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

Madison (Chinn Slave)

(died: 1860) The following information comes from the article "Madison, the bell ringer" by Neva Williams in the Harrodsburg Herald, published the week of February 21-28, 1991. A copy of the article was provided by the Harrodsburg Historical Society (Marilyn B. Allen). Madison, the slave and servant of Christopher Chinn, was the first African American buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, KY. Prior to his death in 1860, Madison had been the janitor and bell ringer at the Methodist Church for whites. He rang the bell before church services and he rang it when members of the church died. Chinn wanted Madison's funeral services to be held at the Methodist Church, but many of the members objected. Madison's funeral was held at the African Methodist Church with Rev. George L. Gould, from the white church, conducting the services. The funeral took place on September 3, 1860 and the bell at the Methodist Church was rang to note the death of Madison. Though there was opposition, Madison was buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery within the lot owned by Christopher Chinn. According to the article by Neva Williams, an ordinance was passed by city trustees that prohibited the burial of other African Americans in Spring Hill Cemetery. Christopher Chinn was wealthy, a trustee at the Methodist Church, and in 1860, he was 69 years old and a county judge according to the U. S. Federal Census. He died January 9, 1868. For more information, see a copy of the funeral notices that Christopher Chinn had printed announcing the services and burial of Madison, the notice is at the Harrodsburg Historical Society.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Mercer County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Harrodsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Harrodsburg herald (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Madison (Chinn Slave),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 1, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-01-22 21:31:38