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

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

Edmonson County is located in the Pennyrile and Western Coal Field Regions of Kentucky, surrounded by five Kentucky counties. Formed in 1825 from portions of Hart, Grayson, and Warren Counties, Edmonson County was named for John Edmonson, who was from Virginia and was killed during his service in the Battle of River Raisin (Battles of Frenchtown) during the War of 1812.

The county seat, Brownsville, was established in 1828 and incorporated by the General Assembly in 1860; it was named for General Jacob J. Brown, a Quaker from Pennsylvania and an American Army officer in the War of 1812.

In 1830, the Edmonson County population was 369 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and that increased to 4,374 by 1860, excluding slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 78 slave owners
  • 297 Black slaves
  • 16 Mulatto slaves
  • 12 free Blacks [most with the last name Cowles]
  • 0 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 68 slave owners
  • 210 Black slaves
  • 63 Mulatto slaves
  • 9 free Blacks
  • 2 free Mulattoes [last name Cowl] 
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 224 Blacks
  • 20 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops gave Edmonson County, KY, as their birth location. 
For more see The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; 1825-1900 Edmonson County, by R. Carroll; Pictorial History, Edmonson County, Kentucky, 1825-1998, by the Edmonson County Historical Society; and Edmonson County, Kentucky History and Biographies, by L. Collins, et. al.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Edmonson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Brownsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Edmonson County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-21 16:36:57