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

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

Union County, located in western Kentucky, was formed in 1811 from a portion of Henderson County. It is bordered by three counties and the Ohio River. The county seat, Morganfield, was established in 1812 on land acquired from the heirs of Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Morgan. The 1820 Union County population was 383 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 9,686 by 1860, excluding the enslaved. Below are the number of slave holders, enslaved, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 484 slave owners
  • 1,915 Black slaves
  • 377 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks [5 with no last name, 5 Dickson, 1 Acliff, 2 Waller]
  • 4 free Mulattoes [last names Acliff, Henson, Kirkendall, and Roberts]

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 539 slave owners
  • 2,893 Black slaves
  • 180 Mulatto slaves
  • 20 free Blacks
  • 0 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 2,001 Blacks
  • 462 Mulattoes
  • About 177 U.S. Colored Troops listed Union County, KY as their birth location.

For more information, see Union County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Slavery On the Edge of Freedom, by J. M. Crate (thesis); Sturgis and Clay: showdown for desegregation in Kentucky education, by J. M. Trowbridge and J. Lemay; and Freedom on the Border, by C. Fosl and T. E. K'Meyer.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Union County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Morganfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Union County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-23 17:02:13