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

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

Pulaski County was formed in 1798 from portions of Green and Lincoln Counties. The area was settled by veterans of the American Revolutionary War who named the county for Casimir Pulaski, who was born in Warsaw, Poland and known as the "Father of the American Cavalry." Casimir Pulaski died fighting in the Battle of Savannah in 1779. There are seven counties named Pulaski in the United States. In Kentucky, Somerset became the seat of Pulaski County in 1801, named by settlers from Somerset County, NJ.

The Pulaski County population in 1800 was 3,161, according to the "Second Census" of Kentucky; 2,928 whites, 232 enslaved, and one free colored. The population increased to 15,831 by 1860, according to the U.S. Federal Census. This did not include the enslaved. Below are the number of slave holders, enslaved, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule
  • 269 slave owners
  • 1,193 Black slaves
  • 7 Colored slaves [one owned by John Long and six owned by William Tarter]
  • 105 Mulatto slaves
  • 15 free Blacks [last names Buster, Madnel, Moderal, Simpson, Weaver, and Wellens]
  • 12 free Mulattoes [most with last name Roper, and one Drew, Hays, Keeney, and Simpson]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 285 slave owners
  • 1,150 Black slaves
  • 180 Mulatto slaves
  • 18 free Blacks [most with last names Buster and Moderal]
  • 34 free Mulattoes [most with last names White and Stevens]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 946 Blacks
  • 133 Mulattoes
  • About 33 U.S. Colored Troops listed Pulaski County, KY as their birth location.
For more, see Pulaski County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Free Frank, by J. E. K. Walker; and A History of Pulaski County, Kentucky, by A. O. Tibbals.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pulaski County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Somerset, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Pulaski County (KY) Enslaved, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed February 27, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-30 18:42:35