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

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

Hardin County, KY, created in 1792 from a portion of Nelson County, is located on the Ohio River, bordered by seven Kentucky counties. It was named for John Hardin from Virginia, who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War. There are six states with a county named Hardin.

The county seat of Hardin County, KY is Elizabethtown, which was originally named Severn's Valley Settlement for early explorer John Severns. The name was changed to Elizabethtown in 1797 for Elizabeth Hynes; her husband Andrew Hynes had provided the land for the county buildings.

The 1800 county population was 3,653, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 3,317 whites, 325 enslaved, 11 free coloreds. The population increased to 12,660 by 1860, according to the U.S. Federal Census, not including the enslaved. Below are the number of slave holders, enslaved, free Blacks, and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 593 slave owners
  • 1,993 Black slaves
  • 615 Mulatto slaves
  • 33 free Blacks [many with the last name Kelly]
  • 10 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 589 slave owners
  • 1,815 Black slaves
  • 818 Mulatto slaves
  • 21 free Blacks [many with the last name Kelly]
  • 13 free Mulattoes [Goodin, Moton, Sheckles, one Caloway, one Spurrier]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,653 Blacks
  • 607 Mulattoes
  • About 35 U.S. Colored Troops listed Hardin County, KY as their birth location.
For more see the Hardin County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Lincoln of Kentucky, by L. H. Harrison; Two Centuries in Elizabethtown and Hardin County, Kentucky, by D. E. McClure; and Kentucky Life #905, Emma Reno Connor Black History Gallery.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Hardin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Severn's Valley Settlement, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Elizabethtown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hardin County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-30 18:34:16