From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gloucester, John

(born: 1776  -  died: 1822) 

John Gloucester was born a slave in Kentucky. (Some sources say he was born in Tennessee.) He was a gifted singer and the first African American minister of the first African American Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA.

Before his church was built, Gloucester would sing outside, and when a crowd had gathered, he would begin preaching.

In Kentucky, Gloucester was owned by Reverend Gideon Blackburn, a leader in the Kentucky Presbyterian denomination and president of Centre College in Danville, KY, from August 1, 1827 until his resignation October 26, 1830. When John Gloucester was ordained a minister, he was given his freedom.

Gloucester preached throughout the United States and abroad, raising enough money to buy the freedom of his wife and children. The family settled in Philadelphia around 1807.

For more see The Negro Church. Report of a Social Study..., edited by W. E. B. DuBois [full text at UNC Library, Documenting the American South]; A Popular History of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, by J. H. Patton; and 14th Triennal and 46th Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Centre College at Danville, KY (1870) [Ancestry].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gloucester, John,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 5, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-03-24 15:48:54