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

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

Franklin County, located in central Kentucky, was formed in 1794 from portions of Mercer, Shelby, and Woodford Counties. It is surrounded by six Kentucky counties and named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Frankfort, the county seat and state capital, is believed to have been named for Stephen Frank, a pioneer killed during an attack by Indians in 1780 at a location on the Kentucky River that became known as Frank's Ford.

The 1800 county population was 5,078, according to the Second Census of Kentucky; 3,687 whites, 1,369 enslaved, and 22 free coloreds. In 1830 there were six African American slave owners in Frankfort. By 1860, the population was 9,270, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the enslaved. Below are the figures for the slave owners, enslaved, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 634 slave owners
  • 2,748 Black slaves
  • 612 Mulatto slaves
  • 248 free Blacks
  • 110 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 598 slave owners
  • 2,553 Black slaves
  • 834 Mulatto slaves
  • 252 free Blacks
  • 197 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 3,647 Blacks
  • 1,048 Mulattoes
  • About 123 U.S. Colored Troops listed Franklin County, KY as their birth location.
For more see the Franklin County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; visit the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA) at Kentucky State University; Capital on the Kentucky, by C. E. Kramer and W. B. Scott; Early Frankfort and Franklin County, Kentucky, by W. R. Jillson; A Brief History of the Colored Churches of Frankfort, Kentucky, by E. E. Underwood; and Community Memories: a glimpse of African American Life in Frankfort, Kentucky, by W. L. Fletcher, et. al.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frank's Ford, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Franklin County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-30 19:02:21