Pilot Knob, Voting District #3, Simpson County, Kentucky(start date: 1870 - end date: 1890)
This entry is a brief look at the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 in Simpson County, KY. The purpose of the entry is to show some of the challenges in researching and documenting African American populations and voting districts in small farming communities after the American Civil War and during the Reconstruction Period. Pilot Knob District #3 was located in the northwestern region of Simpson County, along the boarder with Logan County, KY.
Within the Pilot Knob community, there is a knob or monadnock and it is the highest elevation (928 feet) in Simpson County. The county was formed in 1819 from portions of Logan and Warren County. There were slaves and a few free colored persons in Simpson County dating back to the earliest settlements. Just prior to the Civil War, there were approximately 2,309 slaves [blacks and mulattoes] and 96 free persons of African descent in Simpson County according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census and the 1860 Slave Schedule. After the Civil War there were 2,051 blacks and mulattoes in Simpson County, and of that number, at least 180 lived in Pilot Knob District #3 as they are listed on the available sheets of the 1870 U.S. Census.
The 180 persons were only a portion of the total Pilot Knob colored population. There was a total of 470 colored persons in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 [source: 9th Census - v.1, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, 1870, p.153, "State of Kentucky, Table III - Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties"].
Before giving a breakdown of Voting District #3, it must be explained that the district was a subset of a much larger pool referred to as Subdistrict #150. The majority (290) of the 470 colored persons previously mentioned lived in Subdistrict #150 and they had been assigned to Voting District #3. They represented a little less than a third of the 1,000 or more colored persons in Subdistrict #150. The remainder of the residents were assigned to magisterial voting precincts numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6.
So, for the year 1870, in the Pilot Knob Voting District, there were 290 colored persons in Subdistrict #150 who had been assigned to vote in District #3, and added to that were the 180 colored persons who lived in the Pilot Knob District #3, and all added together equaled the 470 colored persons counted in the Statistics of the Population. That being the case, the overall total of 470 colored persons in Voting District #3 was the second largest colored population in Simpson County, with only the city of Franklin District #1 having a larger colored population of 567.
The colored populations in the other districts were Lake Spring District #2 - 430; Gum District #4 - 141; Round Pond District #5 - 95; Middleton District #6 - 462. The colored population was fairly evenly split over district numbers 1, 2, 3, and 6. It should also be noted that these districts contained most of the colored men in the county, and the significance of that being that in 1870 African American men were eligible to vote for the first time with the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on February 3, 1870. [Women would get the vote in 1920.]
Over the next ten years, the black [and mulatto] population in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 increased to about 480 according to the 1880 U.S. Census [there are a number of entries crossed out, lined-through, or partially lined-through on the census records]. All are listed as living in Pilot Knob District #3 only on census pages 1-28. The population numbers indicate that the structure of Pilot Knob Voting District #3 lead to an increase in the number of colored persons while the white population included in the same district seemed to have decreased.
The apparent African American population growth is in spite of the fact that there are 2 pages missing (no.s 3-4) from the 18 total census pages for the 1870 U.S. Census of Pilot Knob District #3. Overall, the population in Pilot Knob Voting District #3 was on a downward slide as the 19th Century was coming to a close: population of 1,581 in 1870; 1,341 in 1880; and 1,198 in 1890 [*see sources listed below].
Though, what was taking place in the Pilot Knob Voting District #3 was not indicative of what was taking place in the county as a whole. Between 1870-1890, the Simpson County population continued to increase, and the African American population in Simpson County continued to increase. By the time the 1900 census was taken, the magisterial districts and voting precincts of Simpson County had changed completely and there was no longer a Pilot Knob District #3. The North Franklin region, exclusive of part of Franklin City, became District #3. The other districts were 1. East District, 2. South Franklin, exclusive of part of Franklin City, and 4. West District [source: ** see below].
Within the census records are the individual names of African Americans who lived in what was for a short time one of the largest voting districts in Simpson County, KY. The voting members (males) in the African American households were listed with the occupation of farmer or working on a farm, while the women are listed as keeping house, domestic servant, or no occupation was given. Simpson County had an agrarian economy and produced wheat, corn, oats, and tobacco, and livestock that included horses, mules, cattle, and hogs [source: History of Kentucky by L. Collins].
There were very few African American landowners between 1870 and 1890. Of the African American names listed in the 1870 and 1880 census records for Pilot Knob District #3 and the No.3 Voting Precinct of Subdistrict #150, many of the names have not be found in later census records. The area may have been a temporary stop for families passing through to northern and western locations. It is also highly probable that some died and their death certificates or other mentions of their deaths are no longer available. Some may have changed their names due to marriage and other circumstances, or their names were spelled drastically different in each census record. There is also the possibility that there are individuals who never existed and their names were made up by the census takers (known as "padding the totes").
