Scott County [Kentucky] African American VillagesThis entry was written and submitted by Willa Relford Gentry (received via Facebook Messenger on April 9, 2022).
Scott County African American Villages
Due to segregation, discrimination, and other factors, shortly after the end of enslaverment small African American villages sprang up in Central Kentucky and the Southern States. Most of them, by necessity, were both socially and economically self-sufficient. They usually had a dry goods store, lodge, school, and church. The families grew their own vegetables and raised their own livestock such as pigs, milk cows, and chickens to feed their families.
In Scott County, African American villages like Boston, New Zion, and Zion Hill still exist, while others like Boydtown, Clabberbottom, Pea Ridge, and Watkinsville have only one or two families who are descendants of the village and are still living in the area. Others like Flintroy, and Kelly Town, have been swallowed up by the city of Georgetown. Still others like Blackburn Town, Blacktown, Carter Town, Crane Town, Hummingtown, Josephine, Pension, Stonetown, and White Sulfa no longer exist.
All of these villages have similar stories and histories. It is our duty to tell their story. By telling their story, future generations will know what made us the people we are today and who we will be in the future.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” generations come to depend on it.
1. Blackburn town [Blackburntown]
2. Blacktown - (Go down Happy Lane off Cynthiana Road.)
4. Boydtown [Boydville]
5. Cartertown [Carditown]
6. Clabberbottom - Located on Clabberbottom Lane. In the early days, the village had its own school, church, and cemetery. Originally called Pleasant Point, according to local folklore, the village got its name because it was located about four miles from Georgetown and four miles from New Zion. Villagers would go to New Zion or Georgetown to get milk, but by the time they got home with the milk the milk had clabbered. Thus the name of the village became Clabberbottom.
7. Crane town [Cranetown]
8. Davis Court
9. Duval Station
10. Flintroy - (Inner city, Georgetown) Flintroy Street off of Bourbon Street.
11. Great Crossing -When the enslaved in this area were freed, they formed a small village near the plantation where they could walk to work.
12. Hummingtown [Hummington] - (Yarleton Road & Iron Works).
13. Josephine - (Between Stamping Ground and Sadieville).
14. Kelly Town [Kellytown] - (Inner city Georgetown), Kelly Street.
15. New Zion - According to the 1870 Scott County Census, the African American village of Briar Hill was populated by 165 former enslaved people with fifty others living on and owning farms nearby. According to a deed in the Scott County Courthouse, former enslaved Primus Keene and Calvin Hamilton purchased 23 acres of land on November 23, 1872 from a prominent white hemp grower and livestock farmer for a total of $2,172.68. Mr. Hamilton brought the southern 16 acres for $1,345.68, and Keene brought the adjoining acres for $827.00. Both men sold lots to other former enslaved people, forming the village of Briar Hill (later named New Zion). Through oral histories, it is believed that the village was settled as early as 1868. Hamilton sold lots to residents for the building of homes, and Keene donated part of his purchase to the village for construction of a well, church, lodge, and school. New Zion is located on Newtown Pike on the Scott/Fayette County line.
16. Pea Ridge - One of the oldest families in the Watkinsville and Pea Ridge area was Isaac Boots'. He bought about ten acres of land across from Coghill General Store on the corner of Pea Ridge and Woodlake Road. Boots was a carpenter, farmer, hunter, and fisherman. He built his own home and outbuildings, tilled his land, and raised his food, including an orchard of various fruit trees. Isaac was a tall copper-colored man who wore his hair in two long braids and was very independent. Some would have considered him eccentric; he didn’t believe in borrowing or lending. --Josephine Bell
17. Pension - Located near Clabberbottom. According to one of the elders, Pension got its name because everyone who lived there received a pension check.
18. Stonetown - In the late 1700s, enslaved people were brought to the area with their holders as part of a ‘traveling church’ from Virginia. In 1877 many of the former enslaved moved west to newly settled Nicodemus, KS. The former enslaved people who remained in this area purchased land that formed the village of Stonetown. The village had its own school and two churches.
19. Watkinsville -Shortly after the Civil War, Lee Watkins sold 35 acres of land to Black people. The land was three miles west of Stamping Ground on Woodlake Pike near the Franklin County line. The Black people named the village Watkinsville. About 1878 Rev. Isaac Coleman, a native of the village, and Rev. Robert Martin of First Baptist Church of Frankfort organized the Watkinsville Baptist Church. --Josephine Bell
20. White Sulphur [White Sulfa] - Located on Work Road near Old Frankfort Pike, the village was home to Zebulah Baptist Church, which was organized in January 1871. The village had its own school and cemetery as well as the church. Although the village no longer exists, the old cemetery remains. Some of the families buried in the old cemetery are Joe Coleman; William Wallace Relford; Will, Fannie and Clara Bell; H. Frances McIntyre; Taylor Madison, Sr.; Taylor Madison, Jr.; J. and Emma Barnes; Catherine and Jackson Bonds; and Georgia and John Rogers.
21. Zion Hill - See NKAA Entry.
To find additional information about the people, schools, churches, and other activities in the communities listed above, search Kentucky newspapers in the following databases and locations:
1. Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program
2. Chronicling America
3. Newspapers.com ($)
5. For a few of the communities, there will be founding and ending dates, post office locations, and other information in Kentucky Place Names, by Robert M. Rennick.
Alternate name spellings for some of the communities are in backets in the communities listed above. Try all spelling options when searching within newspapers and other sources.