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

Mordecai, Samuel

(born: 1822  -  died: 1901) 

The Mordecai family in St. Louis, MO, was once among the richest African Americans in the city. The family is included in the 1858 pamphlet by Cyprian Clamorgan titled The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis, pp.51-52. The family was led by Samuel Mordecai who was born in Frankfort, KY, around 1821; he was the son of Harry Mordecai, a free Black man. Cyprian Clamorgan estimated in 1858 that Samuel Mordecai, then living is St. Louis, was worth about $100,000. Samuel Mordecai was a businessman, a professional gambler, and a barber. His business, located at Fourth and Pine Streets in St. Louis, was a bathhouse and a dressing saloon. He had been a boatman, working on riverboats, the same as Charles Lyons who was also born in Kentucky and lived in St. Louis. Samuel Mordecai had come to St. Louis in the late 1830s or early 1840s with Montgomery Blair who was a white lawyer. Samuel Mordecai would marry Mary Eagleson on June 8, 1843 [source: Missouri Marriage Records in and Ancestry Library Edition]. The family is listed as free in the 1860 U.S. Census: both parents, three daughters, nephew Louis Clamorgan, and three other young women of whom Fannie Heckly was born in Kentucky. Samuel Mordecai owned $14,000 in real estate and his wife Mary owned $400 in real estate. Everyone in the household is listed as "Mulatto" in the census record. Samuel Mordecai died in St. Louis, MO, on July 17, 1901, and is buried in the Calvary Cemetery [source: City of St. Louis Certificate of Death, No. of Burial Permit 5896; and Archdiocese of St. Louis Catholic Cemeteries Burial database]. For more see J. Winch, "Cyprian Clamorgan and The Colored Aristocracy of St. Louis" in Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, v. 21, Essays in French Colonial History (1997), pp. 249-264; and The Clamorgans: one family's history of race in America by Julie Winch.

Kentucky County & Region

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Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Mordecai, Samuel,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-08-18 19:36:11