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

Bell County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900

Bell County, originally known as Joshua Bell County, was established after the Civil War in southeastern Kentucky on August 1, 1867, created from portions of Harlan and Knox Counties. Bell County is bordered by five Kentucky counties and the Virginia and Tennessee state borders. The county seat is Pineville. Bell County was named for Kentucky Legislator Joshua F. Bell.

The first U.S. Federal Census of Bell County, completed in 1870, reveals a population of 3,731. The county was created after the ratification of the 13th Amendment that freed Kentucky enslaved persons in 1865; below are the number of free Blacks and Mulattoes in Bell County as reported in the 1870-1880, and 1900 Census.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 99 Blacks
  • 11 Mulattoes
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 99 Blacks [the majority of whom were born in Virginia]
  • 76 Mulattoes
1900 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,552 Blacks
  • 256 Colored
  • 2 Mulattoes
For more, see the Bell County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Images of America, Bell County by T. Cornett; and History of Bell County, Kentucky, by H. H. Fuson.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Pineville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Bell County
NKAA Source: History of Bell County, Kentucky

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Bell County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-01-10 20:49:32