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

Letcher County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870

Letcher County is located in southeastern Kentucky on the West Virginia border, adjoining four Kentucky counties. Formed in 1842 from portions of Perry and Harlan Counties, it was named for Governor Robert P. Letcher, a Kentucky Representative who also served as Speaker of the House, s well as a U.S. Representative. The county seat of Letcher County is Whitesburg, named in 1842 for John D. White, a Kentucky Representative and U.S. Senator. According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, the Letcher County population was 2,450, increasing to 4,608 by 1870, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 21 slave owners
  • 51 Black slaves
  • 11 Mulatto slaves
  • 0 free Blacks
  • 9 free Mulattoes [most with last name Moore]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 29 slave owners
  • 87 Black slaves
  • 21 Mulatto slaves
  • 2 free Blacks [Lucinda Banks and Henry Williams]
  • 5 free Mulattoes [most with last name Moore]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 110 Blacks
  • 13 Mulattoes
  • 1 U.S. Colored Troop listed Letcher County, KY, as his birth location. [William McKinnevan]
For more see the Letcher County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Letcher County, Kentucky, by W. T. Cornett; Blacks in Appalachia, by W. H. Turner and E. J. Cabbell. See the "U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865" and other military service records in Ancestry for names and additonal information.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Letcher County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Whitesburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Letcher County, Kentucky; a brief history
NKAA Source: Blacks in Appalachia
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Letcher County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-22 14:21:57