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1826 Slave Revolt on Ohio River
Start Year : 1826
End Year : 1826
On September 17, 1826, Bourbon County, KY, slave traders Edward Stone and his nephew Howard Stone were among the five white men killed by the 75 or so slaves who were being taken down river aboard a flatboat. Edward Stone had kept his slaves in Bourbon County, chained and shackled beneath his house. In September of 1826, a group of the slaves were marched to Mason County, KY, where they were taken aboard the flatboat headed to the Mississippi slave market. David Cobb of Lexington, KY, and James Gray were hired to convey the crew down the Ohio River. The boat stopped in Louisville, KY, where a white man named Davis boarded the boat. Davis was from Natchez, MS, or Paris, KY, depending on which account you read. The boat had gone about another 100 miles when the slaves revolted and killed the five white men and threw their bodies overboard. The 75 slaves, males and females of various ages, attempted to escape into Indiana, which had become a state in 1816 with a constitution that prohibited slavery [read more at], though there were both free Blacks and slaves in the state. There were also active Underground Railroad stations in Indiana [read more at], two of which were along the Ohio River bordering Kentucky and near Breckinridge County, KY. In 1824, Indiana passed one of the earliest forms of a fugitive slave law [read more at]. The slaves who had escaped from the flatboat were fugitives, property that could be reclaimed. Fifty-six of the slaves were captured and returned to Kentucky to be lodged in the Hardinsburg [Breckinridge County] jail. A Baltimore newspaper reported that some of the slaves were brought to Maryland and sold. Three of the slaves supposedly admitted taking part in the revolt. Nothing is known or has ever been written about the 19 slaves who escaped, nor has it been acknowledged that there were slaves on the flatboat who made their way to freedom. "...[T]he balance separated, and as yet have not been heard of."- - [source: "To the editor: Hardinsburg, Sept. 19, 1826," Richmond Enquirer, 10/17/1826, p. 4]. A possibility that has not been discussed in the literature suggests there may have been a prepared plan for the slaves to escape into Indiana and make their way further north via the Underground Railroad. Reading, writing, and knowledge of maps would not have been necessary in order for the slaves to have known about Underground Railroad stations on the Indiana border; messages and codes were passed between slaves in the form of songs and quilts and other non-written methods. The focus of the newspapers during the time of the revolt and later written histories centers on the killing of the five white men, the capture of the 56 slaves, and the subsequent trial and executions. Five of the captured slaves were hanged: their names, the only names given to any of the slaves in the newspapers, were Jo, Duke, Resin, Stephen, and Wesley [source: If We Must Die, by E. R. Taylor, p. 162]. One other slave named Roseberry's Jim is mentioned in the Village Register newspaper article, "The Negro Trial" dated 11/14/1826. According to the article, five of the slaves were hanged; forty-seven were sold; the remainder was brought back to Bourbon County. One of the slaves was a mulatto boy named Louis (or Lewis) who was not for sale; he was Edward Stone's body servant and had tried to save Stone's life, but he too was beaten during the revolt [source: "To the editor: Hardinsburg, Sept. 19, 1826," Richmond Enquirer, 10/17/1826, p. 4]. Four months after the revolt, Louis (or Lewis) was given his freedom by Stone's widow in January of 1827. According to author J. W. Coleman, he remained in Kentucky on the land and in the house he was given near the Edward Stone house in Bourbon County [source: Slavery Times in Kentucky, by J. Winston Coleman, pp. 174-176].


Edward Stone was one of the first slave traders to openly advertise his intentions of selling slaves to the Deep South markets. Much of what has been written about the day of his death contains varying and sometimes conflicting details, as well as name variations for the men who were killed and various accounts as to how the day unfolded. For additional information see "Horrible Massacre" in the column headed "Louisville, Ken. Sept. 23" in the Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 10/07/1826, p. 2; "The Louisville, Kentucky, paper...," Norwich Courier, 10/11/1826, p. 2; Speculators and Slaves by M. Tadman; I've Got a Home in Glory Land, by K. S. Frost, Chapter 3 - On Jordan's Bank; Black Heritage Sites, pp. 110-111, by N. C. Curtis; and Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad, by J. Blain Hudson. See also website Edward Stone by N. A. Bristow; blog entry Edward Stone's Demise, by T. Talbott; and Edward Stone in the History of Slavery: Glossary, a Kentucky Educational Television Underground Railroad website.


  See photo image of Edward Stone's house, The Grange, photo image in Explore UK.
Subjects: Executions, Freedom, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky / Mason County, Kentucky / Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky / Indiana / Mississippi / Maryland

African American Slave Owners in Kentucky
Start Year : 1830
In 1924 the Research Department of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History completed a study of the free Negro slave owners found in the 1830 U. S. Federal Census. The study found that there were 3,777 Negro slave owners in the United States. Negro slave owners were listed in 29 Kentucky counties (see below). Ownership may have meant the purchase of a spouse, an individual's children, or other relatives who were not emancipated. Ownership was also an investment: purchased children and adults may or may not have been given the opportunity to work off their purchase price in exchange for their freedom. A History of World Societies documents a total of 6,000 Negro slave owners in the U.S. for the year 1840 [p. 846]. The 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules do not identify slave owners by race; the individual names of slave owners must be searched in the U.S. Federal Census to identify the individual's race. For more see the Research Department's article, "Free Negro owners of slaves in the United States in 1830," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 9, no. 1 (Jan., 1924), pp. 41-85; A History of World Societies, by J. P. McKay, et al. [2006]; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky, by M. B. Lucas.

Kentucky Counties with Negro Slave Owners in 1830
[book source: Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830 compiled and edited by C. G. Woodson, pp.4-6]

  1. Adair County (1) - Swaney Burbridge
  2. Barren County (1) - Leander Force
  3. Bourbon County (9) - Peter Allen, Sally Wallace, Isaac Jones, James Monday, Peter Grant, Gabriel, Allen Heathman, Edmon Hurley, Stephen Brooks
  4. Bracken County (1) - Lethia Thomas
  5. Bullitt County, [Mt. Washington] (2) - Isaac Ellison, Bash Oldridge
  6. Christian County, [Hopkinsville] (1) - Michael Cocke
  7. Clark County (2) - John Dudley, George Birth
  8. Fayette County (13), [Lexington] (15) - Nancy Scott, Peter Whiting, Robert Gray, Charlotte Lewis, Richard Bird, William Tucker, Jesse Smith, Nathan Keifer, Benjamin Tibbs, Jane Brittain, Hannah Travis, Wittshire Brackenridge, Harvey Phillips, Frank Lee, Nicholas Black -- Peter Davis, Adam B. Martin, Isaac Howard, William Burk, Benjamin Caulden, Peter Francess, Ben Williams, Anaka Shores, Jer'y Allen, Alexander Allen, Samuel Dunlap, Rhody Clark, Robert Smith
  9. Fleming County (1) - Jacob Truett
  10. Franklin County, [Frankfort] (6) - Harry Mordecai, David Jones, John Ward, Burrel Chiles, John S. Goin, Samuel Brown
  11. Graves County (1) - Alias Keeling
  12. Green County (1) - Thomas Malone
  13. Harrison County (1) - Benjamin Berton
  14. Henderson County (1) - Liverpool Pointer
  15. Jefferson County (1), [Louisville] (5) - J. T. Gray -- Betty Cozzens, David Straws, Frank Merriwether, Daniel Brigadier, Sally
  16. Jessamine County (3) - Judith Higenbothan, Anthony of colour, William a man of color
  17. Knox County (1) - Isaiah Goins
  18. Logan County, [Russellville] (5) - Nicholas Valentine, Robert Buckner, Edward Jones, Isham Husketh, William Barber
  19. Madison County (1) - George White
  20. Mason County (9), [Washington] (3) - Thomas F. Bowles, John Glasford, Edward Cooper, H. Markham, Roseann Wann, Charles More, Ann Baylor, Edmond Toliver, Acam Diggs -- Peggy Miles, John Lightfoot, Isaac Johnson
  21. Mercer County (9) - Anderson Harris, Ben Harris, Spencer Easton, Fielding Melvin, Jemima Fry, Hercules Jenkins, George Warman, Adam Beaty, Sanko Robinson
  22. Montgomery County (1) - Richard Lee
  23. Nelson County, [Bardstown] (4) - Thomas Smiley, Joe Cocke, Thomas Rudd, George Aud
  24. Nicholas County (1) - George Mallery
  25. Rockcastle County (1) - David Cable
  26. Shelby County (1), [Shelbyville] (3) - John Edwards -- Peter Short, Hannah Harris, Jim Henson
  27. Warren County (2) - Jane Palmore, Bazzle Russell
  28. Washington County, [Springfield] (2) - Robert C. Palmer, Ignatius Sandy
  29. Woodford County (13) - Joe Miller, Lawrence Corbin, Betty Tutt, Billy Campbell, Henry Mason, Tom Stratford, Ambrose Hardy, Richard Harvey, Samuel Cloak, Nathan Twiner, Joel Hawkins, Moses Weaver, Jordan Ritchie

Subjects: Free African American Slave Owners, 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

The African Repository and Colonial Journal (periodical)
Start Year : 1825
End Year : 1892
Published by the American Colonization Society, the journal was first known as The African Repository and Colonial Journal. In 1850 the title changed to The African Repository and in 1892 to Liberia. The journals contain reports, records, and activities of the American Colonization Society. Included in the issues are the names of slave owners, estates, and the freed slaves who were to be colonized in Liberia, Africa. An example of the listing can be found under the heading "African Colonization in Kentucky at the Google Book Search site.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Inheritance, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis (London, England)
Start Year : 1851
The "American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis" was an ad hoc association formed August 1, 1851, by American fugitives who were in exile in London, England. The organization was established to assist fugitive slaves in finding jobs, education, and settling in England. The organization was founded in response to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 in the United States, which had prompted a greater influx of fugitives in England. There was also the influence of British abolitionists and the American abolitionist who were touring England, Scotland, and Wales; the men were lecturing against slavery in the United States. One of the touring abolitionists was William Wells Brown. Author R. J. M. Blackett mentions in his book, Building an Antislavery Wall, p.5, that not all American fugitives in England were destitute or survived by begging in the streets [as the Avery sisters had attempted]. Blackett noted that fugitive William Watson had enrolled in school. The "American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis" was a short-lived organization. For more information see R. J. M. Blackett, "Fugitive slaves in Britain: the odyssey of William and Ellen Craft," Journal of American Studies, April 1978, v.12, no.1, pp.41-62; and Slave Life in Virginia and Kentucky by F. Frederick.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Fraternal Organizations, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / London, England, Europe

