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

Marrs, Elijah P.

(born: 1840  -  died: 1910) 

Elijah P. Marrs wrote an autobiography of his life as a slave in Shelby County - Life and History of the Rev. Elijah P. Marrs [available on the University of North Carolina University Library's Documenting the American South website]. He was the son of Andrew Marrs, who was free, and Frances Marrs, who was a slave, both from Virginia. Marrs, who learned to read and write, left the plantation to become a Union solider. After the war, he was founder of several churches and the first African American school teacher in Simpsonville. Marrs also taught at the school in Lagrange , New Castle, and the school held in a church in Braxton [Bracktown] in Lexington, KY. Elijah and his brother, J. C. Marrs, are credited as co-founders of Simmons University. After four years, Elijah Marrs sold his interest in the development of the school in 1874. While in Lagrange, KY, Elijah Marrs was the first African American to become president of the Republican Club of Oldham County, and he established the first colored agriculture and mechanical fair for the Simpson and Logan Counties  [source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.116 & p.134]. In New Castle, KY, he established the Loyal League for the Protection of Negroes.  For more see Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith; and Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Simmons College (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis)
NKAA Source: Notable Black American men
NKAA Source: Black higher education in Kentucky, 1879-1930: the history of Simmons University

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Weeden, Henry Clay
NKAA Entry:  Kentucky Colored Fairs
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Henry County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Simpson County, KY

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Marrs, Elijah P.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 28, 2022,

Last modified: 2019-08-26 19:44:06