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

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

Prior to becoming Marion County, the area contained a Roman Catholic settlement with a population from Maryland and was home to the first Roman Catholic church built in Kentucky. Marion County, located in central Kentucky, was formed from a portion of Washington County in 1834. It is surrounded by seven counties and was named for Francis Marion, a veteran of the Revolutionary War who was known for his guerrilla warfare skills. The county seat, Lebanon, was established in 1814 by Benedict Spadling and John Handley and named for the Biblical Lebanon. The 1840 population was 1,449 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and increased to 9,114 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 579 slave owners
  • 2,618 Black slaves
  • 463 Mulatto slaves
  • 54 free Blacks
  • 16 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 628 slave owners
  • 2,845 Black slaves
  • 636 Mulatto slaves
  • 92 free Blacks
  • 18 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 2,700 Blacks
  • 656 Mulattoes
  • About 106 U.S. Colored Troops listed Marion County, Kentucky, as their birth location.

For more see Marion County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; History of Marion County, Kentucky vol. 1, by the Marion County Historical Society; Searching for Jim: Slavery in Sam Clemen's World, by T. Dempsey; and "McGoodwin v. Shelby" in Legal History of the Color Line: the rise and the triumph of the one-drop rule, F. W. Sweet.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Marion County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lebanon, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: History of Marion County, Kentucky. Vol. 1
NKAA Source: Searching for Jim : slavery in Sam Clemens's world
NKAA Source: Legal history of the color line : the rise and triumph of the one-drop rule

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2018-01-16 07:27:45