, published by the Bureau of the Census in 1968, gives the 1910 U.S. foreign-born Negro population total as 40,339 which was almost twice as many as the 20,336 counted in 1900. In prior census records, the nativity of free Negroes in the United States had not been a concern. The numbers had steadily increased over time as the population as a whole increased. Still, in 1910 the foreign-born Negro population in the U.S. represented only 0.4 percent of the total Negro population (p.61). What changed was the greatest increase in numbers between 1900 and 1910 (see table below). The data were based on self-identification, visual observation, and one's understanding of who should be counted as a foreign-born Negro. In 1910 that group included persons from Canada and Newfoundland, Mexico, Central American, Cuba and other West Indies [minus Porto Rico], South American countries, European countries, China, Japan, other Asian countries, African countries (473), Australia, Atlantic Islands, Pacific Islands, and a few other places (p.63). The largest number of foreign-born Negroes were said to be from the non-U.S. areas of the Americas, with more than half from Cuba and the West Indies (24,426), followed by Canada and Newfoundland (6,775), and European countries (3,861). With the recognition of the increase in the number of foreign-born Negroes in 1910, there were scientific studies, articles, predictions, and conclusions about the population characteristics. One of the recognized authorities on the foreign-born Negro was Ira De Augustine Reid at Atlanta University, who wrote about the socialization process of the foreign-born Negro in the article "Negro Immigration to the United States," Social Forces, v.16, no.3, March 1938, pp.411-417. In New York City, the Negro Foreign Born Citizens' Alliance was formed to teach the new immigrants American ways [source: "Teach foreign born American ideals," Negro Star, 07/02/1920, p.2]. Meanwhile, in Kentucky there continued to be 100 or less foreign-born Negroes, with most living in Louisville [source: Negroes in the United States, 1920-1932, by C. E. Hall, Specialist in Negro Statistics, Bureau of the Census]. And though they were few in number in Kentucky, the term "foreign negroes" sometimes included those who were born in another state and were brought into Kentucky for labor purposes. "There are over one hundred and fifty negroes in Knott [County], descendants of slaves of the white population, and a few negro families in Owsley and Leslie, who are well regarded as old respectable citizens, and favorably contrasted with the "foreign" negroes brought into the mining camps in adjacent counties." ~ [quote source: The Quarterly Bulletin of the Frontier Nursing Service, Inc., v.17, no.4, Spring 1942, p.33 (online at Explore UK)]. The term 'foreign Negro" was also used during the period of higher education desegregation in Kentucky to differentiate them from American born Negroes. "In January [1960] the Board accepted Johnson’s proposal to “adopt some form of mild integration” by a vote of 16 to 7. The plan was to accept “foreign Negroes” without restriction, and to accept American Blacks if they were preparing for Christian service and married. These provisions were designed to meet objections to inter-racial dating and to having black students living in the dormitories." ~ [quote source: Asbury University: History website]. For more see "The Foreign born and Negro population of the United States," The Scientific Monthly, v.11, no.3, September 1920, pp.284-287; S. A. Stouffer, "Problems in the application of correlation to sociology," Journal of the American Statistical Association, v.29, no.185, Supplement: Proceedings of the American Statistical Journal (Mar., 1934), pp. 52-58; B. Malzberg, "Mental disease among native and foreign-born Negroes in New York State," The Journal of Negro Education, v.25, no.2, Spring 1956, pp.175-181; "The Negro Immigrant in New York." Editor: Roi Ottley. Reporter: Harry Robinson. Date: June 26, 1939. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library Digital Collections.; Making Americans: immigration, race, and the origins of the diverse democracy by D. King; The Negro Immigrant: his background, characteristics, and social adjustment, 1899-1937 by I. D. Reid; and V. S. Johnson, "When Blackness stings: African and Afro-Cuban immigrants, race, and racism in late Twentieth-Century America," Journal of American Ethnic History, v.. 36, no. 1, Fall 2016, pp. 31-62.


Data from Table 1 on p.61 in Negro Population in the United States 1790-1915.


1850 4,067
1860 4,363
1870 9,645
1880 14,017
1890 19,979
1900 20,336
1910 40,339

Subjects: Immigration, Race Categories
Geographic Region: United States / Kentucky

Jackson, James W.: Migration to Colorado
James W. Jackson was only one of the hundreds of African Americans who left Kentucky for the West. According to the Census Reports, there were 687 African Americans who had left Kentucky and moved to Colorado by 1900. African Americans were being enticed to Colorado, according to author Jesse T. Moore, Jr., in order to keep out the Chinese, who were seen as an economic threat to American labor. African Americans, on the other hand, were viewed as being acclimated to American ways and no real threat. In 1858, James Jackson, born a slave, left the area near Maxville, KY, and settled in Denver, where he became a successful businessman. Jackson was politically active on many levels and became the first African American to serve on the Colorado Republican State Committee. Jackson was also invited to speak with President Theodore Roosevelt concerning the condition of African Americans in the U.S. For more see J. T. Moore, Jr., "Seeking a New Life: Blacks in Post-Civil War Colorado," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 78, no. 3 (Summer, 1993), pp. 166-187.
Subjects: Businesses, Immigration, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Maxville, Washington County, Kentucky / Denver, Colorado

White, Peter
Birth Year : 1840
Death Year : 1917
The following information about Peter White comes from several sources, including the newspaper article: "Peter White says that he is aged 103: Native Mexican was brought to United States by Gen. Leslie Combs and was once a famous jockey. Was sold as a slave for $450," Leader, 04/19/1916, p.8, column 1. A copy of the article was provided by Yvonne Giles. The introduction to Peter White's life-story came from researcher Charlene Fletcher-Brown. Information from other sources includes the U.S. Federal Census; the 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules; The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; and other sources as noted.