Archives of Ontario (Canada)
The archives is a program of the Ontario Ministry of Government Services. The archives are made up of a number of collections, including government records, genealogical records, an art collection, and sound and moving images. The exhibit, Black Canadian Experience in Ontario 1834-1914: Flight, Freedom, Foundation, included the stories of former Kentuckians, such as Solomon Moseby and the Emancipation of Susan Holton. Holton and her children were taken to Ohio by Mary Kirk and given their freedom in 1848. The family moved on to Canada. For more information contact the Archives of Ontario.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, National Resources, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Ontario, Canada

Autobiography of a Female Slave, by Mattie Griffith
Start Year : 1856
The Autobiography of a Female Slave was written by Owensboro, KY, native Mattie Griffith. The book was initially thought to be a Kentucky slave narrative, and even today it is still occasionally mistaken as such. Martha "Mattie" Griffith was a white abolitionist who wrote the book in hopes of raising money to emancipate her slaves and resettle them in a free state. A few weeks after the book was published, Griffith admitted writing the story based on real life incidents that she had witnessed. The Louisville Courier denounced the book as abolitionist propaganda. The book did not sell well, but Griffith received money from the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1858 that she used to free and resettle her slaves. Griffith and her sister, Catherine, had inherited their slaves from their deceased parents, Catherine and Thomas Griffith, who died in 1830. The girls were raised by family members in Louisville, KY, and around 1854 they were both living in Philadelphia, PA, where Mattie wrote her book. Beginning in 1859, she wrote a serialized anti-slavery novel with a mulatto heroine from Kentucky: "Madge Vertner," published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard newspaper, July 1859-May 1860. In 1866, Mattie Griffith married Albert Gallatin Browne from Massachusetts. She died in Boston in 1906. This entry was suggested by James Birchfield, Curator of Rare Books at the University of Kentucky Libraries. For more information see the Mattie Griffith Browne entry in the American National Biography Online database; Slippery Characters, by L. Browder; and J. M. Lucas, "Exposed Roots: from pseudo-slave narratives to The Wind Done Gone, the authenticity of representations of black history has always been in question," 02/27/2002, at (Independent Weekly).
Subjects: Authors, Freedom, Migration North, Inheritance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Boston, Massachusetts

Avery, Rose and Minnie [Becca Richards]
During the last two months of 1857, there were several articles in the newspapers in London, England, about two fugitive slaves from Kentucky said to be named Rose and Minnie Avery. The young women were between 18 and 20 years old. In November, the women were seen begging on Black-man Street, both were said to be dressed in the white attire that U.S. slaves wore. The women were taken to the police station by Constable Hinchliffe, 85M, who said he had witnessed one of the women carrying a box used to collect money, and the other woman carried a placard that read "Fugitive Slaves." At the Southwark Police Court, the women said that they were fugitive slaves from a plantation in Kentucky and had escaped to Philadelphia, PA, after their father died and their mother was sold. They said that a benevolent person and free colored persons had taken care of them and later paid their passage on the ship "Jane" that took them to Greenock, England. They supposedly had arrived the previous spring and had not been able to find employment in domestic services in Greenock, so they had walked to London and were living on Bishopsgate-street with a Mrs. Flynn and her husband Mr. Flynn who was a laborer. The women said that they still had not found employment and had resorted to begging on the street. When ask if they had any skills, they said that they could knit. The women had one shilling and the magistrate gave them 4s from the poor box. The news of the slave fugitives from Kentucky was soon printed in the newspapers. The women were described in the North Wales Chronicle newspaper as very attractive, well educated, quadroons who were half-castes ["Story of two Kentucky fugitive female slaves," 11/21/1857, issue 1607]. The police station received numerous letters with small sums of money and offers to take-in the young women. The women had already received a portion of the money, and they were to buy wool for the making of gloves and caps, which they were to sell rather than begging on the streets. Each week, they received money from the donations received at the Southwark Police Station. In December, on their return to court, the women said that they had rented a room from a Mrs. Smith in Crown-court, Wentworth-street, for 2s per week. This was verified by the constable. The women presented the gloves and caps that they said they had made, and they showed how much money they had in their possession. They said that they had been given 5s and 10s from strangers who had heard about their plight, but most of their money had been used for food and a few clothes. The magistrate ordered that they be given a few more shillings from the contributions sent to the court on their behalf. The women also presented a letter that was supposedly from a man in Brighton who wanted to take them in as a nurse and to work in his shop, but the letter was not signed. The magistrate ask that the women report back to court in a week, and sooner if the man who wrote the letter came back to see them. In the mean time, the women's story would continue to be investigated by the Mendicity Society and the Southwark Police Court. As the women were leaving court, a New York merchant gave the constable £2 with which to purchase clothing and boots for the women. The women received the items. When they returned to court, there were three reports, one from the Mendicity Society, one from police investigator Officer Hewett, and one from the M division of the police department. According to the reports and the witnesses who were also in the courtroom, the women were impostors. The older of the two women lived with a black man on Crown-court, Wentworth-street. She may have been from America, but only recently arrived in England. The younger woman lived with an Irish woman who may have been her mother. Her father was an older black man who lived at St. Luke's Workhouse, Chelsea, and the younger woman had visited him and given him money. She had also written a letter to him and signed her name as Becca Richards. Also, the ship "Jane" that had supposedly brought the two women to England, had not been in Greenock for 18 months. The younger woman and the older black man denied knowing each other, though witnesses in the courtroom identified her as the person who had visited him several times and said that she had written the letter. The magistrate concluded that the younger woman was a fake, and therefore, both women were fakes. The women were directed to leave the court and were warned that if they were picked up again for begging, then they would be severely punished. Benevolent persons who had sent money to the courts and the police station, for the women's care, would be contacted and asked if they wished their money to go to the women through application, or have the money added to the poor box. For more see "Southwark. - Kentucky Fugitive Slaves," The Morning Post, 11/18/1857, p.7; "Southwark," Daily News (London, England), 11/18/1875, issue 3591; "Fugitive slave girls from Kentucky," The Morning Chronicle, 11/26/1857, issue 28371; "Fugitive slave girls in London from Kentucky," Hampshie Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 11/28/1857, p.3; "The Fugitive slaves from Kentucky," The Morning Chronicle, 12/1/1857, issue 28375; "Kentucky fugitive slaves; extraordinary deception," North Wales Chronicle, 12/12/1857, issue 1609; and "The Kentucky fugitive slaves turn out to be impostors," Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 12/12/1857, p.3.
Subjects: Freedom, Hoaxes, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Greenock and London England, Europe

Born in Africa, Born in Kenucky
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1880
Submitted by Reinette F. Jones, 09/26/2016


This entry has been completed in response to the reference question, "Where did the slaves in Kentucky come from?" The short answer is Africa, though this does not get down to the specifics as to which country or region of Africa.  A search at that level will require a review of slave ship records that can be matched with the archival records of slave owners, and a paper trail that follows the lives of individual slaves who were sold and resold, all added in with a good deal of luck and chance. There is not a holdings or a collection of records in the University of Kentucky Special Collections that will give the origins of all Black persons who were held as slaves in Kentucky. Below is one method of following the trail of slaves in and from Kentucky based on information from the former slaves' perspectives.   


In 1850, there were a few free Black persons in Kentucky who were noted as born in Africa in the U.S. Census. They may have been former slaves in the U.S., but they had not forgotten that they came from Africa. The same can be said of the thousands of others who were enslaved in 1850; they too knew of their origins even though slaves were not listed by name in the census, nor were their birth locations noted. Daniel Clarke (1795-1872) is one such person who was born in Africa, enslaved in Kentucky, and remembered that he was born in Africa near a coast, even though Kentucky is given as his birth location in the 1870 U.S. Census. Passing on the knowledge of one's origins to the next generation would have been an oral form of record keeping that was left in the hands of the first generation of Africans born in the United States. After slavery ended, there was an opportunity for the information to be noted on a much larger scale in the census records. But, in reality, there were only about 2,200 Blacks and Mulattoes who had Africa noted as their birth location in the 1870 U.S. Census. This is a very small number given that there were over 4,800,000 Blacks and Mulattoes counted in the 1870 U.S. Census. The numbers represent the descendants of African-born persons who survived the passage to a new land where they were enslaved and their descendants continued to be enslaved for more than two and a half centuries [source: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database]. So, to have Africa noted as a birth location in the census meant that the information was important to somebody, whether that somebody was the individual being enumerated or the census taker who made the note. It should also be taken into consideration that not everyone in the United States who was Black and born in Africa, came to the United States as slaves. Within each census, there was a small group of Black persons from African countries who arrived in the U.S. as free persons. Though, looking at the census records, it can be a task to decipher who arrived as a free person, and who received their freedom from slavery. The 1870 U.S. Census was the first attempt to gain data on foreign born parents - "a real boon in identifying immigrant ancestors" [source: "1870 Census" an website]. The heading of column 10 on the 1870 U.S. Census sheet was labeled "Place of Birth, Naming State or Territory of U.S.; or the Country, if of foreign birth." The headings of columns 11 and 12 on the U.S. Census sheet read "Parentage: Father of Foreign Birth / Mother of Foreign Birth." According to the 1870 Instructions to Assistant Marshals, "If of Foreign birth, the Country will be named as specifically as possible. ... The inquiries in columns numbered 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 20, are of such a nature that these columns only require to be filled when the answer to the inquiry is "Yes.""  Though the answer would have been "Yes" for many African Americans, the term "foreign born parents" and "immigrant ancestors" did not apply to former slaves born in Africa or the African-born parents of former slaves. Slaves were not considered immigrants, they had come to the United States as property, and that status was upgraded to each being a person with U.S. citizenship in 1868 with the Ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [Library of Congress website]. The 1870 census instruction manual said nothing about African Americans being citizens or not being citizens. What is found most often in terms of "Parentage" of African Americans on the 1870 census sheets is nothing, the columns are blank. As is the case for Daniel Clarke mentioned earlier. In the column for birth location, there is the listing of a state in the U.S. In the search of Kentucky-born Black or Mulatto persons with African-born parents, there were no names found in the 1870 Census, but there were at least seven persons noted as born in Africa and living in Kentucky. The numbers would increase when the 1880 Census was completed (see table below). Those enumerated were old and with estimated birth years as early as the mid to late 1700s. Perhaps it was an end of life decision that made them want Africa noted in the census record which was a government document that would show that their parents were born outside the U.S. Perhaps it was the decision of the individual census taker who noted the birth location. The Instructions to Enumerators for 1880 is not available on the U.S. Census Bureau website, but it was for this particular census that the enumerators were selectively hired and they were better trained than the U.S. marshals who had been hired in the past to collect the census data [source: "Census Instructions" a U.S. Census Bureau website]. Sometimes the census taker wrote the word "Africa" or the abbreviation "Afr". For those born in Kentucky, it is first found within the 1880 census records that there were African Americans whose parents were born in Africa. This is a plus for researchers, because though the parent birth location data was originally requested to help the U.S. government to classify and track immigrants in the United States, the data are also useful to African American families in determining the arrival of their ancestors in the United States. The data may also be used to track persons brought from Africa and enslaved in the U.S., and who were at some point in Kentucky. The notation of Africa as a birth location in the census records is just as valid and, as accurate or inaccurate, as the noted birth location of all others born outside the United States. Another source for locating birth locations are the early Kentucky death certificates. In the table below are some of the names, birth years, and other information about Black persons said to be born in Africa and living in Kentucky and those who were Kentucky natives with parents who were born in Africa. There are also the names of persons who were residing in Kentucky, but were born in other states. Included are only the names of those who were born prior to the Ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [Library of Congress website]. The table covers the 30 year time period from 1850-1880.


