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

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

Kenton County, located in northern Kentucky along the Ohio River, was formed in 1840 from a portion of Campbell County. Surrounded by three other Kentucky counties, it was named for frontiersman Simon Kenton, a friend of Daniel Boone and a veteran of the Indian Wars and the War of 1812.

There are two county seats in Kenton County:  Independence and Covington. Independence was incorporated in 1842; the name is in reference to Kenton County being separated from Campbell County. Covington (originally known as Point) was established in 1815 and named for Leonard Wales Covington, who was killed during the War of 1812. Covington was the second largest city in Kentucky in 1850 and had served as the unofficial county seat until Independence was established in 1842. As Covington continued to grow, it became the center for county business and court matters, and in 1860 the Kentucky Legislature made Covington the second county seat.

The 1840 county population was 1,303 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and it grew to 24,861 by 1860, excluding the enslaved. Below are the numbers for the enslaved, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 298 slave holders
  • 721 Black enslaved
  • 109 Mulatto enslaved
  • 61 free Blacks
  • 14 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 212 slave holders
  • 451 Black enslaved
  • 116 Mulatto enslaved
  • 58 free Blacks
  • 27 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,224 Blacks
  • 358 Mulattoes
  • About 27 U.S. Colored Soldiers listed Kenton County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Kenton County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; African-American Residents of Kenton County, Kentucky, transcribed by T. H. H. Harris; History of Kenton County, Kentucky, in the World War, 1917-1919, by S. D. Rouse; The Evolution of Covington's Black Residential Pattern, 1860-1980, by E. T. Weiss; and A Comparative Study of the Educational Effectiveness of the White and Negro Schools of Covington, Kentucky, by W. F. Hargraves.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Independence, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Point, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2023-07-28 16:29:24