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

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

Henderson County, established in 1798 from a portion of Christian County, is located in western Kentucky, bordered by the Ohio River and four Kentucky counties. It is named for Richard Henderson, a lawyer and judge from Virginia and founder of the Transylvania Company. The company purchased millions of acres of land (in Kentucky and Tennessee) from the Native Americans, which was in violation of the Royal Proclamation of 1763; therefore, the sale was void. In compensation for the Tranylvania Company's losses, the Virginia House of Delegates gave the company members 200,000 acres of land on the Ohio River (present day Henderson County, KY). The settlement of Red Banks would later become the county seat and renamed Henderson. The 1800 county population was 1,468, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 1,076 whites, 390 slaves, and 2 free coloreds. In 1830 there was one free African American slave owner in Henderson County. By 1860, the population was 8,495, excluding the slaves, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 677 slave owners
  • 3,988 Black slaves
  • 407 Mulatto slaves
  • 53 free Blacks [many with the last name Pointer]
  • 68 free Mulattoes [many with the last names Hamilton, Drew, Fisher, and Bradley]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 993 slave owners
  • 5,046 Black slaves
  • 726 Mulatto slaves
  • 38 free Blacks [many with the last names Painter and Fisher]
  • 37 free Mulattoes [many with the last names Painter, Fisher, and Piner]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 4,526 Blacks
  • 1,478 Mulattoes
  • About 168 U.S. Colored Soldiers listed Henderson County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Henderson County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; History of Henderson County, Kentucky, by E. L. Starling [available at Google Books]; The Annals and Scandals of Henderson County, Kentucky, 1775-1995, by M. Arnett; and Henderson Kentucky Black Births of the City, 1896-1910, by the Henderson County Historical Society.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Henderson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Red Banks, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Henderson, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Slave Owners in Kentucky
NKAA Source: "Second census" of Kentucky, 1800; a privately compiled and published enumeration of tax payers appearing in the 79 manuscript volumes extant of tax lists of the 42 counties of Kentucky in existence in 1800
NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Annals and scandals of Henderson County, Kentucky, 1775-1975
NKAA Source: Henderson Kentucky black births of the city, 1896-1910

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Henderson County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 24, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-07-10 19:46:43