   See slave trade maps at the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database website. The maps show the regions of Africa from which black persons were taken between 1500 and 1900, and the routes that took them to other regions of the world where they were enslaved. Once slaves arrived at a destination, they were mixed together with slaves from various other regions of Africa to keep them from communicating in their native languages and to lessen the chances of a conspired escape or uprising, or a sense of unity and strength. The disbursement was based on the psychology of slavery: Shared memories of language, culture, religion, and origins were all roots that would instill hope, pride, stability, and make the slaves less obedient mentally. For more information on the psychology of slavery see Slavery and Social Death by Orlando Patterson; Cultural Trauma by Ron Eyerman; How America's First Settlers Invented Chattel Slavery by David K. O'Rourke; and Roots Matter by Paula Owens Parker.


Cunningham, Sambo 1780 Africa 1850 Lincoln County, KY      
Hopton, Chloe 1760 Africa 1850 Logan County, KY      
Limely, Thomas 1740 Africa 1850 Louisville, KY      
Johnson, Dinah 1780 Africa 1860 Sharpsburg, KY      
Bowman, Matilda 1800 Guinea 1870 Bardstown, KY      
Massay, Jack 1820 Africa 1870 Patter, KY      
Miller, Lucy 1832 Africa 1870 Louisville, KY      
Parker, George 1771 Africa 1870 Flat Rock, KY      
Posey, Lucy 1843 Africa 1870 Louisville, KY      
Rowland, Alexander 1765 Africa 1870 Bowling Green, KY      
Williams, Margaret 1785 Guinea 1870 Elk Springs, KY      
Adams, Wash 1824 KY 1880 Springfield, MO Guinea, Africa    
Allen, Sam 1826 KY 1880 Owingsville, KY Africa Africa  
Andrew, Lavenia 1780 KY 1880 New Orleans, LA Africa Africa  
Armstrong, Claura 1814 KY 1880 Claiborne, LA Africa Africa  
Armstrong, Jarret 1796 KY 1880 St. Mary, LA Africa Africa  
Austin, Amanda 1837 KY 1880 Taylorville, IL Kentucky Africa  
Baptiste, John 1800 KY 1880 St. Bernard, LA Africa Africa  
Bell, Jack H. 1847 KY 1880 Fayette County, TX Kentucky Africa  
Berry, Wash 1821 KY 1880 Lake Charles, LA Virginia Africa  
Blain, Almedia 1822 KY 1880 Fayette County, TX   Africa  
Blankenship, George 1850 KY 1880 Petersburg, KY Virginia Africa  
Blue, Daniel 1811 KY 1880 Sacramento, CA Africa Africa  
Board, Pascal 1823 KY 1880 Plaquemines, LA Africa England  
Boyd, Elvira 1846 KY 1880 Harrison, MS Africa Asia  
Brian, John 1813 Africa 1880 Mayfield, KY      
Brino, John 1861 KY 1880 Mayfield, KY Africa Africa  
Brown, Mariah 1817 KY 1880 Moberly, MO Africa Kentucky  
Brown, Thomas J. 1830 KY 1880 Grand Rapids, MI Indiana Africa  
Burdette, Samuel 1849 KY 1880 Ft. Bayard, NM Africa England  
Burton, Thomas 1849 KY 1880 Williams, IL Kentucky Africa  
Bush, Jack 1823 Africa 1880 Jeffersonville, KY      
Calamege, Hannah 1823 KY 1880 Louisville, KY Africa Georgia  
Caldwell, James 1843 KY 1880 Bainbridge, KY Africa Virginia  
Caldwell, Susan 1795 Africa 1880 Bainbridge, KY Africa Africa  
Campbell, Bryant 1812 KY 1880 Lexington, KY Africa Africa  
Carpenter, Lewis 1818 KY 1880 Grenada County, MS Virginia Africa  
Carr, Charles 1809 KY 1880 New Orleans, LA Kentucky Africa  
Carrington, Pauline 1828 KY 1880 Howards Mills, KY Kentucky Africa  
Carter, Tilda 1812 KY 1880 Henryville, KY Africa Kentucky  
Chevis, Ed 1820 KY 1880 Millersburg, KY Africa Virginia  
Clark, Eliza 1809 KY 1880 Loretto, KY Africa Africa  
Clay, Steward 1797 KY 1880 Smiths Mill, KY Africa Kentucky  
Cole, James 1818 KY 1880 Dallas, TX Virginia Kentucky Brother to Nancy Cole
Cole, McIntire 1855 KY 1880 St. Louis, MO Africa Africa  
Cole, Nancy 1820 KY 1880 Dallas, TX Virginia Africa Sister to James Cole
Collier, Louisa 1808 KY 1880 Bethesda, KY Africa    
Cooper, Ann 1822 KY 1880 Carroll County, KY Virginia Africa  
Cooper, Lucy 1822 KY 1880 Parson, KS Georgia Africa  
Cotton, Sam 1815 KY 1880 Noxubee County, MS Africa Africa  
Craig, James T. 1825 KY 1880 Detroit, MI Virginia Africa  
Crutchfield, Ann 1830 KY 1880 Berlin, KY Africa Africa  
Dudley, Samuel 1812 KY 1880 Tanyard, KY Kentucky Africa  
Edwards, Miles 1797 KY 1880 Eliam, GA Africa Virginia  
Edwards, Peter 1854 KY 1880 St. Louis, MO Africa Africa  
Eelam, Ned 1819 KY 1880 Boon, IN Africa    
English, Charlotte 1813 KY 1880 Tensas County, LA Kentucky Africa  
Evans, Charlotte 1790 KY 1880 Head Quarters, KY Africa Virginia  
Fairchild, Drucilla 1820 KY 1880 Cayuga, MS Africa Africa  
Farmer, Daniel 1813 KY 1880 Soldier, KS Africa Africa  
Fields, Ely 1835 KY 1880 Trenton, WI Africa Kentucky  
Flood, Sylvia 1805 KY 1880 Louisville, KY Africa Africa  
Fortune, Frank 1840 KY 1880 Vienna, IL Africa Virginia  
Fox, Daunell 1810 Africa 1880 Columbia, KY      
Freeman, David 1839 KY 1880 Waltham, MA W. I. Island Africa  
Fulton, Robert 1819 KY 1880 Coffee County, GA Africa Africa  
Gaines, T. D. 1836 KY 1880 Clinton, IA Virginia Africa  
Gammage, Mary 1820 KY 1880 Harrison County, TX Kentucky Africa  
Gash, Matilda 1808 KY 1880 Galesburg, IL Kentucky Africa  
Gibson, Alfred 1834 KY 1880 Wichita, KS Africa Africa  
Gilbert, Jack 1820 KY 1880 Brush Creek, KY Africa Kentucky  
Gilmore, Jim 1805 KY 1880 Bois D'Arc, AR Africa    
Goodun, Howard 1851 KY 1880 Silver City, NM   Africa  
Graham, Gorley 1815 KY 1880 Shelby City, KY Africa Africa  
Groves, David 1820 KY 1880 Harris County, KY Kentucky Africa  
Hale, Peter 1821 KY 1880 Mayfield, KY Africa Kentucky  
Haines, America 1820 KY 1880 Carbondale, IL Africa Kentucky  
Harris, Henry 1845 KY 1880 Aztalan, WI Africa Africa  
Henry, Laura 1858 KY 1880 Chicago, IL Africa Kentucky  
Howard, Ellen 1840 KY 1880 Indianapolis, IN Africa Kentucky  
Hutchinson, Jane 1842 KY 1880 Cincinnati, OH Virginia Africa  
Ivey, Nancy 1815 KY 1880 Amite County, MS Africa Africa  
Jackson, Waly 1840 KY 1880 Tuscaloosa County, AL Kentucky Africa  
Jamison, Curtis 1824 KY 1880 LaGrange, AR Africa Kentucky  
Johnson, Harvey 1817 KY 1880 Liberty Grove, MS Africa    
Johnson, Milly 1770 Africa 1880 Woods, KY      
Johnson, Robert 1852 KY 1880 Frankfort, IN Kentucky Africa  
Jones, Ruth 1805 KY 1880 St. Louis, MO Africa Africa  
Kagan, Lucy 1850 KY 1880 Hebbardsville, KY Africa Virginia  
Killabre, Samuel 1833 KY 1880 Newport, IL Africa Virginia  
Klinglesmith, M. C. 1810 KY 1880 Meeting Creek, KY Africa Africa  
Lane, Albert 1821 KY 1880 Beech Ridge, IL Africa Kentucky  
Letcher, John 1850 KY 1880 Livingston County, KY Africa Africa  
Lively, Emily 1848 KY 1880 Waterloo, KY Africa Kentucky  
M, Jack 1850 Africa 1880 Goshen, KY Africa Africa  
McAlpine, B. 1820 KY 1880 Claiborne, KY   Africa  
McCaine, Abner 1850 KY 1880 Bethesda, KY Africa Kentucky  
McCarty, Judy 1847 KY 1880 Bainbridge, KY Africa Virginia  
McClanahan, Jerry 1805 KY 1880 Berlin, KY Africa Africa  
McKenny, Robbin 1808 KY 1880 Eagle, MO Kentucky Africa  
Magraff, John W. 1836 KY 1880 Baton Rouge, LA Kentucky Africa  
Martin, Mira 1802 KY 1880 Hiseville, KY Kentucky Africa  
Martin, Joseph 1823 KY 1880 Lexington, KY Kentucky Africa  
Massey, John 1862 KY 1880 Rich Pond, KY Kentucky Africa  
Miller, Cato 1812 KY 1880 Sinking, KY Africa Virginia  
Modrell, Ned 1810 KY 1880 Pulaski County, KY Virginia Africa  
Moore, Isham 1852 Guinea 1880 Russellville, KY Africa Africa  
Morgan, A. 1804 KY 1880 Cedar Mountain, VA Africa Africa  
Morrow, Mariah 1825 KY 1880 Eddyvlle, KY Africa Kentucky  
Murray, Rachael 1801 KY 1880 Cahaba, AL Africa Africa  
Muse, Martin 1813 KY 1880 Ovid, MI Africa Africa  
Neal, Delia 1853 KY 1880 DeSoto County, LA Africa Africa  
Newton, George 1846 KY 1880 Aztalan, WI Kentucky Africa  
North, Nelson 1824 KY 1880 Hardyville, KY Kentucky Africa  
Parker, Mary 1835 KY 1880 New Orleans, LA Norway Africa  
Parks, Melinda 1800 KY 1880 Foxtown, KY Africa Africa  
Perry, Peter 1822 KY 1880 Jefferson County, AL Maryland Africa  
Potts, Robert 1805 KY 1880 Lee, KY Africa Virginia  
Potts, Charlotte 1830 KY 1880 Carlisle, KY Africa Kentucky  
Proctor, Abe 1810 KY 1880 Macon City, MO Virginia Africa  
Profit, W. Mose 1800 KY 1880 DeSoto County, LA Africa Africa  
Ransom, Stewart 1818 KY 1880 Pryorsburg and Rozells, KY Virginia Africa  
Rapier, Jane 1824 KY 1880 Uniontown, KY Africa Tennessee  
Reid, Boston 1820 KY 1880 Beat, MS Africa Africa  
Reynolds, Barbara A. 1830 KY 1880 Muhlenberg County, KY Virginia Africa  
Rice, Eliza 1856 KY 1880 Greene, OH Kentucky Liberia  
Roberts, Squire 1817 KY 1880 Prairie Point, MS Africa Kentucky  
Robinson, Tempy 1790 KY 1880 Jacksonport, AR Africa Africa  
Rogers, George 1838 KY 1880 Amite City, LA Africa Africa  
Rue, Frank 1799 KY 1880 Ottumwa, IA New Jersey Africa  
Sampson, Isaiah 1840 KY 1880 Lexington, KY Virginia Africa  
Scott, Henry 1857 KY 1880 Elmira, NY Africa Africa  
Scrivener, Dicy 1818 KY 1880 Glasgow Junction, KY Virginia Africa  
Sharp, Tecumseh 1840 KY 1880 Bismarck, Dakota Territory Virginia Africa  
Shiver, Harriet 1850 KY 1880 Brush, KY Kentucky Africa  
Simons, Isaac 1835 KY 1880 Monroe, LA Kentucky Liberia  
Smith, Lana 1800 KY 1880 St. Louis, MO Africa Africa  
Smith, Charles S. 1844 KY 1880 Tunica County, MS Africa Mexico  
Snow, Heneretta 1851 KY 1880 Chicago, IL Africa Kentucky  
Spears, Sibhi 1848 KY 1880 Covington, KY Africa Kentucky  
Stout, Julia 1836 KY 1880 Dallas County, TX Africa Virginia  
Strawder, H. 1818 KY 1880 Grimes County, TX Africa Africa  
Swannigan, Charles 1831 KY 1880 Greenville, MS Africa Kentucky  
Tyler, David 1827 KY 1880 Corning, IA Virginia Africa  
Thurston, Jessie 1822 KY 1880 Roane, AR Kentucky Africa  
Thurston, Nianna 1820 KY 1880 Roane, AR Africa Africa  
Tolls, Mollie 1847 KY 1880 Cincinnati, OH Virginia Africa  
Townsend, Joseph 1795 KY 1880 Keysburg, KY Virginia Africa  
Townsend, Jackson 1824 KY 1880 Ottawa, KS Kentucky Africa  
Turner, Hannah 1832 KY 1880 Cambridge, OH Kentucky Africa  
Tyson, Selina 1817 KY 1880 Lafayette County, MS South Carolina Africa  
Upton, James 1828 KY 1880 Union, IN Africa Maryland  
Vaughn, Amy 1790 KY 1880 Marshall, MO Africa Africa  
Vorters, Mahala 1813 KY 1880 Lafayette County, MS South Carolina Africa  
Waddington, Isaac 1830 KY 1880 Lafayette County, MS   Africa  
Wadlington, Henry 1829 KY 1880 Forrest Hill, MS Africa Kentucky  
Washington, Nancy 1820 KY 1880 Austin, TX   Africa  
Washington, Sarah 1830 KY 1880 Bearhouse, AR Virginia Africa  
Hillgryless, G. Wade 1818 KY 1880 Alfred Center, NY Omaha South Africa  
Weir, John 1817 Africa 1880 Muhlenberg County, KY      
Wilkinson, Betsey 1810 KY 1880 Frankfort, KY New Jersey Africa  
Williams, Belle 1850 KY 1880 Cincinnati, OH Kentucky Africa  
Williams, Esther 1806 KY 1880 Cuiver, MO Africa Virginia  
Williams, Isaac 1831 KY 1880 Morganfield, KY Kentucky Africa  
Williams, James 1814 KY 1880 Vermilion County, LA Virginia Africa  
Williams, Lucy 1845 KY 1880 Cincinnati, OH Africa Africa  
Willingham, Edy 1810 KY 1880 Hebbardsville, KY North Carolina Africa  
Wilson, Moses 1852 KY 1880 Wood County, TX Virginia Africa  
Wood, Louis 1855 KY 1880 Bayou Washa, LA Africa Africa  
Wright, Edward 1812 KY 1800 Macomb, IL Africa Kentucky  
Wyatt, Mary 1835 KY 1880 Kaufman County, TX Virginia Africa  
Bell, Milly 1785 VA 1880 Louisville, KY Africa Africa  
Champion, Gracie 1785 NC 1880 Carrsville, KY Africa Africa  
Douglass, Millie 1791 VA 1880 Hardinsburg, KY Africa Africa  
Harris, Antony 1821 NC 1880 Louisville, KY North Carolina Africa  
King, Solvin Bob 1819 VA 1880 Princeton, KY Virginia Africa  
Leavell, Peter 1800 VA 1880 Brandy Springs, KY Liberia Virginia  
    KY DEATH RECORDS        
Basey, William 1780 Africa 03/26/1870 Jefferson County      
Brooks, Sollie 1813 Africa 12/18/1873 Jefferson County      
Carter, Lina 1798 Africa 08/27/1878 Jefferson County      
Chief Cohonda 1864 Africa 07/10/1929
File #19395
Registrared #2959
Louisville, KY     Immigrated to U.S. in 1892
[source: 1900 U.S. Census]
Courtney, Edmond 1790 Africa 02/03/1874 Jefferson County, KY      
Davis, Mindy 1793 Africa 10/03/1878 Jefferson County, KY      
Eberle, Samuel 1816 Africa 11/05/1879 Jefferson County, KY      
Gascokoolovoma, Prince K. 1862 Africa 10/13/1908
Covington Death Certificate
Covington, KY      
Smith, George 1823 Africa 06/29/1873 Jefferson County, KY      
Tandy, Lowery 1818 Africa 03/08/1880 Jefferson County, KY      

