Ballard County, Kentucky
Free Black and Mulatto Residents

Prior to the Civil War

  Ballard County, KY was formed in 1842, from portions of northern Hickman County, KY and portions of eastern McCracken County, KY.   Ballard County is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River and on the north by the Ohio River.  In 1886, Ballard County was further divided to create Carlisle County, KY out of the southern portion of Ballard County.

In 1850 there were 11,650 residents living in Ballard County, KY. There were 850 Slaves, 195 of the Slaves, one fourth, are listed as Mulatto.  There were 25 residents who were listed as Free Persons of Color:  four Free Black males, two Free Black females, 9 Free Mulatto females, and 10 Free Mulatto males.  None of these Free people, over the age of 20, could read or write.

The Free African American residents, except for two, were all listed on pages 304 A and B at the end of the Ballard County Census record.   They were living in seven households as follows:

1.        Dwelling 1760
HOWARD, Edman 30, male, Mulatto, farmer, born Virginia

2.        Dwelling 1761
HOWARD, James 60, male, Black, farmer, born Virginia

3.        Dwelling 1764
SMITH, David 44, male, Mulatto, farmer, born Tennessee
               Hester 48, female, Mulatto, born Tennessee
ASHLEY, Sarah 8, female, Mulatto, born Kentucky

4.        Dwelling 1764
SAMS, Lewis 66, male, Black, farmer, Real Estate value $300, born Virginia
             Tena 66, female, Black, born Virginia
            Polly 22, female, Black, born Kentucky
The SAMS children, all Mulatto, all born Kentucky, were:
Lewis 9, Mary 5, Elijah 5, Samuel 2, and Jane 2.
Also living in this dwelling was:
Mike LEONARD 52, male, Mulatto, labore, born Tennessee.

5.        Dwelling 1769
WOOLFOLK, James 48, male Black, farmer, born Kentucky
                     Elisa 47, female, Mulatto, born KY
                     Hasan (sic) 24, male, Mulatto, born KY
The WOOLFOLK children, all Mulatto, all born Kentucky, were:
Sally 10, Mary 8, George 4, James 11 months, and Jane 3.

6.        Dwelling 356, town of Milburn
WOOLFOLK, Winny 27, female, Mulatto, born Kentucky
                     Mary 4 months old, female, Mulatto, born Kentucky
They were living in the household of the white family of M. C. and Nancy THOMPSON.

7        Dwelling 363, town of Blandsville 
Joseph RAGSDALE 16, male, Black, born Virginia, was living in the white household of J. A. and Hannah STOVALL and working as a laborer.


In 1840 Lewis SAMS and David SMITH also are listed as heading households of "Free Colored Persons".  They are listed on the Census records for Hickman County, Kentucky (the northern part of Hickman County helped form Ballard County in 1842)

SAMS - Lewis SAMS is shown as a male age 55 to 100.  He is shown with two females in his household, one age 55 to 100, and another age 10 to 24.  The older woman was probably Tena.  The younger woman could have been Winny.
(note - Tena might be a nickname for the female name Tennessee which was popular at the time.)

SMITH - David SMITH is also on the 1840 Census of Hickman County, Kentucky listed as heading a household of "Free Colored Persons".  David is listed as a male age 24 to 36 and is shown with a female age 36 to 55.  This woman was probably Hester.


       Between the years 1852 and 1859, the State of Kentucky attempted to require all the counties to record and report all births and deaths.  The State did not provide the counties with any funds to perform this task and reporting was sketchy at best.  The practice was discontinued at the end of 1859.

       Ballard County reported the deaths of two Free Colored females during this period:

1.        ANDERSON, Mary A. E., female, Free, daughter of Wm. and Winny J. Anderson, died 10 November 1852, of unknown cause.

2.        RICHARDSON, Amelia, age 1 year, female, Free, daughter of Thos.H. and M. S. Richardson, died 30 June 1852 of typhoid fever.

Note that the 1850 Census of Ballard County did not list any Anderson or Richardson households for Free Persons of Color.

Not proven but, Winny J. and Mary Anderson may have been the Winny and Mary Sams on the 1850 Census of Ballard.


By the 1860 Census of Ballard County, KY, the number of Slaves had more than doubled to 1,725.  Of these Slaves, 585, about one third, were identified as Mulatto (as compared to 16.8% statewide)*.  The number of Free African Americans was 33.

If 33% of the Slaves in Ballard County, KY were identified as Mulatto, then it would seem that there was a considerable amount of sexual relations being imposed by the white Slave owners upon their female Slaves.

The Free African American families of James WOOLFOLK and Lewis SAMS, and the single man, Joseph RAGSDALE, are the only names that were also on the 1850 Census in Ballard County.  In 1860 the Free residents appear in all Ballard County districts except Lovelaceville and McCuistians, as follows:


HH #62
HUMPHREY, Christopher 60, male, Black, Master Carpenter, birthplace not noted

HH #150
KIDD, Elizabeth 23, female, Mulatto, b. KY
(Living in the white HH of William and Mary Kidd, both b. VA)

HH #216
WOOLFOLK, Elizabeth 27, female, Mulatto, Washerwoman, b. KY
                Joseph 9, male, Mulatto, b. KY
                James L. 6, male, Mulatto, b. KY
                Augusta A. 2, female, Mulatto, b. KY
(Elizabeth is noted as having personal property valued at $150.)


