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

Gross, Tabbs

(born: 1820  -  died: 1880) Tabbs Gross was the first African American to publish and own a newspaper in Arkansas. The Arkansas Freeman newspaper was published 1869-1870 in Little Rock.

Tabbs Gross was also a lawyer who was admitted to practice law in 1869 by the Arkansas Supreme Court. He ran unsuccessfully for several political offices, including that of Arkansas legislator. He served as vice president of the Liberal Republican state convention in Little Rock in 1869.

Tabbs Gross was active in the Republican Party and fought to gain a higher position within the party. He was outspoken about the party's indifference to its African American members and the needs of African Americans in general.

Gross was a former enslaved person who was born in Germantown, KY. He purchased his freedom and moved to Cincinnati, OH, where he helped other  enslaved people to escape through the Underground Railroad and to get housing.

He served with Company C of the Black Brigade in Cincinnati during the U.S. Civil War. In 1863, he was listed in the city directory as an Intelligence Officer. Gross had been a free man since before the war.

On January 8, 1851, he married Elizabeth Jane Turner in Hamilton, OH.  He moved to Arkansas in 1867 but maintained a residence in Cincinnati, where he returned to practice law starting in 1870.

For more information see the Tabbs Gross webpage at The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture website; "Tabbs Gross" at the Arkansas Black Lawyers website; the 1870 U.S. Census; The State of Ohio, County Marriage Records; p. 24 in The Black Brigade of Cincinnati: being a report of its labors and a muster-roll of its members...; p. 71 in Henderson and Albertson's Little Rock City Directory 1871; and the Cincinnati city directories starting with Williams' Cincinnati Directory, June 1863 through Williams' Cincinnati Directory, June 1879.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mason County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Germantown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gross, Tabbs,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-04-25 15:38:16