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

Postell, Peter, Sr. [Peter Glass]

(born: 1841  -  died: 1901) 

Postell (spelled Postel in some sources) was a former enslaved man born in South Carolina, according to census records. He owned a merchant business in Hopkinsville, KY and was considered quite wealthy,  often referred to as "The Richest Negro in the South." His estate was valued at $500,000.

During enslavement, Postell had the name Peter Glass. He was brought to Kentucky from North Carolina and later escaped and joined the Union Army during the Civil War, serving with the 16th U.S. Colored Infantry; according to his military service record he was in the brass band.

Postell had enlisted in Clarksville, TN in January 1864 and North Carolina was listed as his birth state. He returned to Kentucky after the war and opened a grocery store in Hopkinsville. (He is listed in the 1870 U.S Federal Census as Peter Postell.)

Peter Postell was the husband of Pauline Buckner Postell (b. 1851 in Christian County, KY). [Her father was born in S.C.] Peter was the son of Mrs. C. Kirkpatrick, born around 1819 in South Carolina. According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the Postell household consisted of Peter, his wife and four children, his mother, her husband and their son, and a boarder. Peter and Pauline Postell had several more children before Peter died in 1901.

For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings at the the Documenting the American South website; "A Rich Negro," The Adair County News, 8/21/1901, p. 1; and "Death of a wealthy Negro," New York Times, 5/23/1901, p. 1.

*Pauline and Peter Postell, Sr. were the parents of Peter Postell, Jr., who owned a pool hall in Hopkinsville  around 1912.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Adair County news (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Christian County, KY
NKAA Entry: Pool Halls and Employees, Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Postell, Peter, Sr. [Peter Glass],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-19 16:25:32