HH #630
HOBBS, Lucy A. 6, female, Mulatto, b. KY
The child Lucy, is living in a white household consisting of the following:
Thomas BRANNON 85, b. VA; Fanny BRANNON 36, b. TN; Rebecca McDANIEL 55, b. KY; and Malinda BRANNON 76, b. NC. 
(Next door is the white household of a John HOBBS 24, b. KY)

HH #
SAMS, Lewis 85, male, Black, Farmer, b. VA
          Tenan 85, female, Black, b. TN
        Dolly (Polly?) 30, female, Black, b. KY
SAMS children, all Mulattos, all born KY:
Luke 18, Elijah 14, Samuel 12, Mary 14, Jane 11, John 9, William 5, Solomon J. 3, and Thos. M. 1.
(Lewis is noted as owning real estate valued at $700 and personal property valued at $500.  It would appear that the mother of all these children was Dolly/Polly and the father was white)

THARPS DISTRICT, Hazelwood Post Office

HH #857
RAGSDALE, Joseph 28, male, Black, Laborer, b. VA
(lived in the white household of Frelin and Nancy THARP, both b. VA)

HH #852
MILLER, Susan 3, female, Mulatto, b. KY
(the child Susan is living in the white household of David and Nancy MILLER, both b. KY)


WOOLFOLK, James 65, male, Black, farmer, b. KY
                   Eliza 55, female, Mulatto, b. KY
WOOLFOLK children, all Mulattos, all born KY:
George 12, James 10, Viola 8, and Owen 3.
(James is noted as owning real estate valued at $300 and personal property valued at $200).

HH #582
FREEMAN, James 40, male, Mulatto, b. VA
(living in white household of Lewis and Sarah CART, both b. KY)

HH #598
WOOLFOLK, Charles 35, male, Black, b. KY
(living in white household of Reuben and Indiana GEORGE, both b. KY)

HH #626
PILE, Jacob 67, male, Mulatto, b. KY
(living in white household of a widow, Mary GEORGE b. KY)


HH #285
MCGEE, Lassa (sic) 32, female, Mulatto, Field Hand, b. NC
           Charles 18, male, Mulatto, b. KY
           Virginia 5 months, female, Mulatto, b. KY
(lived in white household of a widow, Elizabeth ADAMS, b. KY)

       At the end of the 1860 Ballard County census, the census taker listed as his "totals" that there were 17 Colored males and 13 Colored females in the county.  But reading this census microfilm, line by line, the "totals" are 20 males and 13 females.  They are noted on the census as 5 Black males, 2 Black females, 15 Mulatto males, and 11 Mulatto females.


       The 1850 Census of Ballard County identified Free Persons of Color as having the surnames:  Howard, Leonard, Ragsdale, Sams, Smith, Woolfolk. 
Slave owners in Ballard County with these surnames, who could have possibly been the previous owners of these free men and women, were:
1.         HOWARD
J. M. Howard, born 1812 in Virginia, in 1850 owned 2 Black females ages
15 and 7.
(the freemen Edman and James Howard were both born VA)

2.        RAGSDALE - no slave owners
But there was a Ragsdale family, James born 1783 in VA, and his wife Toby born 1793 in Virginia, living in Ballard Co.
(the freeman Joseph Ragsdale was born in VA)

3.        SAMS
Wiley Sams, Sr., born 1797 in North Carolina, in 1850 owned 2 Black males ages 25 and newborn, and 2 Black females ages 28 and 7.  
Wiley Sams, Sr. was born in Buncombe, NC but his parents, William Sams and Martha Edwards were from Henry County, VA.  Wiley was married to Sarah ATHERTON whose family was also from NC.
(the freeman Lewis Sams was born in VA)

RACE and GENDER SLAVE RATIOS in the STATE of KENTUCKY in 1850 and 1860.

The 1850 Census of the State of Kentucky and the 1850 Slave Schedule of the State of Kentucky show that there were:

763, 480 white residents
210, 057 Slaves, 27.5% of KY residents
9,936 Free persons of Color, 1.3% of KY residents

In 1850 the KY Slave population consisted of:
179,827 Slaves identified as Black or Colored and
30, 230 Slaves identified as Mulatto
(16.8% of the Slaves were identified as Mulatto)

In 1850 the KY Free Persons of Color population consisted of:
6, 669 individuals identified as Black or Colored and
3, 267 individuals identified as Mulatto
(49% of Free Persons of Color were identified as Mulatto)

By gender, both the Free Persons of Color and the enslaved individuals are almost exactly 50% male and 50% females.

The 1860 Slave Schedule for the State of Kentucky shows that the total number of Slaves had grown by 9% to a population of 230,180.  By gender Slaves were identified as 49% female and 51% male.  Slaves identified as Mulatto had grown to 22%, up from 16.8% in 1850.

1840 Census of Hickman County, KY
1850 and 1860 Census of Ballard County, KY and of the State of KY
1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules of Ballard County, KY and of the State of KY
KY Vital Records, Deaths1852-1859

Kathleen Hill
Redondo Beach, CA

December 2005