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

Allensworth, James L., Sr.

(born: 1845  -  died: 1922) 

Reverend James L. Allensworth, Sr. was a pastor, veteran, and respected man; he was also the first African American coroner in Hopkinsville, KY. He owned a single lot of land on Lovier Street, according to the city property tax list for 1893 and 1894. He was manager of the Good Samaritan Association in Hopkinsville, and his son was manager around 1914 [see NKAA entry Colored Lodges - Hopkinsville, KY]. He was editor of The Baptist Monitor newspaper while it was located in Hopkinsville [source: "Papers published by Negroes" in Chapter 13 of A History of Christian County Kentucky by C. M. Meacham]. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1905, he ran for re-election as the county coroner, and his son James Allensworth, Jr. (1872-1927), was named for the position of constable [source: "Nominated for magistrate, and Jim Allensworth, Jr., for constable," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 09/12/1905, p. 1].

James L. Allensworth, Sr. was re-elected as coroner in 1905 and 1909 [source: "Slate went through easy," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 04/27/1909, p. 1]. He was first elected to the position of coroner in 1894 and in 1895 held an inquest into the death of a man who was hit by a train while walking down the tracks [source: "A stranger killed," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 01/22/1895, p. 1]. He is listed among Christian County's first elected Negro officials [see NKAA entry], and he served as the coroner of Hopkinsville until 1920. Rev. Allensworth's duties included cutting down the bodies of lynched persons and burying them, one case being that of "Booker" Brame, who was said to have been lynched by an unknown party [source: "Coroner cuts down body," Springfield Sun, 04/19/1909, p. 1].

Rev. Allensworth was the husband of Gracie McComb Allensworth; they married in May of 1899 [source: "County Corner weds," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 06/02/1899, p. 5]. Gracie McComb Allesnworth is listed on James's military pension record. His previous wife was Minerva Perkins Allensworth. Rev. Allensworth, his wife, and their four children are listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Rev. Allensworth was a Civil War veteran, having served with the 13th Heavy Artillery division of the U.S. Colored Troops. According to his enlistment record, James L. Allensworth, Sr. was born in Christian County, KY, around 1845; he enlisted in Bowling Green, KY, on September 24, 1864. He may have been a slave prior to enlisting in the military; his parents were listed as unknown on his death certificate.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Colored Lodges - Hopkinsville, KY
NKAA Entry: Christian County's First Elected Negro Officials
NKAA Source: Baptist monitor (newspaper)
NKAA Source: A History of Christian county, Kentucky, from oxcart to airplane
NKAA Source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Springfield sun (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Allensworth, James L., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 25, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-05-21 20:56:45