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

Botts, Henry [Bason]

(born: 1859  -  died: 1946) Henry Botts owned the first funeral home for African Americans in Montgomery County, KY, according to the Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, pp. 12-13. Henry Botts was a city councilman in Mt. Sterling, KY, in 1902, the year his wife, Sarah Davis Botts, died [source: "Deaths," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 11/26/1902, p. 7]. The couple had married in 1897, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, and both had children from their previous marriages: Henry's children, George Anne Botts, 14, and Callie May Botts, 9; and Sarah's daughter, Roberta Hammons, 6, and the son she had by Henry, Gunoa Hensley Botts, 2. Sarah Botts was buried in Olive Hill Cemetery in Mt. Sterling. She had been a school teacher in Bath, Bourbon, Clark, and Montgomery Counties, KY. Henry Botts next married Emma Oldham Botts, and they had a daughter named Fannie [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census].

Henry Botts was a politician and a businessman. He and Peter Hensley were owners of the Montgomery Grocery Company [source: second notice under "Holiday presents," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1901, p. 7]. In 1905, Henry Botts was selected to be the Montgomery County Coroner Republican candidate at the Montgomery County Republicans Convention; the selection was not well received by some in Montgomery County and nearby counties, and Botts declined the position, but his name remained on the straight ticket [source: articles in The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/30/1905 - "Republicans in convention," p. 2, "Notice," p. 3, and "The Negro and politics," 09/20/1905, p. 2].

By 1913, Henry Botts was one of two African American City Council members in Mt. Sterling, the other being Sanford Juett, who retired and was replaced by E. W. Stockton, also an African American [source: "Winchester's hysteria," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1913, p. 8]. Botts and Stockton were councilmen of the third ward. Henry Botts retired as a councilman in 1919 [source: "Retired councilmen," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/22/1919, p. 17]. In 1914, Henry Botts had been one of the men from the Keas Tabernacle C.M.E. Church to sign his name to a letter to the editor of the Mt. Sterling Advocate in an attempt to keep the peace between the races; there had supposedly been an earlier letter written by a colored person threatening harm to Mt. Sterling police in retaliation for the mistreatment of colored persons by members of the police force [source: "A letter from colored citizens," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 01/28/1914, p. 8].

By 1922, Henry Botts was having health problems and had to have one of his legs amputated below the knee [source: "A Correction," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 05/12/1921, p. 4]. The following year he was an elections officer while serving as an elections judge of the 3rd ward in Mt. Sterling [source: "Election officers," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/03/1992, p. 1]. According to his Kentucky death certificate (#27217), Henry Botts was born in Bath County, KY, on February 26, 1859, the son of Caroline Botts and Joseph Sunthimer. Henry Botts died December 19, 1946. Henry's mother, Caroline Botts, born around 1825 in Kentucky, was a free mulatto woman living in Bath County in 1850, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and she is listed in the 1870 Census with a son Henry's age, but with the name Bason [or Boson] Botts.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bath County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Montgomery County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bourbon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Clay County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Mt. Sterling, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Montgomery County, Kentucky bicentennial, 1774-1974
NKAA Source: The Mt. Sterling advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: Hensley, Peter Lee
NKAA Entry: Keas, Samuel G.

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Botts, Henry [Bason],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-11-21 00:02:41