1790 First Kentucky Census 

The land now known as Owen County was located in Woodford County of the 1790 Census.

Contributed By: Don Rubarts & Suzanne Yelton Shephard

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History of the First United States Census of Kentucky

   The first Federal census was undertaken following an “Act Providing for the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States” Approved March 1, 1790.

   At that time, the present Commonwealth of Kentucky was a part of Virginia, although they were in the process of trying to form a separate state. This movement resulted in the formation of the Territory of Kentucky on July 26, 1790. Kentucky was formally admitted into the Union on June 1, 1792.

   In the act authorizing the first enumeration, Kentucky was classed as a separate district and the United States Marshall for the District of Kentucky was allowed $250. The actual taking of the census was ordered to begin on the first Monday in August 1790 and to be completed within nine months. This first census began After Kentucky’s separation from Virginia.

   The Census was completed and the returns sent to Washington and filed with the State Department. When the British burned the Capitol at Washington during the War of 1812, the original Census records were destroyed.

The form used for this First Census called for the following information:

1.      Names of heads of families

2.      Free white males of 16 years and older, including heads of families.

3.      Free white males under 16 years.

4.      Free white females, including heads of families

5.      All other free persons

6.      Slaves

   The returns for Kentucky showed:

15,154 Free white males of 16 years and older, including heads of families.

17,057 Free white males under 16 years.

28,922 Free white females, including heads of families.

     114 All other free persons.

12,430 Slaves.

73,677 Total number of inhabitants reported.

Click on the Thumbnail above to see the way the Counties were laid out in 1790 and today.