Subjects: Slave Trade (U.S.), Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Africa / Kentucky

Bourbon County, Kentucky, Deeds of Manumission Abstracts by Nancy O'Malley
Start Year : 1801
End Year : 1866
The indexed table of deeds of manumission for Bourbon County, Kentucky, was transcribed and created by Nancy O'Malley, Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. The data are available online at the Kentucky African Americans Griots website. The data comes from the deed books available at the County Clerk's Office in Paris, Kentucky. "Deeds of manumission were filed with the Bourbon County Clerk's Office so that freed African-Americans could have a document that verified their free status." For more information contact Nancy O'Malley.


This entry was suggested by Sharyn Mitchell.
Subjects: Freedom, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Calvin and Porter Townships (Cass County), Michigan
Around 1840, escaped slaves, mostly from Kentucky, found their way to Calvin and Porter in Michigan. Quakers had established the settlements, and when slave owners attempted to reclaim the slaves, their efforts were resisted and the communities continued to grow. Ex-slaves from the Saunders' plantation in West Virginia moved to Calvin in 1849 and became the majority of the township's population. Over the years the population spilled over into Porter. Both Calvin and Porter are located in the South Bend/Mishawaka metro area of Michigan on the Indiana border. Today Calvin's population is about 2,000, Porter's about 3,800. For more see the reprint by Booker T. Washington, "Two Generations Under Freedom," The Michigan Citizen, 12/19/1992, vol. XV, issue 4, p. A12;  Negro Folktales in Michigan, edited by R. M. Dorson. For more on the raids led by Kentucky slave owners see B. C. Wilson, "Kentucky kidnappers, fugitives, and abolitionists in Antebellum Cass County, Michigan," Michigan History, vol.6, issue 4, pp. 339-358.  See also the Perry Sanford entry.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Calvin and Porter, Michigan / West Virginia / West Bend, Indiana

Caroline (escaped slave) [Donnell v. State]
Start Year : 1847
End Year : 1852
Caroline was a runaway slave from Trimble County, KY, who made a daring escape with her four children in 1847. Escorts in the Underground Railroad helped the family reach the Greenbriar Settlement in Indiana (near the Decatur County/Franklin County line), where they were captured and locked in a livestock feed house. Owner George Ray had posted a reward for the family, and he sued Luther Donnell for rescuing the family from the feed house and helping them toward freedom in Canada. For more see Hoosier farmer gave costly help to fleeing slave and her children at Indianapolis Star Library Factfiles website,; and pictures of the historical marker at
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Trimble County, Kentucky / Greenbriar Settlement, Decatur County, Indiana / Canada

