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

Marshall County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Marshall County, located in far western Kentucky and created in 1842, was part of Hickman County, and later it was the northern part of Calloway County. Prior to that, the land belonged to the Chickasaw Indians, and was bought as part of the Jackson Purchase. Marshall County is surrounded by six counties and was named for U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall. In 1842, Benton was named the county seat in honor of Thomas H. Benton, a U.S Senator from Missouri, who was born in North Carolina. The 1850 county population was 5,020, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and it increased to 6,635 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 86 slave owners
  • 204 Black slaves
  • 45 Mulatto slaves
  • 15 free Blacks [most with last name Davis, 3 Whitesides, 1 Grear, 1 Oglevey, 1 Still]
  • 4 free Mulattoes [2 Davis, 1 Grear, 1 Whitesides]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 125 slave owners
  • 275 Black slaves
  • 80 Mulatto slaves
  • 18 free Blacks
  • 17 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 282 Blacks
  • 86 Mulattoes
  • About 19 U.S. Colored Troops listed Marshall County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Marshall County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; History of Marshall County, Kentucky, with illustrations and biographical sketches by Marshall County Genealogical Society; Tax Assessment Books 1843-1892 from Marshall County (KY) County Clerk; Oral History Interview with William Pryor.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Marshall County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Benton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: History of Marshall County, Kentucky, with illustrations and biographical sketches
NKAA Source: Tax assessment books, 1843-1892 (Marshall County)
NKAA Source: Oral history interview with William Pryor

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Marshall County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 27, 2021,

Last modified: 2018-01-14 04:52:25