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

Boyle County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Boyle County, located in central Kentucky, was formed in 1842 from Lincoln and Mercer Counties. It was named for Judge John Boyle, who was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky where he became a state Legislator, Chief Justice, District Judge, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives. John Boyle died around 1835, prior to the naming of Boyle County. The county seat is Danville.

The first U.S. Census of Boyle County was completed in 1850: 5,693 persons were counted, excluding slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes between 1850 and 1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 612 slave owners
  • 2,968 Black slaves
  • 456 Mulatto slaves
  • 129 free Blacks
  • 189 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 505 slave owners
  • 2,677 Black slaves
  • 2 Colored slaves [1 owned by R. W. Washington, 1 owned by Wm Owsley]
  • 559 Mulatto slaves
  • 192 free Blacks
  • 243 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 2,995 Blacks
  • 657 Mulattoes
  • About 103 U.S. Colored Troops listed Boyle County, KY, as their birth location.
For more, see the Boyle County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; A History of Danville and Boyle County, Kentucky, 1774-1992, by R. C. Brown; History of Mercer and Boyle Counties [Kentucky], by M. T. Daviess; and Boyle County's Black Physicians, by R. C. Brown [thesis]; and Michael J. Denis's rootsweb page with records of African American marriages, free persons and slaves, and an index of death certificates, all pertaining to Boyle County. See also the 2019 .pdf titled "We Were Here," a history of African Americans in Danville and Boyle County, by Michael J. Dennis.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: A History of Danville and Boyle County, Kentucky, 1774-1992
NKAA Source: History of Mercer and Boyle counties [Kentucky]
NKAA Source: Boyle County's black physicians
NKAA Source: We were here: African Americans in Danville and Boyle County, Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Boyle County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-08-04 17:17:16