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

Rowan County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880

Rowan County, in northeastern Kentucky, was formed in 1856 from portions of Fleming and Morgan Counties; it is surrounded by seven counties and named for John Rowan, who served as Kentucky Secretary of State, Kentucky House Member, and U.S. Senator. The county was almost dissolved due to the Rowan County War, 1884-1887, also known as the Martin-Tolliver feud. The county seat, Morehead, was established in 1856 and named for Kentucky Governor James T. Morehead. The 1860 county population was 2,140, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1860-1880.

1860 Slave Schedule
  • 32 slave owners
  • 110 Black slaves
  • 32 Mulatto slaves
  • 1 free Black [Jo Million]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 21 Blacks
  • 24 Mulattoes
  • At least two U.S. Colored Troops listed Rowan County, KY, as their birth location [Mathew Davis and Scipio Torrence].
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 95 Blacks
For more see Rowan County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Rowan County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Morehead, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Rowan County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 29, 2022,

Last modified: 2017-12-07 23:38:10