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

Tandy, Charlton Hunt

(born: 1836  -  died: 1919) 

Charlton H. Tandy, born in a house on Main Street in Lexington, KY, was the son of John L. (b. 1805) and Susan Tandy (b. 1815), both Kentucky natives. The family was listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. John is listed as a whitewasher. He had purchased his freedom in 1833. His son, Charlton, born three years later, was named after Lexington's first Mayor, Charlton Hunt (the son of John W. Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains).

Charlton Hunt Tandy, listed as one of the family's nine children in 1850, was raised in Lexington. When he was a young man he and his family members assisted escaped enslaved people across the Ohio River into Ohio.

Charlton moved to Missouri in 1859, where he would become captain of the 13th Missouri Colored Volunteer Militia, Company B, known as Tandy's St. Louis Guard. After the Civil War, he fought for equal access on public transportation in St. Louis  to allow African Americans to ride inside the horse-drawn streetcars rather than on the outside hanging onto the rails. In 1879, Tandy helped raise thousands of dollars to help former enslaved families who were moving to the West [Exodusters]. Tandy was also president of the St. Louis Colored Relief Board.

In 1880 Tandy testified before the Congressional Voorhees Committee about the exodus of African Americans from the South. He became a lawyer in 1886 by passing the Missouri Bar Exam and was permitted to practice law in both the district court and U.S. Supreme Court.

President Grant appointed Tandy to the St. Louis Custom House, making him the first African American employed there. Tandy was also a U.S. Marshall under President Harrison's administration, serving as special agent of the General Land Office and as a timber inspector. He also served as vice president of the Missouri State Republican League. In 1894 Tandy was elected to a House seat by the Republicans of the Thirty-second Senatorial District but was not allowed to serve.

Charlton Tandy was the husband of Anna E. Tandy, who was also born in Kentucky. A community center, a park, and a St. Louis Zoo train engine [of the Zooline Railroad] have been named in his honor.

For more see The New Town Square, by R. Archibald; The St. Louis African American Community and the Exodusters, by B. M. Jack; news clippings about Tandy in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Western Historical Manuscript Collection; "A great exodus of Negroes," New York Times, 8/12/1880, p. 5; and "Lexington Negro," Lexington Leader, 8/1/1906, p. 5.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Tandy, Charlton Hunt,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-31 16:09:46