From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)
Ned Modrell2.jpg
Ned Modrell.jpg

Modrell, Ned

(born: 1810  -  died: 1892) The following information on Ned Modrell was submitted by Richard Curtis from Nashville, TN.

"In her book, Old Burnside, Harriett Simpson Arnow states that the lumber industry in the area became famous when a record size poplar tree won the 1893 Chicago World's fair. The tree had come from Pumpkin Hollow. There was a steam sawmill on the Cumberland River at Pumpkin Hollow on 10 acres of land that Ned Modrell had sold the mill company in 1857. Ned Modrell was a former slave who had purchased his freedom in 1847 and went on to own up to 500 acres in Pumpkin Hollow. His first land there was acquired in 1847 by joint land grant with Alex Colyer. Ned Modrell passed away in Pulaski County 1892. Ned’s son moved to Mt Vernon, KY and his daughter became a schoolteacher in Louisville.

The slave owning Modrell family migrated to Missouri in the 1850’s and sold Ned his freedom, not taking him to Missouri.   Ned bought land in the area where the Modrell’s had had land. The Modrell family appeares to have come to Pulaski County on a Revolutionary War land grant and they held various offices in the early days of Pulaski County."


1. Copy of map provided by Richard Curtis.

2. Patent #: 09802
Grantee: Colyer, Alexander & Modrell, Ned
Grant Book & Pg: 20 220
Acreage: 100
County: Pulaski
Water Course: Cumberland R.
Survey Name: Colyer, Alexander & Modrell, Ned
Survey Date: 04/29/1846
Grant Date: 07/01/1847

3. Copy of property deed entry provided by Richard Curtis. The original property deed book is located in the Pulaski County Clerk's office.

4. Joint land patent holder who was slave


Pulaski County Deeds, v. 13:530

Know all men by these presents that I John Moodrill of Buckhanan Co Missouri for and in consideration of the sum of $600 paid to me by my Negro man Ned (a slave) the receipt whereof I hereby acknowledge (I) emancipate and set free forever the said Ned who is a black man about 28 years of age weighs about 150 pounds and is about 5'10" high ... from this date of deed to be absolutely free to act for himself as if free born and I do hereby release all claims th the said Ned and invest him with all the rights and freedom that I can vest lawfully ...this 25th day of August 1847 John Modrell by James Gilmore. Wit by LD Cowan, James Frazier Wm M Fox. Presented in court and proven by witnesses to be the act of James Gilmore attorney in fact for John Modrell [Father of Ned Modrell = Jack Modrell ??]


Pulaski County Deeds, v. 10:346

Know all men by these presents that I Robert N(?)odrel of Pulaski Co Kentucky do ... forever set at liberty set free and emancipate my negro man called Jack aged about thirty nine years, said negro is of dark color about 5'8" or 9" high and is forever hereafter to be free from my control and is in all respects a free man. . . . this 17th day of September 1839 signed. Presented at county court 17 September 1839


Ned Modrell and his family members' last names are spelled various ways in the U.S. Census. In the 1850 Census, the last name is spelled Moderal. Ned Modrell is enumerated in the 1860 Census as a single man with the occupation of farmer, and his race is not indicated. In the 1880 Census, Ned is a widower. Ned's last name is spelled Moddrell on his Administrator's Bond (Probate Record), p.143, October 17, 1892.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pulaski County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Rockcastle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Pumpkin Hollow, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mount Vernon, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Pulaski County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
NKAA Source: Old Burnside

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Modrell, Ned,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 27, 2021,

Last modified: 2018-12-03 21:38:32