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

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

Pike County, located in far eastern Kentucky, is bordered by four Kentucky counties, the Virginia state line and the West Virginia state line. Pike County was formed in 1821 and is named for Zebulon M. Pike, an explorer; Pikes Peak is also named in his honor. Pike County is one of the major coal producing counties in the United States. The county seat is Pikeville, founded in 1823 and also named for Zebulon M. Pike. The county population was 433 [heads of households] in 1830, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 7,325 by 1860, excluding slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 29 slave owners
  • 44 Black slaves
  • 58 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks [2 with last name Polly, 1 Campbell]
  • 15 free Mulattoes [most with last name White, 4 Dottan, 1 Huffman, 1 Rutherford]

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 29 slave owners
  • 37 Black slaves
  • 60 Mulatto slaves
  • 5 free Blacks [all with last name Polly]
  • 35 free Mulattoes [last names Collins, Polly, Slone, and White]

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 64 Blacks
  • 32 Mulattoes
  • At least 7 U.S. Colored Troops listed Pike County as their birthplace.

For more see Pike County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, by J. E. Kleber; Curriculum Resources: African American History in Pike County, with Emphasis on the Historical African American Section of Dils Cemetery, by M. F. Sohn and K. K. Sohn; and "The saga of the Polly family..." in The Black Laws: race and the legal process in early Ohio, by S. Middleton. See the photo image of the Negro School in Pikeville in the Kentucky Digital Library - Images.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pike County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Pikeville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Curriculum resources: African American history in Pike County, Kentucky, with emphasis on the historical African American section of the Dils Cemetery
NKAA Source: The Black laws: race and the legal process in early Ohio

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Pike County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2022,

Last modified: 2017-12-18 22:48:53