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

Coe Colony (Cumberland County, KY)

(start date: 1866) 

In 1866, Ezekiel and Patsy Ann Coe purchased land on Coe Ridge, located on the back of Coe Plantation in Cumberland County, KY. Ezekiel (born around 1817 in North Carolina) and Patsy (born around 1825) were of African, Indian, and White lineage and had been slaves. They reclaimed their children, who had been slaves owned by various members of the white Coe family. When brought together, Ezekiel and Patsy's family made up a small, prosperous community, the nucleus of Coe Colony. Added to their numbers were a few other African Americans and white women. White agitators tried to drive the colony out of the area, resulting in murders on both sides and a race feud in 1888. The Coe family remained on the ridge for almost a century, farming and logging prior to the Great Depression. They later took on the business of running moonshine and other activities that brought federal agents and law officers to the area. For more see The saga of Coe Ridge; a study in oral history, by W. L. Montell; KET Productions' Kentucky Life Program 518, The 'Afrilachians'The Chronicles of the Coe Colony, by S. Coe; and L. Montell, "Coe Ridge Colony: a racial island disappears," American Anthropologist, New Series, vol.74, issue 3 (Jun., 1972), pp.710-719.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Cumberland County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Coe Ridge, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Saga of Coe Ridge; a study in oral history
NKAA Source: Kentucky Life Programs
NKAA Source: Chronicles of the Coe Colony
NKAA Source: American anthropologist (periodical)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Coe Colony (Cumberland County, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-01-24 18:10:45