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

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

Morgan County, created from Bath and Floyd Counties in 1822, was named for Daniel Morgan, an American Revolutionary War veteran and U.S. Representative for Virginia.

Morgan County is located in east-central Kentucky with West Liberty serving as the county seat. The 1830 county population was 474 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 9,068 by 1860, excluding the enslaved. Below are the number of slave holders, enslaved, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 59 slave owners
  • 187 Black slaves
  • 0 Mulatto slaves
  • 26 free Blacks [last names Collins, Jackson, and Masters]
  • 18 free Mulattoes [most with last name Perkins, one Jones, one Letrel, and one with no last name]

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 53 slave owners
  • 115 Black slaves
  • 55 Mulatto slaves
  • 58 free Blacks [last names Gibson, Gipson, Nickell, Phillips, and Reffet]
  • 23 free Mulattoes [last names Collins and Perkins]

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 21 Blacks
  • 20 Mulattoes
  • About 33 U.S. Colored Troops listed Morgan County, KY as their birth location.

For more see Morgan County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; and Morgan County, Kentucky, Historical, Industrial, Past, Present, Future, by Licking Valley Courier.

The following information was provided by Morgan County, KY historian Ron Gevedon.

  • 1840  Free Colored: 3  -  Enslaved: 61   [Historical Sketches of Kentucky, 1848, p. 152]
  • 1844 Enslaved over 16: 56  /  1845 Enslaved over 16: 49  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1845, pp. 164-165]
  • 1845 106 enslaved total in Morgan County with value of $36,550  /  1846 127 enslaved with value $41,550  /  1845 enslaved over 16: 49  /  1846 enslaved over 16: 62  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1846, pp. 208-209]
  • 1847 Total no. enslaved: 139 with value of $48,425  /  1846 Total no, enslaved: 127 with value $41,550  /  1847 enslaved over 16: 60  /  1846 enslaved over 16: 69  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1847, pp. 208-209]
  • Mr. Harris presented a petition of Thomas B. Keeton of Morgan County, praying for passage of law permitting him to import an enslaved person into this state  [Journal for the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1844, p. 90. 15 Jan. 1845]
  • 1848 157 enlaved with value of $56,115  /  1847 139 enslaved with value of $48,425  /  1848 enslaved over 16: 74  /  1847 enslaved over 16: 66  /  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1848, pp. 210-211]
  • 1849 154 enslaved with value $64,250  /  1849 enslaved over 16: 76  {Kentucky Public Documents, 1849, pp. 218-219]
  • 1851 151 enslaved with value $56,800  /  1850 175 enslaved with value $ 64,250  /  1851 enslaved over 16: 72  /  1850 enslaved over 16: 83  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1851, pp. 267-268]
  • 1853 183 enslaved with value $79,500  /  1852 184 enslaved with value $72,130  /  1853 enslaved over 16: 85  /  1852 enslaved over 16: 84  /  Total Births & Deaths as of 31 Dec. 1852: Births: 5 (2 male, 3 female)  /  Deaths: not listed  /  Total colored population as of 1850 census: 225  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1853, pp. 168-169]
  • 1856 Population: 225  /  Births: 8 (5 male3 female)  /  Deaths: 6 (4 male, 2 female)  [Report to General Assembly, vols. 4-6.1 856, p. 7]
  • 1857 206 enslaved with value $120,647  /  1856 187 enslaved with value $110,899  /  1857 enslaved over 16: 94  /  1856 enslaved over 16: 93  /  Births: 8 (7 male1 female)  /  Deaths: 26 (7 male, 19 female)  /  Average age at death: 18.9 years  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1857, V, pp. 176-177, p.12]
  • 1859 198 enslaved with value $118,825  /  1858 204 with value $116,550  /  1859 slaves over 16: 90  /  1858 enslaved over 16: 91   [Kentucky Public Documents, 1860]
  • 1863 115 enslaved with value $48,150  /  1862 112 enslaved with value $65,250  / 1863 enslavedover 16: 57  / 1862 enslaved over 16: 48  [Kentucky Public Documents, 1864, pp. 182-183, Doc. No. 10]
  • 1867 Negroes over 18: 0  /  1867 children between 6 & 20: 0  /  1866 Negroes over 18: 6  /  1866 children between 6 & 20: 17  [Kentucky Public Documents, vol. 1, 1867, pp. 214-215]

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Morgan County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about West Liberty, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Morgan County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 22, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/2484.

Last modified: 2023-09-01 17:17:00