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

Young, Ada Johnson and Samuel "Policy Sam"

Ada Johnson Young, born in Kentucky around 1886, was the wife of Samuel Young, also known in Chicago as "Policy Sam" and the "Father of Policy." Samuel Young was born around 1868 in Alabama, died in 1937 in Chicago, and was buried in Louisville, KY. He is remembered for bringing the illegal numbers game "Policy" to Chicago.

According to the U.S. Federal Census, Ada and Samuel Young lived in Chicago on Dearborn Street in 1910; they were two of the four lodgers at the home of Henry Bates. Samuel's employment was given as bondsman. Ada was listed as a mulatto from Kentucky, and Samuel was listed as a black man from Tennessee [he had previously lived in TN]. The two other lodgers at Bates's home were Pearl and Robert Reed. Pearl, a hairdresser, was also from Kentucky.

By 1920, Ada and Samuel Young had their own place on State Street and were the parents of two children. Samuel's occupation was still recorded as bondsman in the census. Ten years later, Samuel and the children were listed in the census as living with Ada's brother's family on Rhodes Avenue in Chicago; Ada's name was not included as a member of the household. Both Samuel Young and his brother-in-law, Albert Johnson, were said to be employed as bondsmen of appearance bonds. [Appearance bonds are posted for the release of a defendant or a witness who is in legal custody. The bond, which can be cash, propety, or collateral, is posted to secure the individual's required appearance in court.]

For more see "The Last of the Policy Kings: game unnoticed in 1915 becomes richest racket," Chicago Defender, 8/23/1952, p. 1; "Policy Sam Young rites held Friday," Chicago Defender, 5/29/1937, p. 5; "Policy Sam shot in card game holdup," Chicago Defender, 12/22/1928; and NKAA entry Negro Gig.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Chicago defender (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Negro Gig: Four, Eleven, Forty-four

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Young, Ada Johnson and Samuel "Policy Sam",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-06-26 18:06:26