Peter White was born near Vera Cruz, Mexico. The name he was given at birth is not known, and his actual birth year was between 1830 and 1840, making him about 77 years old when he died in 1917. Peter White was brought to the United States by Leslie Combs at the close of the Mexican-American War [Encyclopaedia Britannica]. Leslie Combs, 1793-1881, was a lawyer and he served as President of the Lexington Danville Railroad in 1855. He was a racehorse man and served as President of the Kentucky Association Track in Lexington. He was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, 1827-1829, re-elected in 1833, served again 1845-1847, and again 1857-1859. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Civil War and a member of the Kentucky Militia. When Combs received word from Stephen Austin calling for help in fighting against Mexico in 1836, Combs was made a colonel and he formed a regiment of Kentucky volunteers. U.S. President Andrew Jackson disbanded the regiment and the group never saw any action. When the Mexican-American War began, Leslie Combs was made a general and formed another militia. While in Mexico, a Mexican boy became the possession of Leslie Combs. The boy was given the name Peter White and he was to be Combs' body servant. But once they were in Kentucky, Peter White learned he was Leslie Combs' slave. It is not known how many Mexicans came to Kentucky as the slaves of the returning militia men who fought in the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848.


Peter White is not listed in the U.S. Census prior to 1870; slaves were listed in the Slave Schedules. Peter White was not Leslie Combs' first slave or his only slave. According to the 1850 Slave Schedule, Leslie Combs owned 8 slaves between 70 years old and 3 months old. There were 4 males and 4 females, and 3 of the males were children less than seven years old. In the 1860 Slave Schedule, Leslie Combs owned two slaves, a 55 year old female, and a 25 year old male. All of Combs' slaves are listed with a "b" [for Black] in the Slave Schedules [slaves were listed by race, gender, and age in the Slave Schedules, not by name]. According to the Leader newspaper, during the 1850s, Peter White was a jockey who rode Leslie Combs' horses. Sometime after the 1850s, Peter White was sold as a slave for $450 to John L. Barkley. In the newspaper article, Peter White said that during his riding days, he had ridden on the race course located on Georgetown Pike [now Georgetown Street] in Lexington, KY. Peter White said he rode the thoroughbreds named "Boston" and "Lexington," and both were trained by Jim Shy. Peter White also said that he was riding the horse "Lady Wagoner," when the horse stumbled and threw White to the ground, leaving him with a fractured skull and a crushed right hip. The injuries ended Peter White's career as a jockey and he had to wear a steel belt around his hip for the rest of his life. Peter White was NOT a Negrito [NKAA entry].


Classified as a slave, Peter White received his freedom along with other slaves after the American Civil War. Prior to his freedom, he had married a Negro slave woman who was owned by the Payne Family, and his second wife was also a Negro. In 1867, Peter White was listed as "cld" [for Colored] in the city directory, and his address is given as "w s n Upper b Mechanic and Third [source: p.142 in Maydwell's Lexington City Directory for 1867]. By the mid-1870s, Peter White lived at 115 W. Short Street and his home was opposite the Baptist Church [sources: p.240 in Prather's Lexington City Directory for 1875 and 1876; and p.200 in Wiliams' Lexington City Directory for 1881-82]. Within the city directories, Peter White's name would continue to be noted with an * or the word col'd [for Colored]. Peter White's last address was 313 Wilson Street [source: p.627 in Lexington City Directory 1904-1905, Volume II], and his name was last listed on p.596 in R. L. Polk & Co.'s Lexington City Directory 1916-1917.


Peter White earned his living as a coachman and he cared for horses, as noted in the census records and as written in the Leader newspaper article. It was also stated in the newspaper article that Peter White had 15 children, but this was perhaps a misprint. Only 6 children are listed in the census records. In the 1870 Census, Peter White is listed as a Mulatto born in Mexico, his wife Manny [Jamima] White is listed as Black, and their three children James, Kate and Peter Jr. are listed as Mulattoes. In the 1880 Census, Jemima White is again listed as Peter's wife and there are three additional children all listed as Mulattos: George, Mary, and Lilla. In the 1900 U.S. Census, Peter White is married to Eliza White and there are no children in the home. Given that Peter White and Jamima White were of different races, it was an interracial marriage, but the anti-miscegenation laws of Kentucky did not apply because neither was considered white and both were slaves. Peter's marriage to Eliza White was also outside the anti-miscegenation laws because neither was considered white, and Mulatto was considered another form of Black.


[On a January morning in 1891, Peter White's daughter, Lilla White, laced the breakfast coffee with arsenic and killed her step-uncle Dan Frazier and his wife, but Lilla's father Peter White and her step-mother Eliza recovered. Source: "Poisoned" in the Leader, 01/19/1891, p.1, col. 3-4.]


The Leader article on Peter White ends with a propaganda statement that was supposedly the words and thoughts of Peter White: "He laments the present trouble of the United States with Mexico and expresses the belief that it would have been best for his native country if it had been annexed to the United States at the close of the Mexican war of 1846-48."  Peter White was never able to reconnect with his family in Mexico or gather information about his identity in Mexico. He died February 25, 1917, and is buried in African Cemetery #2 in Lexington, KY. On his Kentucky Death Certificate, File #3931, Registered #190, Peter White's race is given as "Col" [for Colored].


*See also the NKAA entry Born in Mexico, Lived in Kentucky, 1850-1920.
Subjects: Freedom, Immigration, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Military & Veterans, Interracial Marriage and State Laws, Mexico & Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Vera Cruz, Mexico / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Woodford County, Kentucky


Return to the search page.