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

Breathitt County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Breathitt County, located in eastern Kentucky in the Cumberland Plateau, is surrounded by eight Kentucky counties, having been formed in 1839 from Clay, Perry, and Estill Counties. Breathitt County was named for Kentucky Governor John Breathitt. Jackson is the county seat.

The population was 359 in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census [heads of households], and grew to 5,673 by 1870, excluding the enslaved. Below are the number of slave owners, enslaved, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 46 slave owners
  • 118 Black slaves
  • 51 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks
  • 8 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 46 slave owners
  • 115 Black slaves
  • 75 Mulatto slaves
  • 7 free Blacks
  • 19 free Mulattoes [last names Freeman and Smith]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 75 Blacks
  • 103 Mulattoes
  • At least two U.S. Colored Troops listed Breathitt County, KY as their birth location [Henson Calamees and Robert Chanler].
For more see the entry for Breathitt County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Breathitt County, Kentucky, by J. E. Munson [thesis]; and History of Breathitt County, Kentucky, by D. Wullschleger [thesis]. See the "U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865" and other military service records in Ancestry for names and additonal information.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Breathitt County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Jackson, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Breathitt County, Kentucky (thesis)
NKAA Source: History of Breathitt County, Kentucky (thesis)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Breathitt County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-17 18:50:48