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

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

Carter County is located in northeastern Kentucky where it is surrounded by six Kentucky counties. It was formed in 1838 from parts of Greenup and Lawrence Counties.

Both the county and the county seat, Grayson, were named for William Grayson Carter, a Kentucky Senator from 1834 to 1838. Senator Carter had been awarded 70,000 acres in the Carter County area for his service in the American Revolution.

The county population was 364 [heads of households] according to the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, and it increased to 8,207 by 1860, excluding slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 60 slave owners
  • 190 Black slaves
  • 67 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks
  • 11 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 63 slave owners
  • 218 Black slaves
  • 92 Mulatto slaves
  • 22 free Blacks [most with last names Bell, Black, and Garner]
  • 15 free Mulattoes [all with last name Nickell]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 99 Blacks
  • 1 Mulatto
  • About 11 U.S. Colored Troops listed Carter County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Carter County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Carter County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Grayson, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Carter County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 4, 2023,

Last modified: 2023-01-10 20:01:02