Colored Emigration Movement
Start Year : 1830
End Year : 1856
Colored emigrationists worked toward the development of a plan for free Colored persons to leave the United States, both before and after the Fugitive Slave Bill became law in 1850. Geographic locations that were considered for settlements included Canada, Liberia, Haiti, Santo Domingo, British West Indies, California, Mexico, and Central America, and they were among the same locations considered by the colonizationists and abolitionists. September 20, 1830, the Convention of Coloured Persons met in Bethel Church in Philadelphia, PA, to "consider the propriety of forming a settlement in the province of Upper Canada, in order to afford a place of refuge to those who may be obliged to leave their home, as well as those inclined to emigrate with the view of improving their condition" [source: Richard Allen, "Movements of the people of colour," Genius of Universal Emancipation, April 1831, vol.11, p.195]. The name of the organization was modified with the influence of William Cooper Nell, an integrationist in Boston, MA. The Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People, and Their Friends, was held in Troy, NY, October 5-9,1847. Delegate representatives were appointed from the northern states of New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and the southern or border state of Kentucky was represented by Andrew Jackson (Colored). Within the organization, Jackson was a member of the Executive Committee on the National Press for the Free Colored People of the United States. The committee was to investigate the creation of a unified press that would help advance the colored race. In addition to planning for emigration, the convention members sought to establish business and economic independence by trading with Jamaica and Africa. Attending members included Frederick Douglass, who was an anti-colonist and anti-emigrationist, and two fugitive slaves from Kentucky, Lewis Hayden and William W. Brown. In 1854, the National Emigration Convention of Colored People was held in Cleveland, OH, August 24-26, led by Martin R. Delany. In addition to emigration for free Colored persons, the idea was expanded to the creation of a Colored nation. Most of the delegates were from Pittsburgh, PA, and the others came from Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Canada. Those opposed to emigration, such as Frederick Douglass, were not invited or welcomed at the 1854 convention. The convention was held again in 1856. As the country moved toward the Civil War, the attention of the national Colored emigrationists was focused less on leaving the United States, and more on the uncertainty of what might happen in the United States. Emigration of free Colored persons was not a new idea, small colonies from the United States existed before the convention met in Philadelphia in 1830, see the NKAA entries Freemen Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic), Town near Amherstburg, Ontario, and Kentucky, Canada. For more about later colonies see the NKAA entry Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada. See also William Cooper Nell, Selected Writings 1832-1874, by D. P. Wesley and C. P. Uzelac; "Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends, held in Troy, N.Y., 6-9 October 1847" in Minutes and Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions, 1830-1864 by H. H. Bell; see "National Emigration Convention of Colored People" in The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History online; H. H. Bell, "The Negro Emigration Movement, 1849-1854: a phase of Negro nationalism," The Phylon Quarterly, vol.20, no.2, 2nd Qtr., 1959, pp. 132-142; and H. H. Bell, "Negro Nationalism: a factor in emigration projects, 1858-1861," The Journal of Negro History, vol.45, no.1 (Jan., 1962), pp. 42-53.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Troy, New York / Cleveland, Ohio

Consumers: Slavery Era Insurance Registry
The California Department of Insurance provides a registry of slave insurance that includes slaves owned in Kentucky. The registry has the insurance company names, policy numbers, and the names of the slaves and slaveholders. The information is available as web pages, and also available in .pdf.
Subjects: Slave Injury and Death Reimbursement & Insurance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / California

Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky
A convention of Free Negroes was organized in Philadelphia by James Forten in 1813. The National Convention of Free Negroes was called in 1830 by Arthur Tappan and Simeon S. Jocelyn. The convention members were anti-colonizationist, against deporting former slaves and free persons, and stood for the abolition of slavery and for equal citizenship to all free persons. The Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky was also established with branches in various cities. The exact starting date of the organization is not known, and very little has been written about the group. According to an article in The Lima Argus newspaper, in 1847, the Kentucky Convention of Free Negroes and the Kentucky Colonization Society had agreed that a representative party of free Negroes from Kentucky would be allowed to go to Liberia for one year to inspect the colony, then return to make a full report to their constituencies. Persons were nominated from Lexington, Maysville, Danville, Richmond, and Louisville. The purpose of the proposed plan was to convince more free Negroes in Kentucky to migrate to Liberia. The chosen delegates were Stephen Fletcher, J. Merriwether, H. Underwood, and A. Hooper. They left the United States in 1847, and returned August 1848, along with S. Worrell, a North Carolina delegate. The Kentucky delegates' report on the Liberia Colony was favorable, the colony was healthy and prospering satisfactorily. However, Jesse Merriwether wrote an unfavorable report and advised against emigration to Liberia. For more see The Chronological History of the Negro in America, by P. M. Bergman and M. N. Bergman; "Convention of Free Negroes," The Lima Argus, 07/27/1847, p. 2; and "Arrival of the Liberia Packet," The Adams Sentinel, 08/14/1848, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

Former Kentucky Slaves form town near Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Start Year : 1817
According to the Abolitionist, as early as 1817 a community of about 150 escaped slaves from Kentucky had made their home in Upper Canada. The former slaves had escaped at various times. They were witnessed by Captain Stuart, who lived in Upper Canada between 1817-1822. When Stuart returned to the area in 1828, the population had doubled. The former slaves had formed a town (name unknown) on a tract of land purchased a few miles from Amherstburg, Canada. For more see p. 37 of the Abolitionist, vol. 1, issue 3 (March 1833) [available at Google Book Search]. Author Betty DeRamus mentions in her book that Amherstburg was a well-known haven for escaped slaves, but the city was not always a safe place for them. For more see Forbidden Fruit, by B. DeRamus; and An Enduring Heritage, by R. E. Reindeau. For earlier accounts of Amherstburg as a receiving station for escaped slaves, see The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom, by W. H. Siebert.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration North, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

"The Great Slave Escape of 1848 Ended in Bracken County"
Start Year : 1848
This article, by John E. Leming, Jr., describes this escape attempt as "the largest single slave uprising in Kentucky history." Patrick Doyle, a white, was the suspected leader of the slave revolt; he was to take the 75 slaves to Ohio, where they would be free. The armed contingent of slaves made its way from Fayette County, KY, to Bracken County, KY, where it was confronted by a group of about 100 white men led by General Lucius Desha of Harrison County, KY. During an exchange of gunfire some of the more than 40 slaves escaped into the woods, but most were captured and jailed, along with Patrick Doyle. Doyle was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor in the state penitentiary, and the slaves were returned to their owners. For more see Leming's article in The Kentucky Explorer, June 2000, pp. 25-29; and American Negro Slave Revolts, by H. Aptheker.
Subjects: Freedom, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Fayette County, Harrison County, & Bracken County, Kentucky

"Information Wanted" (Newspaper ads)
Start Year : 1854
End Year : 1946
Placing ads in African American newspapers was one method former slaves used to search for family members who had been taken away, or ran away, or who had been left behind. This type of search was a long shot given the extremely low literacy rate among the newly freed slaves. Success depended on someone reading the ad, recognizing the names, and contacting the persons mentioned in the ad. There is no evidence to support the success or failure of the practice, which was continued into the 21st Century. As early as 1865, the standard heading for the ads was "Information Wanted." An example in the June 24, 1870 edition of The Elevator newspaper [CA] on p. 4 reads, "Mrs. Charlotte Powell of Sacramento wishes information of her relatives, consisting of her father, mother, three brothers, and two sisters. Her father's name was Sam Mosley; he was owned by a man named Joe Powell, who lived in Kentucky at a place called Amandy." Five years earlier, The Black Republican newspaper [LA] ran a series of "Information Wanted" ads with very brief content; the following comes from the April 29, 1865 issue, p. 2: "Mrs. Ritty Green wishes to find her son Dudley Green. Both are from Scott County Kentucky, near Georgetown. Any information respecting him may be addressed to this newspaper. ap29." The ads sometimes included a line encouraging other African American newspapers to copy and run the ad, such as the following, published in The Freeman newspaper [IN] on April 18, 1891, p. 8: "Of, "Billie" Kay, sometimes known as Billie Burse, who thirty-five or eight years ago lived in Hopkinsville, Ky., but shortly afterward moved to the state of Missouri. The name Kay was his master's name, by which he was generally known. Any information relative to him or children will be thankfully received by Mrs. Susan Hillyard, Indianapolis. Care of the Freeman. [Missouri paper please call attention.]" The ads continued to be published by African American newspapers until the late 1940s, but with a noticeable change that had started around 1900: more ads were being published for relatives and friends in search of those they had lost contact with well after the Civil War, and ads for agencies such as insurance companies that were searching for missing heirs. The change was actually a return to the previous use of the "Information Wanted" ads prior to 1865 and in reference to free African Americans. The ads appeared in the Frederick Douglass' Paper as early as 1854. An example is the following ad printed June 30, 1854, on p. 3: "Evelina Evans, who resided in New York City in the year 1850, left that city and went to Canada the same year; since that time she has not been heard from by her relations. Her husband's name was James Evans. Address her uncle, Henry Jackson, Evansville, Indiana. Papers friendly to the cause of Humanity, please notice."
Subjects: Freedom, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

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 and Insurance Policies on Slaves
Start Year : 1836
End Year : 1866
There is a long history of insurance policies on the lives of slaves, dating back to medieval times. In the 1500s, when slaves from Africa were considered part of the cargo brought to European countries, the slaves were insured. The practice of insuring human property was not new when African slaves were brought to the United States. In Kentucky, during the 1800s, slave owners had several options for purchasing policies on the lives of their slaves. Within the state, was the Lexington Fire, Life and Marine Insurance Company. This particular company was chartered by the Kentucky Legislature in 1836 with John W. Hunt as president, and board members John Norton, John Tilford, Elisha Warfield, John Brand, and Thomas Smith, all in Lexington; Thomas Y. Brent in Paris; and David Irvine in Richmond [source: "Chapter 425. An Act to Incorporate the Lexington Fire, Life and Marine Insurance Company. Acts Passed at the First Session of the Forty-Fourth General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1836, pp.601-604]. The table of rates was published within the company ads, an example is the ad in the Covington Journal dated 06/22/1850, on p.4. The company's earliest ads in 1836 did not mention policies on slaves; that notation was added around 1838, see the Lexington Fire, Life and Marine Insurance Company ad on p.4 of the Kentucky Gazette, 05/24/1838. In Frankfort, KY, H. B. Farrar was an insurance agent on St. Claire Street, his ad read "Lives of Negroes Insured. Insurance on Slaves." [source: Daily Commonwealth (Frankfort, KY), 03/04/1854, p.1]. Other companies that offered life insurance policies to slave owners in Kentucky included the Phoenix Life Insurance Company in St. Louis, MO, see "Insure Your Slaves" within the ad for Mutual Life Insurance on p.2 of the Daily Commonwealth, 10/31/1849. In Danville, KY, the Aetna Life Insurance Company agent was A. S. McGororty, see their ad on p.1 of The Kentucky Tribune, 02/22/1856; the Aetna Life Insurance Company was located in Hartford, Connecticut. In Louisville, KY, the Thomas S. Kennedy and Brothers, General Insurance Agents at No.413 South Side of Main Street, represented insurance companies in New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. The ad for Thomas S. Kennedy Brothers on p.4 of the Daily Louisville Democrat, 09/05/1861, included the line "INSURANCE ON LIVES OF SLAVES engaged in any kind of employment." These are only a few of the companies, there were many others. For the names of more insurance companies that insured the lives of slaves in Kentucky, see the advertisements placed in Kentucky newspapers prior to 1866. For more on the history of insuring slaves, see The Development of the Principles of Insurance Law in the Netherlands from 1500 to 1800 volume one by J. P. Van Niekerk; Speculators and Slaves: masters, traders, and slaves in the old south by M. Tadman; Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage edited by T. Falola and A. Warnock; and Investing in Life: insurance in Antebellum America by S. A. Murphy. See also the online article by M. S. Quinn,  "Slavery & insurance: examining slave insurance in a world 150 years removed," Insurance Journal, 05/15/2000.

