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

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

Owsley County, located in eastern Kentucky, was formed in 1843 from portions of Breathitt, Clay, and Estill Counties. It is surrounded by five counties and was named for William Owsley, a Kentucky governor who also served in the Kentucky House and Senate, and was Kentucky Secretary of State. The county seat is Booneville, named for Daniel Boone. The 1850 county population was 3,956, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 5,223 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 41 slave owners
  • 114 Black slaves
  • 22 Mulatto slaves
  • 7 free Blacks [last names Orchard, 1 Jenkins, 1 Butcher]
  • 15 free Mulattoes [last names Butcher, Ross, 1 Clark, 1 Ferey, 1 Goosey]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 29 slave owners
  • 77 Black slaves
  • 35 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks [last names Hornsby, 1 Buford]
  • 15 free Mulattoes [last names Goosey, Ross, 2 Norman, 1 Smith, 1 Ward]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 26 Blacks [last names Cawood, Guess, Minter, 1 Pendleton, 1 Ambrose]
  • 17 Mulattoes [last names Cawood, Ross, 3 Ambrose, 1 Bowman, 1 Clark, 1 Minter]
  • At least one U.S. Colored Troop listed Owsley County as his birth location [Allen Jett].
For more see Owsley County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; and Owsley County, Kentucky, and the Perpetuation of Poverty by J. R. Burch.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Owsley County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bonnieville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Owsley County, Kentucky, and the perpetuation of poverty

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Owsley County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-01-10 20:52:32