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

Robertson County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900

Robertson County, located in north-central Kentucky, was formed in 1867 from portions of Harrison, Mason, Bracken, and Nicholas Counties. One of the last battles in the American Revolutionary War took place in what is now Robertson County in 1782, the Battle of Blue Licks. Robertson County is named for Judge George Robertson, a U.S. Congressman who also served in the Kentucky House, as Kentucky Secretary of State, and in several other positions in Kentucky government. George Robertson was also a slave owner; he filed a lawsuit against William L. Utley during the American Civil War, seeking compensation for the loss of his slave named Adam. The seat of Robertson County is Mt. Olivet, established around 1820, and named for Mt. Olivet in the Bible. Robertson County was formed after slaves in Kentucky were freed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Below are population numbers for Blacks and Mulattoes from 1870-1900.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 136 Blacks
  • 93 Mulattoes
  • At least 3 U.S. Colored Troops listed Robertson County, KY, as their birth location. Jerry Brooks enlisted November 24, 1864; Abraham Norrington enlisted in 1863; and Thomas Thompson enlisted October 13, 1864. [Note: Robertson County, Kentucky was not officially a county until 1867. The birth location of the three troops may be an error, or they many have been born in Robertson County, TN. There is also the possibility that Robertson County, KY, was recognized by the local people before it officially became a county in 1867.]
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 231 Blacks
  • 47 Mulattoes
1900 U.S. Federal Census
  • 130 Blacks
For more, see Robertson County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia; see "Blue Licks" in the History of Nicholas County, compiled and edited by J. W. Conley; and the 1846 Kentucky Legislature Resolution replacing Jack Hart's rifle that was lost in the Battle of Blue Licks, in the Edmund T. Halsey Collection.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Robertson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Mount Olivet, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Adam (slave of Justice G. Robertson)
NKAA Entry: Hart, Jack
NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: History of Nicholas County
NKAA Source: Edmund T. Halsey Collection (archival collection)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Robertson County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 24, 2022,

Last modified: 2017-12-18 22:45:56