Subjects: Slave Injury and Death Reimbursement & Insurance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Cemetery Records Database (online)
Start Year : 2000
The following is taken from the introduction of the Kentucky Cemeteries Database site at the Kentucky Historical Society. "The Cemetery Preservation Program's database is a continuation of the work started by the Attorney General's Office in 2000." Entries are sorted by county name; each entry gives the cemetery name and location. A notes field may contain information about African Americans' (including slaves and free persons) burials. The listing of cemeteries will be updated quarterly as additional entries are added. For more information contact the Kentucky Historical Society.
Subjects: Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Colonization Society
The Kentucky Colonization Society purchased land for freed U.S. slaves settling in Liberia. In 1846 this land was called Kentucky in Liberia. Clay Ashland was the main city, so named to honor Henry Clay and his home Ashland. For more see All Things To All People: the American Colonization Society in Kentucky, 1829-1860, by C. R. Bennett (thesis); Henry Clay, Kentucky, and Liberia, by J. W. Coleman; The Kentucky Colonization Society, by J. W. Coleman; and C. Byron, "Man collects history of area called Kentucky halfway around the world," The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 10/05/03, p.01B.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Clay Ashland, Liberia, Africa

Kentucky Land Grants, African Americans
Start Year : 1782
End Year : 1924
The Commonwealth of Virginia issued land grants to settlers in the western Virgina area that is today known as Kentucky. The land was transferred to individuals through a process called patenting, and the final document of purchase was the patent deed. The Virginia series of the Kentucky land grants were issued before 1792. After Kentucky became a state, June 1, 1792, the land grants were issued in the Old Kentucky series by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Land warrants included treasury, state, county, and military warrants issued to soldiers as payment for service in the French-Indian War and the American Revolutionary War. There were a few free African Americans who owned patent deeds, such as Free Frank who had 50-200 acres in Pulaski County from 1826-1827, Free Jack with 8 acres in Pulaski County in 1856, and Colored Man Jim with 17 acres in Taylor County in 1858. For more see Kentucky Land Grants by W. R. Jillson; and see Kentucky Land and Property, a FamilySearch website. Contact the Kentucky Land Office / 700 Capital Ave., Ste. 80 / Frankfort, KY 40601 / (502) 564-3490.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky Land Grants, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Pulaski County, Kentucky / Taylor County, Kentucky

Kentucky Slave Narratives
The memories of former Kentucky slaves were recorded as part of the 1936-1938 Federal Writers' Project, Slave Narratives: a folk history of slavery in the United States from interviews with former slaves - Kentucky Narratives. The title is available full-text online at Project Gutenberg and includes a brief glimpse of the lives of former slaves such as Eliza Ison, who lived in the African American community of Duncantown in Garrard County; George Scruggs of Calloway County, a slave of racehorse owner Vol Scruggs; and Reverend John R. Cox of Boyd County, minister of the Catlettsburg A.M.E. Church and also the city's first African American truant officer.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Military & Veterans, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Slave Servants, War of 1812
Start Year : 1815
End Year : 1815
George and Richard were two slaves listed among the Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812, compiled by M. S. Wilder, p. 262. Their rank is listed as 'servant' with the enlistment date February 8, 1815, to March 7, 1815. The men are listed under the heading 'Roll of Field and Staff, Francisco's Regiment of Kentucky Militia, War of 1812 - Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Francisco."
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: 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

Kentucky Slaves, Slave Owners, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes (composite search in NKAA)
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
This entry was created using a single keyword search for entries in the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database. The search was constructed to locate those entries with data on the number of slaves, slave owners, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes in Kentucky.  There are more than 100 search results.
Subjects: Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada
Start Year : 1861
End Year : 1864
In 1861, President Lincoln, an admirer of the late Kentuckian Henry Clay, asked that Congress approve a plan for the colonization of all Negroes. A warm climate or tropical location was preferred: Texas, Florida, Mexico, Haiti, Liberia, or the lands [coal fields] in New Granada claimed by the Chiriqui Improvement Company [in present day countries within Central and South America]. In preparation for the emigration, slaves were to be gradually emancipated, beginning with the Border States [including Kentucky]. But that idea was dropped because it did not appeal to the members of Congress from the Border States. Still, the Chiriqui lands in New Granada were seen as the ideal locations for a loyal and U. S.-controlled colony of Negroes. In 1862, a group of freemen, the first ever to be invited to the White House, arrived to hear Lincoln’s request for their help in promoting the colony among other freemen. There was great opposition to the colony from Central American governments, especially in Costa Rica. The Bogotá [Colombia] government, led by Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, was in favor of the colony. The official Bogotá representative, Pedro A. Herrán, son-in-law of Mosquera, was in Washington. In Colombia, the U.S. Minister was Garrard County, KY, native Allan A. Burton. Several of the prior ministers had also been from Kentucky, beginning with former Congressman Richard Clough Anderson, Jr. from Louisville, who served in Colombia from 1823 until his death in 1826. Though the idea of a Negro Colony was welcomed by the Bogotá government, it was not a viable plan and was therefore suspended in 1862. The colonization fund was abolished in 1864. Haiti was no longer an option after the failure of the Ile à Vache Colony experiment in 1863. Liberia was eliminated when Lincoln issued the final Proclamation of Emancipation on January 1, 1863. For more see P. J. Scheips, “Lincoln and the Chiriqui Colonization Project,” The Journal of Negro History, vol.37, issue 4 (Oct., 1952), pp. 418-453; M. Vorenberg, “Abraham Lincoln and the Black politics of colonization,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association [available online], vol. 14, issue 2 (Summer 1993); Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States: during its first century, by C. Lanman, p. 593 [full view at Google Book Search]; and W. D. Boyd, “James Redpath and American Negro Colonization in Haiti, 1860-1862,” The Americas, vol.12, issue 2 (Oct., 1955), pp. 169-182. See Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent. For information on earlier Haitian colony see Freeman Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic).

*New Granada included present day Colombia, Ecaudor, Panama, and Venezuela.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Texas / Florida / Mexico / Ile a Vache, Haiti / Liberia / Costa Rica, Central America / Bogota, Colombia, South America

Ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1865
End Year : 1976
Kentucky House Member Mae Street Kidd sponsored the resolution that moved the state of Kentucky to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments in 1976. The ratification of the 13th Amendment formally abolished slavery in the United States. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." The U.S. Senate passed the amendment on April 8, 1864; the House of Representatives defeated the amendment on June 15, 1864, then passed the amendment on January 31, 1865; President Lincoln signed and presented the amendment to the states on February 1, 1865; and Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement on December 18, 1865 to verify the ratification of the 13th Amendment. There were three states that rejected the 13th Amendment and did not ratify it until the 20th Century: Delaware (February 12, 1901); Kentucky (March 18, 1976); and Mississippi voted to ratify the 13th Amendment on March 16, 1995, but it was not officially ratified until February 7, 2013. The 14th Amendment was ratified July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to all who were born or naturalized in the United States. States that ratified the 14th Amendment in the 20th Century were Delaware (1901), Maryland (1959), California (1959), Kentucky (1976), and Ohio (September 17, 2003) [Ohio had rescinded its ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868]. The 15th Amendment, ratified February 3, 1870, gave African American men the right to vote. States that did not ratify the 15th Amendment until the 20th Century were Delaware (1901), Oregon (1959), California (1962), Maryland (1973), Kentucky (1976), and Tennessee (1997).  For more see 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all on the Library of Congress website; see also A. Greenblatt, "Failure to ratify: during amendment battles, some states opt to watch," an NPR website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Voting Rights, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Reid Slave Cemetery (Hawesville, KY)
Within the Reid Family Cemetery, the last rows, 11-17, are designated as the Slave Cemetery. The location is described as being on "a high hill overlooking Highways 334 and Muddy Gut Road, on a farm owned by Stephen Emmick. Cemetery is in poor condition." It was noted that there were sandstone markers at most of the slave graves, but no names were recorded in the report published in Forgotten Pathways, Quarterly of the Genealogical Society of Hancock County, vol. IV, issue II (Fall 1987), p. 36.
Subjects: Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Hawesville, Hancock County, Kentucky

Roll of Emigrants to Liberia, 1820-1843, and Liberian Census Data, 1843
Start Year : 1820
End Year : 1843
-Data and Information Services Center, Online Data Archive
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: United States / Liberia, Africa

Salsbury Free Negro Settlement (Muhlenberg County, KY)
Start Year : 1860
The community was located south of Greenville, KY. Thomas (d. 1848) and Rebecca Salsbury (d. 1860) had willed the land to their former slaves, and soon to be freed slaves, who were age 25 or older. The Salsbury's had no children. All of the former slaves who received land had the last name Salsbury. In total, there was 560 acres. Most of the land was eventually sold to whites as the African American Salsbury family members left the settlement. Thomas and Rebecca Salsbury also sent some of their freed slaves to the Republic of Liberia. Dr. Guy Otha Saulsberry was a descendant of the Salsbury slaves. For more see Around Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, A Black History, by L. S. Smith (the book covers 1795 to 1979); and Searching for the Roots, Grafting the Branches: the Saulsbury [sic] Family of Kentucky, a Black History of Roots Lost in Slavery (thesis), by C. S. Johnson.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Salsbury Free Negro Settlement, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky (no longer exists)

