Legal Status of Slaves in Early Kentucky (court cases)
Within the first constitution of Kentucky (1792) are laws that were enforced in the state of Virginia, one being the Virginia acts of 1705 and 1727 that recognized the enslaved as real estate [source: Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, edited by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall, vol. 1, Cases from the courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, 1926, pp. 269-469]. Both acts would eventually be repealed and enslaved persons deemed "chattels personal." Thus, the enslaved would no longer be considered as stationary property like land, but instead regarded as personal property that was moveable like furniture and domestic animals.
There would be many court cases that would further shape the laws in reference to the status of the slaved and freed persons in Kentucky. Contained within Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, edited by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall, vol. 1, are Kentucky cases dating from 1795-1875. The cases may, however, be in reference to incidents that took place before 1795, such as the case of Cook v. Wilson, Litt. Sel. Cas. 437, December 1821, in reference to the fulfillment of military payment in the enslaved confiscated during the American Revolutionary War [p. 299].