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

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

Union County, in western Kentucky, was formed in 1811 from a portion of Henderson County. It is bordered by three counties and the Ohio River. Morganfield, the county seat, was established in 1812 on land acquired from the heirs of Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Morgan. The 1820 Union County population was 383 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 9,686 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 484 slave owners
  • 1,915 Black slaves
  • 377 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks [5 with no last name, 5 Dickson, 1 Acliff, 2 Waller]
  • 4 free Mulattoes [last names Acliff, Henson, Kirkendall, and Roberts]

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 539 slave owners
  • 2,893 Black slaves
  • 180 Mulatto slaves
  • 20 free Blacks
  • 0 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 2,001 Blacks
  • 462 Mulattoes
  • About 177 U.S. Colored Troops listed Union County, KY, as their birth location.

For more information, see Union County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Slavery On the Edge of Freedom, by J. M. Crate (thesis); Sturgis and Clay: showdown for desegregation in Kentucky education, by J. M. Trowbridge and J. Lemay; and Freedom on the Border, by C. Fosl and T. E. K'Meyer.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Union County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Morganfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Kentucky encyclopedia
NKAA Source: Slavery on the edge of freedom : the lower Ohio River Valley in the antebellum and Civil War era (dissertation)
NKAA Source: Sturgis and Clay : showdown for desegregation in Kentucky education
NKAA Source: Freedom on the border : an oral history of the civil rights movement in Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Union County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 30, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-11-30 23:44:40