Slave Deaths due to Cholera, 1850 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule
Start Year : 1850
The federal mortality schedules, for which data were first collected in 1849, included the cholera deaths of slaves, many listed by name. Prior to 1870, it had been the free African Americans who were listed in the U.S. Federal Census by name, while slaves were listed in the Slave Schedules by sex and age under the names of their owners. The mortality schedules were published 1850-1880, and the number of overall deaths in the U.S. were under reported in the data collection. There were hundreds of deaths in Kentucky due to cholera before, after, and during the year 1850. Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae (more info at MedlinePlus). In 1850, as the U.S. was striving for better public health measures, doctors were still searching for the exact cause of the disease, how it was transferred and how it could be treated and prevented. A nationwide cholera epidemic had taken place in 1848-49. Former U.S. President James K. Polk died of cholera in 1849 after a visit to Louisiana. His presidency was followed by that of 12th U.S. President Zachary Taylor, who died of cholera in 1850. [He was born in Virginia and grew up in Kentucky.] Mary A. Fillmore, daughter of the 13th U.S. President, Millard Fillmore, died of cholera in 1854. Lucy Ware Webb Hayes (, the wife of 19th U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, lost her father to cholera in 1833 when he came to his hometown, Lexington, KY, to free the slaves that he had recently inherited. In addition to Dr. James Webb, his mother, father, and brother also died of cholera. After the 1830s cholera epidemic, there were publications written for southerns on the medical treatment of cholera in slaves. With the second epidemic in the late 1840s, there was a request for a publication on what was considered an effective treatment by Dr. C. B. New. In 1850 he published Cholera: observations on the management of cholera on plantations, and method of treating the disease [available online]. Included in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule are 71 black slaves in Kentucky who died of cholera, most from Scott, Warren, and Woodford Counties; the schedule also lists the death of seven Kelly slaves in Warren County, in June 1850. There were also 16 mulatto slave deaths in Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Union and Warren Counties. S. M. Young, a free mulatto woman from Scott County, also died of cholera in 1850. For more see The Health of Slaves on Southern Plantations, by W. D. Postell; Observations on the epidemic now prevailing in the City of New-York, by C. C. Yates [available full-text at Google Book Search]; Cholera; its pathology, diagnosis, and treatment, by William Story [available full-text at Google Book Search]; T. L. Savitt's Medicine and Slavery; and Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records, by L. D. Szucs and M. Wright. See also the list of Cholera deaths in Lexington, KY, [Whites and Blacks] for the year 1833, a rootsweb site, and for the year 1849.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Inheritance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Slave Execution Reimbursement
Start Year : 1798
The Kentucky Slave Code of 1798 allowed for the slaveholder to be paid the value of any slave who was executed. The process for payment was as follows: Once the slave was taken into custody by the sheriff, he or she was to be assessed a value. The auditor of public accounts was authorized and required to issue a warrant to the treasury for the amount in favor of the slave owner. The owner was to produce the certificate of the clerk of the court that said the slave was condemned, along with the sheriff's certificate that said the slave was executed or perished before execution; then the treasurer was required to pay the owner the assessed value of the slave. For more see A Digest of the Statute Law of Kentucky, vol. 2, Chapter CLXXIV - Slaves, Sec. 24, pp. 1154-1155.
Subjects: Executions, Slave Injury and Death Reimbursement & Insurance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Slave Jail (Woodford County, KY)
A 1938 Lexington, KY, newspaper article mentions an old slave jail that was once owned by a slave trader named Offutt in Woodford County, KY. The property where the jail was located, a farm located near the Versailles-Midway highway, was later owned by Sheriff William B. Cogar. The building had been two stories high and had barred windows. Sheriff Cogar removed the top half of the building and removed the bars. For more see "Ancient slave jail stands near Midway," Lexington Leader, 06/30/1938, section 3, p. 14.
Subjects: Slave Trade (U.S.), Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Woodford County, Kentucky

Slave Record Book
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1861
The book, found in the basement of the Adams County Courthouse in Mississippi, lists the vital statistics of slaves brought from Kentucky to Mississippi just prior to the Civil War. Recorded are the sale of slaves between 1858-1861. A microfilm copy of the book is available at the Department of Archives and History and the Adams County Chancery Clerks Office, both in Mississippi. For more about the finding of the book see K. Whipple, "Rare slave records found in Natchez - An AP Mississippi member feature," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 08/29/1999.

*Adams County Vital Records / Adams County Chancery Clerk / 115 S. Wall Street / Natchez, MS 39120
Subjects: Slave Trade (U.S.), Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Mississippi

Slave Trade Between Kentucky and Southern States
Lexington was initially the slave trade center for Kentucky in the 1800s due to many factors that included the demand for slaves in southern states, the large number of slaves in Kentucky and the decreasing profits of slavery, the Kentucky anti-importation law of 1833, and attacks by abolitionists against the African slave trade and slavery in general. As the economic demands for more slaves increased in southern states, the Kentucky and Virginia slave markets responded to the demand in the cotton belt, economically benefiting the states. In 1840, Robert Wickliffe, the largest slave owner in Fayette County, boasted to the Kentucky Legislature that as many as 6,000 slaves per year were being sold to southern states from Kentucky, though the actual number was not known because there were no definitive accounting records for all sales. Prior to the late 1840s, the sale of slaves was a personal business transaction that was not tracked or announced to the public, other than through public auctions, as was the case with the sale of livestock. In 1843, two of the more prominent slave trade firms in Kentucky were the firm of Downing and Hughes and the much larger firm of Griffin and Pullum, both located in Lexington. In 1849, the Kentucky anti-importation law of 1833 was repealed, allowing slaves from other states to be brought into Kentucky and sold. That same year, the Kentucky Legislature adopted a resolution denouncing abolition. It was also around 1849 that two other major changes took place. First, Kentucky newspapers garnered a greater share of the slave trade economy and promoted the trade with an increased number of paid advertisements and hand bills for the sale of slaves or those looking to buy slaves, for the services of slave trade firms and brokers, and for the recapture of runaway and kidnapped slaves. Second, the slave trade in Louisville became a major competitor to the trade in Lexington, and adjoining towns were developing their own slave trade businesses. In 1859, when there were discussions of re-establishing the African slave trade, loud voices of opposition were heard from Kentucky and Virginia. For more see T. D. Clark, "The Slave trade between Kentucky and the Cotton Kingdom," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 21, issue 3 (Dec., 1934), pp.331-342; and Lexington's slave dealers and their Southern trade, by J. W. Coleman, Jr. See also Kentucky and slavery: the constitutional convention of 1792 (thesis) by M. Herrick.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Slave Trade (U.S.), Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky / Virginia

Slavery and Medical Care in Kentucky
Currently, no work is dedicated solely to the medical care of slaves in Kentucky. Medical care, health, nutrition, diseases, medicine, and the medical use of Negro corpses are discussed within the written histories of slavery and Kentucky in general. Descriptions of individual cases and experiences may be found within the slave narratives, family papers and archives, medical journals, court cases, and Kentucky government publications. The cases described range from insignificant to exceptional, including some world-renowned cases, such as the first successful amputation at the hip joint that took place in Bardstown, KY. According to Todd L. Savitt, "slaves had a fairly significant role in medical education and in experimental and radical medical and surgical practice of the Antebellum South." Dr. Ephraim McDowell of Danville, KY, who performed the first successful ovariotomy (removal of an ovary) on a white woman, Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, in 1809, perfected his technique while performing ovariotomies on African American women in Kentucky. When the Louisville (KY) Medical Institute was established in 1837, it was in part located in that particular city due to the large population of slaves, freemen, and transient whites who made up the population most available for clinical teaching. During the Civil War, African American recruits from Kentucky were said to be the healthiest and stoutest the Union Army medical examiners had seen, which was often equated with the assumption that slavery was less harsh in Kentucky than other border and southern states. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky, by M. B. Lucas; Birthing a Slave, by M. J. Schwartz; and T. L. Savitt, "The Use of Blacks for Medical Experimentation and Demonstration in the Old South," The Journal of Southern History, vol. 48, issue 3 (August 1982), pp. 331-348 [quotation from p. 331].
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Slavery Era Insurance Policies Registry
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Insurance, provides a register of slave insurance that includes the names of the slaves, the slave holder, and the insurance policy number. The register, in .pdf, includes slaves owned in Kentucky.
Subjects: Slave Injury and Death Reimbursement & Insurance, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Illinois

Slavery in Kentucky (titles and collections)
Start Year : 1700
Listed below are selected non-fiction titles and collections that focus on the history of slavery in Kentucky (the state as a whole). This is not intended to be an all inclusive list and does not include individual newspaper articles or book reviews. Additional information will be found within many other sources. See also the complete list of resources in the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.


The African American Migration Experience     Slavery Times in Kentucky (still images collection) 2005 New York Public Library NYPL Digital Collections  
Allen, Jeffrey Brooke     The Debate Over Slavery and Race in Ante-Bellum Kentucky: 1792-1850 (Ph. D. dissertation) 1973 Northwestern University   University of Kentucky Special Collections E444.K5 A450 1973a; and many other Kentucky libraries
Allen, Jeffrey Brooke   Did Southern Colonizationists Oppose Slavery: Kentucky 1816-1850 as a test case     The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.75, no.2, pp.92-111   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
Astor, Aaron   The Crouching Lion's Fate: slave politics and conservative unionism in Kentucky   2012 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.110, no.3, pp.293-326   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
Bennett, Charles Raymond     All Things to All People: the American Colonization Society in Kentucky, 1829-1860 (Ph. D. dissertation) 1980 University of Kentucky   University of Kentucky Special Collections & Young Library
Breckinridge, Robert J.     The Question of Negro Slavery and the New Constitution (collection) 1849 University of Kentucky Special Collections   University of Kentucky Special Collections 326.4 B742q, Samuel Wilson Collection
Brown, John and John Young   Synod of Kentucky on Slavery   April 30, 1836 The Friend; a Religious and Literary Journal, v.9, no.30, p.233   Proquest American Periodical Series (subscription database)
Byrd, Pratt     The Kentucky Frontier in 1792 Slavery, Land-holding, and the State Constitution (Master thesis) 1947 University of Wisconsin-Madison   University of Wisconsin-Madison Library
Clark, Thomas Dionysius   The Slave Trade Between Kentucky and the Cotton Kingdom   December 1934 The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, v.12, no.3, pp.331-342   Available at many Kentucky libraries
Coleman, John Winston, Jr.     John Winston Coleman, Jr. Collection on Slavery in Kentucky (collection) 1780-1940   UK Special Collections  
Collar, C. Walker   Jesuit Education and Slavery in Kentucky, 1832-1868   2010 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.108, no.3, pp.213-249   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
Cowan, Alexander M. Liberia as I Found it in 1858     1858 A. G. Hodges   University of Kentucky Special Collections, Samuel Wilson Collection; and Filson Historical Society
Eslinger, Ellen   The Shape of Slavery on the Kentucky Frontier, 1775-1800   1994 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.92, no.1, pp.1-23   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
Explore UK: textual and visual records of the University of Kentucky       1700s-present University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center Explore UK  
Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the state of Kentucky Slave Narratives: a folk history of slavery in the United States from interviews with former slaves: v.7 Kentucky Narratives     Washington 1941   Various online formats at Project Gutenberg Available at UK and many other Kentucky libraries
Fitzpatrick, Benjamin Lewis     Negroes for Sale: the slave trade in Antebellum Kentucky (Ph. D. dissertation) December 2008 University of Notre Dame University of Notre Dame ETDs  
Harlow, Luke E.     Antislavery Clergy in Antebellum Kentucky, 1830-1860 (Master thesis) 2004 Wheaton College   Wheaton College
Harrison, Lowell H.   Slavery in Kentucky: a Civil War casualty   1983 The Kentucky Review, v.5, no.1, pp.32-41 UKnowledge  
Herrick, Michael     Kentucky and Slavery: the Constitutional Convention of 1792 (Master thesis) 2010 Dalhousie University

