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

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

Hancock County was formed in 1829 from portions of Ohio, Breckinridge, and Daviess Counties. It is located on the north-western edge of Kentucky along the Ohio River and bordered by three Kentucky counties. Hancock County was named for John Hancock, whose signature is the most flamboyant on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. There are nine other Hancock Counties in the U.S.

The county seat of Hancock County, KY, is Hawesville, named in 1829 for Richard Hawes, who donated the land for the town. Hawes was born in Virginia, was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky, and also served as Governor of Kentucky.

The 1830 population of Hancock County was 190 [heads of households] according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 5,395 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 134 slave owners
  • 590 Black slaves
  • 32 Mulatto slaves
  • 12 free Blacks
  • 1 free Mulatto [Elizabeth Shaw]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 205 slave owners
  • 677 Black slaves
  • 143 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks
  • 10 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 707 Blacks
  • 43 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops listed Hancock County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Hancock County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia; A Social and Educational History of Hancock County, Kentucky by C. A. Clinton; and Hancock County, Kentucky, a Pictorial History by the Tawana Publishing Company.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Hancock County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hawesville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: A Social and educational history of Hancock County, Kentucky
NKAA Source: Hancock County, Kentucky, a pictorial history

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hancock County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 27, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-07-13 19:44:00