Below is a random selection of the names of African Americans listed in the 1870 and 1880 Census of the Pilot Knob District and the No.3 Voting Precinct of Subdistrict #150 in Simpson County, KY.
"State of Kentucky, Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties, Table III" on p.153 in Ninth Census - v.1, The Statistics of the Population of the United States, 1870
Population of Civil Divisions Less Than counties, Table III - Kentucky" on p.193 in Statistics of the Population of the United States at the Tenth Census, 1880
"Minor Civil Divisions, Table 5" on p.166 in Report on Population of the United States at the 11th Census: 1890, Part I
"Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1900, Table 5" on p.184 in Census Reports, v.1, 12th Census of the United States taken in Year 1900, Population, Part I
AFRICAN AMERICANS LIVING IN PILOT KNOB DISTRICT #3 and the NO.3 VOTING PRECINCT of SUBDISTRICT #150
SIMPSON COUNTY, KENTUCKY
|NAME/BIRTH YEAR||CENSUS||DISTRICT LOCATION||OCCUPATION||CENSUS||LATER LOCATIONS||OCCUPATION||MARRIED NAME||DEATH|
|Armstrong, John / 1824||1880||Pilot Knob||farming|
|Arnett, Dovy / 1878||1880||Pilot Knob||child|
|Baird (or Beard), Wade / 1815||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1880||Middleton, KY||laborer|
|Blackburn, Clark / 1845||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||works on farm|
|Bland, Toby / 1859||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1920||Bowling Green, KY||laborer||1924 Warren Co., KY|
|Boaz, Sophia / 1850||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||domestic servant|
|Bogan, Morning / 1825||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||servant|
|Bradley, Maria / 1830||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||domestic servant|
|Carter, Columbus / 1870||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||child|
|Crowdus, Henry / 1858||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||domestic servant||1920||Indianapolis, IN||none given|
|Cushenberry, Hayes / 1874||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||child||1940||Bowling Green, KY||(widowed)||1944 Warren Co., KY|
|Davidson, David / 1825||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm|
|Dawson, Nelson / 1854||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||works on farm||1880||Lake Springs, KY||works on railroad||Waren Co., KY|
|Disdale, Gabrella / 1867||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||child||1900||Louisville, KY||none given||Bland|
|Downey, Sallie / 1857||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||domestic servant|
|Ewing, Gilbert / 1856||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||farming|
|Fresh, Emeline (Emily) R. / 1841||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house||1920||Auburn, KY||(widowed)|
|Fuqua, Nelson / 1843||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||laborer||1910||Bowling Green, KY||(widowed)||1916 Warren Co., KY|
|Graham, Henderson / 1855||1870||Subdistrict #150||child||1930||Mound City, KS||Pension Attorney||1937 Mound City, KS|
|Granger, Peter / 1861||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||Laborer||1900||Bowling Green, KY||horse trainer|
|Hampton, Tisha / 1840||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house|
|Holland, William G. / 1842||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1900||Van Buren, AR||farmer|
|Horn, Rebecca / 1840||1870||Subdistrict #150||none given|
|Huskey, Amanda / 1843||1870||Subdistrict #150||none given||1900||Simpson County, KY||(widow)|
|Isbell, Henderson / 1848||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||works on farm||1900||Simpson County, KY||horse trainer|
|Kelley, Marthy / 1852||1870||Subdistrict #150||none given|
|Low, Victoria / 1848||1870||Subdistrict #150||none given||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house|
|Mallony, Richard / 1814||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm|
|Martin, Prince, Sr. / 1821||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||farmer||1900||South Franklin, KY||none given|
|McCutchen, Peter / 1851||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||works on farm|
|McElwain, Sarah / 1830||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house||1900||Hickory Flat, KY||(widow)|
|Petree, Eliza / 1850||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house|
|Ray, Peter / 1820||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1880 Warren Co., KY|
|Sloss, Emma / 1856||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house||1900||Gallatin, TN||washerwoman||1909 Gallatin, TN|
|Smith, Sawyer / 1824||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||farmer||1880||Franklin, KY||farmer|
|Smithson, Harrison / 1846||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1880||Pilot Knob & Franklin, KY
listed twice in census
|Tarrence, Nathan / 1857||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||child||1910||Oak Grove, KY||farmer|
|Taylor, Joshua / 1840||1870||Subdistrict #150||works on farm||1900||Simpson County, KY||farmer||(Civil War Veteran)|
|Tisdale, Fletcher / 1860||1870||Subdistrict #150||child|
|Venable, Andrew J. / 1862||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||laborer|
|Whitesides, Susan / 1840||1880||Pilot Knob, KY||keeping house|
|Woodward, Adam / 1859||1870||Subdistrict #150||child|
|Wright, Josephine / 1845||1870||Pilot Knob, KY||domestic servant|