Faculty of Graduate Studies Online Theses

Howard, Victor B. Black Liberation in Kentucky: emancipation and freedom, 1862-1884     1983 University Press of Kentucky UKnowledge Available at UK and  many other Kentucky libraries
Howard, Victor B.   The Kentucky Presbyterians in 1849: slavery and the Kentucky Constitution   1982 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.8, no.2, pp.151-169   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
Hudson, J. Blaine Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in the Kentucky Borderland     2002 McFarland & Co.   Available at many Kentucky libraries
Kentucky Digital Library (KDL): online archives from Kentucky colleges, universities, libraries and historical society repositories       1700s-present Kentucky KDL  
Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program (KDNP): historic and contemporary newspapers from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.       1787-present University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center KDNP  
Knott, Maurice F.     The Protestant of Kentucky and the Slavery Question (Master thesis) 1951 University of Kentucky   University of Kentucky Special Collections & Young Library
LaCroix, Helen H.     In the Absence of Reconstruction: race, politics, and state power in Kentucky, 1850-1872 (Ph. D. dissertation) 2011 University of Wisconsin-Madison   University of Wisconsin-Madison Library
Lee, Jacob F.     "The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is": Unionism and emancipation in Civil War era Kentucky (Master thesis) 2007 University of Louisville   University of Louisville; and Filson Historical Society
Lucas, Marion B. A History of Blacks in Kentucky: from slavery to segregation, 1760-1891 [2nd ed.]     2003 University Press of Kentucky UKnowledge Available at UK and  many other Kentucky libraries
Lucas, Marion B.   Kentucky Blacks: the transition from slavery to freedom   1993 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.91, no.4, pp.40-419   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
McDougle, Ivan E.   Slavery in Kentucky   July 1918 The Journal of Negro History, v.3, no.3, pp.211-328 HathiTrust  
Magoffin, Beriah     Message of Governor Magoffin to the General Assembly of Kentucky 1859 University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center   University of Kentucky Special Collections J87.K4 A2 1859
Martin, Asa Earl The Anti-Slavery Movement in Kentucky, Prior to 1850     1918 The Standard Printing Company of Louisville  
Matthews, Gary Robert More American Than Southern: Kentucky, slavery, and the war for an American ideology, 1828-1861     2014 University of Tennessee Press   Available at UK and many other Kentucky libraries
Mendes, Guy; Mike Brower; Kentucky Educational Television     Kentucky's Underground Railroad Passage To Freedom (video) 2000 Kentucky Educational Television (KET) KET  
Miller, Caroline R. and Bracken County Historical Society Grapevine Dispatch: the voice of antislavery messages     2011 Little Miami Publishing Co.   Available at UK and many other Kentucky libraries
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. General Assembly Actions of the General Assembly on Slavery     1865 Hanna & Duncan, Printers   University of Kentucky Special Collections, Samuel Wilson Collection, 326 P92; and Western Kentucky University Library
Reynolds, Todd Armstrong     The American Missionary Association's Antislavery Campaign in Kentucky, 1848 to 1860 (Ph. D. dissertation) 1979 Ohio State University   Ohio State University Library
Sears, Richard D. The Kentucky Abolitionist in the Midst of Slavery (1854-1864): exiles for freedom     1993 Edwin Mellen Press   Available at UK and many other Kentucky libraries 
  Slave Emancipation in Kentucky     1849 Published in Frankfort, KY

  University of Kentucky Special Collections HT891 .S30 1849; and Filson Historical Society
Smith, John Thomas   The Old Arguments Anew: proslavery and antislavery thought during reconstruction   1986 The Kentucky Review, v.6, no.1, pp.3-23 UKnowledge  
Talbott, Timothy Ross   Slavery Advertisements in Kentucky's Civil War Newspapers   Fall 2016 Ohio Valley History, v.16, no.3, pp.28-47   Available at UK and many other Kentucky libraries
Tallant, Harold D. Evil Necessity: slavery and political culture in antebellum Kentucky     2003 University Press of Kentucky UKnowledge Available at UK and  many other Kentucky libraries
Tallant, Harold Donald, Jr.     The Slavery Controversy in Kentucky, 1829-1859 (Ph. D. dissertation) 1986 Duke University   Duke University Library
Turley, Alicestyne     Spirited Away: Black evangelicals and the gospel of freedom, 1790-1890 (Ph. D. dissertation) 2009 University of Kentucky UKnowledge  
Turner, Wallace B.   Kentucky Slavery in the Last Ante Bellum Decade   1960 The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, v.58, no.4, pp.291-307   Available at many Kentucky libraries and the Kentucky Historical Society
UKnowledge: a digital collection of unique scholarship created by University of Kentucky faculty, staff, students, departments, research centers, and administration.       1904-present University of Kentucky Libraries UKnowledge  
University of Kentucky Newspapers: largest collection of Kentucky newspapers listed by town, by date, and by title       1700s-present     University of Kentucky Young Library Periodicals, Newspapers, Microforms
University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center     Abolition/Abolitionist: Primary Sources in Special Collections Updated 2016 University of Kentucky Libguides  
University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center     Slaves/Slavery: Primary Sources in Special Collections Updated 2016 University of Kentucky Libguides  

Subjects: Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

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

Stone-Campbell Movement in Kentucky
Start Year : 1800
Also referred to as the Restoration Movement, the Stone-Campbell Movement began in the early 1800s. The name refers to Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, two leading figures of independent movements which were merged. As a result of the merger, a new way of preaching and teaching developed. The roots of the movement were planted at The Great Revival held at Cane Ridge (Bourbon County), KY, in 1801. African Americans, most of them slaves, were among the thousands who attend the revival. Samuel Buckner, a slave and a preacher, was a member of the Cane Ridge Church; he was ordained in 1855. The first African American congregation in the movement was the Colored Christian Church in Midway, KY (1834), followed by Hancock Hill Church in Louisville, KY (1850s), and Little Rock Christian Church in Bourbon County (1861). The College of Scriptures was established in Louisville in 1945, providing correspondence course work for African Americans not allowed to attend the school. The school was located in Louisville because "this location was considered not too far North and not too far from its primary constituents, would-be preachers for African American congregations." In 1971, Walter D. Bingham was elected moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) by the General Assembly meeting in Louisville. Bingham was the first African American Disciple named to the post. For more see In Other Words... Stories of African-American Involvement in the Early Years of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Kentucky, by M. A. Fields and S. B. Fields; and The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, edited by D. A. Foster, P. M. Blowers, A. L. Dunnavant, and D. N. Williams [quotation taken from p. 227].
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Cane Ridge and Little Rock, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tobacco in Upper Canada
Start Year : 1819
Escaped slaves from Kentucky and Virginia had raised tobacco in their respective state and took those skills with them to Upper Canada in 1819. During the 1820s, the city of Amherstburg became the major location for tobacco farming, and the city attracted even more escaped slaves with experience raising the crop. "Six hundred hogs head [sic] of tobacco was exported to Montreal annually." The Canadian tobacco market was glutted by 1827, resulting in the dramatic deterioration of both the price and quality of the tobacco, so the economic tobacco boom came to an end. For more see p. 23 in Unwelcome Guests: Canada West's response to American fugitive slaves, 1800-1865, by J. H. Silverman.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Freedom, Migration North, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Virginia / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

U.S. Census: Slave Schedules, Black or Mulatto, Colored
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1890
African American slaves were first enumerated in the U.S. Federal Census in 1850 in a separate census called Slave Schedules. The 1850 Census was also the first in which all members of a household were listed by name; prior to 1850, only the heads of households were listed by name. As for slaves listed in the 1850 Slave Schedules, the vast majority are not listed by name but rather are numbered by age, sex, and color [Black or Mulatto] from the oldest to the youngest, all under the name of the slave owner. Also listed were the reported fugitive and manumitted (freed) slaves and the deaf, blind, insane, and idiotic slaves. A second slave census was taken in 1860. Kentucky was one of the 18 states included in the 1850 Slave Schedules and one of the 17 states in the 1860 Slave Schedules. African American slaves had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 or by the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Because Kentucky did not secede from the Union, Kentucky slaves were freed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment. In the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal Censuses, African Americans are included as Black or Mulatto. When the 1890 Census was taken, the term "Colored" was also used as a race descriptor for some African Americans, as well as for Chinese, Hawaiians, Japanese, Puerto Ricans, Swiss, Native Americans, and many others. As early as 1850, the term "Colored" had been used in the U.S. Federal Census and in the census of some individual states to describe free persons who were not White. Well beyond the year 1900, in the United States, the terms Black, Mulatto, and Colored were all used on birth, death, and military records, and on ship passenger lists. For more information about the race descriptors used in the early U.S. Census data, contact the U.S. Census Bureau; see Shades of Citizenship, by M. Nobles; Census and Identity, by D. I. Kertzer and D. Arel; and Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census, by M. J. Anderson.
Subjects: 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], Race Categories, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / United States

Voting Rights in Kentucky, 1792-1799 - Free Negro, Mulatto, Indian Males
Start Year : 1792
End Year : 1799
Kentucky became a state in 1792 and the first state constitution had no restrictions on the voting rights of all free men, including African Americans. "Article III. § 1. In elections by the citizens, all free male citizens of the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the State two years, or the county in which they offer to vote one year next before the election, shall enjoy the rights of an elector;..." [source: p.5 in "First Constitution of Kentucky. (1792)" a .pdf at (available online)].   However, when the 1799 constitution was written, the voting rights were rescinded. "Section 8. In all elections for representatives, every free male citizen, (negroes, mulattoes, and Indians excepted,) who at the time being, hath attained to the age of twenty-one years, and resided in the state two years, or the county or town in which he offers to vote one year next preceding the election, shall enjoy the right of an elector;..." [source: p.29 in "The Old Constitution of Kentucky" found in The Revised Statutes of Kentucky by C. A. Wickliffe, S. Turner, and S. S. Nicholas, 1852 (available online at Internet Archive)]. According to the Second Census of Kentucky, there were free Negroes and Mulattoes and 40,303 slaves in 1800. Voting rights were regained for African American males with the ratification of the 15th Amendment, February 3, 1870. Voting rights for African American women and all other women were gained with the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. 
Subjects: Voting Rights, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky

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


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