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

McLean County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880

McLean County, located in western Kentucky, was formed in 1854 from portions of Daviess, Muhlenberg and Ohio Counties. It is bordered by six counties and was named for Alney McLean, a veteran of the Civil War, who was born in North Carolina and served as a Kentucky Representative and in the U.S. Congress. The county seat is Calhoun, which was sometimes spelled Calhoon. The town was initially called Rhoadsville, after Henry Rhoads, who helped plot the town in 1785. The name was later changed to Fort Vienna in 1787, then named Calhoun in 1849 in honor of Congressman John Calhoun. The county population was 5,255 in 1860, according to the U.S. Federal Census; it increased to 9,304 by 1880, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1860-1880.

1860 Slave Schedule
  • 289 slave owners
  • 733 Black slaves
  • 178 Mulatto slaves
  • 1 free Black [John H. Gloster]
  • 1 free Colored [Nancy Moodie]
  • 20 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 692 Blacks
  • 193 Mulattoes
  • About 14 U.S. Colored Troops listed McLean County, KY as their birth location.
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 705 Blacks
  • 1 Mulatto [Lou Pruitt]
For more see McLean County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; McLean County, Kentucky, 1809-1914: African American Marriages, by A. L. McLaughlin; Tax Assessment Books, 1855-1891, McLean County (KY) Clerk; and The Negro Population of Kentucky, by A. L. Coleman and D. I. Kim.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McLean County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Calhoun, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Rhoadsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fort Vienna, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: McLean County Kentucky, 1809-1914 : African American marriages
NKAA Source: Tax assessment books, 1855-1891 (McLean County)
NKAA Source: The Negro population of Kentucky : status and trends, 1970

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“McLean County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 20, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-01-14 02:31:53