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

Bracken County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Bracken County is located along the northern edge of Kentucky, bordered by the Ohio River and four other Kentucky counties. Named for early settler William Bracken, the county was formed in 1796 from parts of Mason and Campbell Counties. Augusta is the county seat.

In the 1870s, Bracken County was among the top wine-producing counties in the United States.

The small population in the late 1700s had grown to 2,606 in 1800, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 2,349 whites, 243 enslaved, and 14 free coloreds. In 1830 the county had one African American slave owner. By 1860 the population was 10,193, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the enslaved.

Below are the figures for the slave owners, enslaved, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 208 slave owners
  • 129 Black slaves
  • 33 Mulatto slaves
  • 114 free Blacks
  • 1 free Mulatto [Laura E. Blythe]

See also J. E. Leming, Jr, "The Great Slave Escape of 1848 ended in Bracken County," The Kentucky Explorer, June 2000, pp. 25-29.

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 177 slave owners
  • 553 Black slaves
  • 196 Mulatto slaves
  • 55 free Blacks
  • 28 free Mulattoes


1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 554 Blacks
  • 66 Mulattoes
  • About 28 U.S. Colored Troops listed Bracken County, KY as their birth location.


For more see the Bracken County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; and African-American Records, by C. R. Miller.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Augusta, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Bracken County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/2288.

Last modified: 2023-08-25 17:39:20