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

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

Breckinridge County was formed in 1799 from part of Hardin County and is bordered by five Kentucky counties and the Ohio River. Located in the midwestern part of the state, the county was named for John Breckinridge, a U.S. Attorney General, Senator, Attorney General, and House Member in Kentucky as well as a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. He died in 1806, shortly after Breckinridge County was formed. The county seat is Hardinsburg.

The total population in 1800 was 807, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 765 whites, 41 enslaved, and 1 free colored. By 1860 the population was 10,896, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the enslaved. Below are the figures for the slave holders, enslaved, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 408 slave owners
  • 1,569 Black slaves
  • 380 Mulatto slaves
  • 6 free Blacks
  • 2 Colored [Thomas Alexander and Hardin Alexander]
  • 4 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 476 slave owners
  • 1,837 Black slaves
  • 499 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks
  • 4 free Mulattoes [3 last name Piles, 1 last name Tanner]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,143 Blacks
  • 413 Mulattoes
  • About five U.S. Colored Troops listed Breckinridge County as their birth location.
For more see Breckinridge County in Collin's Historical Sketches of Kentucky, vol. 2 , by L. Collins and R. H. Collins; History and Legend of Breckinridge County, Kentucky, by B. Thompson; and Breckinridge County, Kentucky Pictorial History, by the Breckinridge County Bicentennial Committee.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Breckinridge County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hardinsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Breckinridge County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-29 15:58:12