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[6] > Page [6] of The anti-slavery movement in Kentucky prior to 1850

INTRODUCTION T he portion of V irginia l ocated west of the A ppalachian M ountains a nd k nown as K e n t u c k y w as f requently visited b y I ndian t raders and hunters between 1750 and 1770 and probably f rom earlier times. T h e e arly c omers d i d not r emain t o m ake permanent improvements. After hunting and trading i n t he country f or a few m onths, they either returned t o t heir e astern homes o r p ushed further westward o r s outhward. T h e g lowing accounts given b y t hem of t he beauty and t he r esources of this distant region awakened much interest i n the o lder communities, a nd r esulted, after repeated failures, i n the e stablishment i n K e n t u c k y during t he first years o f the A merican R e v olution of p ermanent settlements, which advanced after 1783 w ith g reat r a p i d i t y . T h e f rontier w as p ushed back i n e very d irection a nd b y 1792 the i ncrease of p opulation a nd the d evelopment of resources w as s ufficient t o w arrant Congress i n a d mitting t he d istrict into t he U n i o n . 1 2 S lavery w as i ntroduced into K e n t u c k y w ith t he e arliest s ettlers. W hile the majority of the p ioneers were very p oor a nd c onsequently non-slaveholders, there w as, d uring t he y ears f ollowing t he R evolution, a n i nflux of p rosperous settlers, p articularly f rom V irginia, w ho b rought a n umber o f s laves w ith t hem a nd engaged i n the c ultivation o f t obacco o n a c onsiderable scale. I t was not, h owever, u ntil t he I ndian danger h ad been removed and frontier conditions i n K e n t u c k y had given p lace t o c ommercial activity and t o p lanting f or p rofit as w ell as for subsistence that the number o f N egroes materially increased. T heir n umerical strength c an not be d efinitely determined 3 4 5 Theodore Roosevelt: 'Winning of the W est," V ol. 3, p. 12f. United States Statutes A t Large, Vol. 1, 1789-99, p. 189. . ' Draper MSS.: "Lifeof Daniel Boone," Vol. 3, pp. 351-2. D aniel Boonein a letter to ?i y . Henderson, A pril 1,1775, written in what is now Madison County, said that a party of Indians firing on his company had killed M r . Tweety and his Negro. Among Boone's accounts there is also an entry recording his purchase of a Negro woman for the sum of 80 pounds (Roosevelt. " Winning of the W est," V ol. 3, p. 27). In the records of the various settlements mention is often made of Negroes. (Richard H . Collins: "History of K entucky," p. 38 ) (Lewis Collins: "Historical Sketches," p. 19.) < N . S. Shaler: "Kentucky, A Pioneer Commonwealth," p. 117. ' D raper MSS.: V ol. 4, p. 503. In 1777 a census of the town of Harrodsburg gave the slave population as 19 out of a total of 201 inhabitants. T he following table gives a comprehensive view of the white, the slave and the free Negro elements of the population of Kentucky from 1790 to 1850: 1 I chard YEAR 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 61 ,133 179 ,873 324 ,237 434,644 517 ,787 590 ,253 761 ,413 WHITE PER CENT. 83.0 81.4 79.7 75.9 75.2 75.7 77.5 12 ,430 40 ,343 80 ,561 126,732 165 ,213 182 ,258 210,981 SLAVE PER CENT. 16.9 18.2 19.8 23.4 24.0 23.3 21.4 F R E E NEGRO 114 739 1,713 2 ,759 4,917 7 ,317 10.011 PER CENT. .1 .3 .4 .7 .7 .9 1.1