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

Kavanaugh, Nelson

Nelson Kavanaugh was a freed slave from Richmond, KY, who made his way to Texas in 1837 and settled in Houston. He was one of the many barbers in the Republic of Texas; barbering ranked second to farming as an occupation for freemen. For some residents, there were too many freemen and there was fear of an uprising by the freemen, aided by abolitionists. A law was enacted that required all freemen to leave Texas. Kavanaugh appealed to the Texas Congress that he be allowed to remain in the Republic of Texas. No action was taken by Congress and Kavanaugh left the area sometime after 1846 when he appeared on the Washington County, Republic of Texas Tax List, and the Poll List. For more see the Black Studies Research Sources: Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks - Series 1: Petitions to Southern Legislatures, 1777-1867, Reel 15; H. Schoen, "The Free Negro in the Republic of Texas," Chapter IV, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 41, issue 1 [Online]; A. F. Muir, "The Free Negro in Harris County, Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 46, issue 3; and "Memorial of Nelson Kavanaugh" in the Texas State Library.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Madison County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Richmond, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Race, slavery, and free Blacks Series I, Petitions to southern legislatures, 1777-1867
NKAA Source: Southwestern historical quarterly (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Logan, Greenbury

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Kavanaugh, Nelson,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 30, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-05-22 18:17:29