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

Isbell, Louis

(born: 1818) 

Isbell was free born in Kentucky and at the age of 20 moved to Chicago. He participated in Chicago's first recorded sports competition in a race between Isbell, a Native American named White Foot, and a man on a horse; Isbell won the race. According to author Perry Duis, who cited articles in the Chicago Post and the Chicago Democrat, Isbell was the fastest and most popular runner in the Chicago area for ten years. He retired and became a full-time barber after coming in second in a race in 1847 that took place before more than 1,000 spectators. For more see Challenging Chicago: coping with everyday life, 1837-1920, by P. R. Duis, pp. 171-172.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Chicago post (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Chicago democrat (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Challenging Chicago: coping with everyday life, 1837-1920

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Isbell, Louis,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 14, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:31