Thursday, February 16, 2012

Free or Slave?

Cohabitation between the white and black races was, at best, frowned upon in early Kentucky, but what happened if the union produced a child? Was that child born free or a slave?

The status of the child followed that of the mother. If the mother was a slave, the child was a slave, but, if the mother was white, the child was considered to be free. The following entries, found in Union County, Kentucky Court Order Book C, under the date of 18 January 1836, illustrate this situation.

"On motion of Nathaniel Vincent a mulatto of the age of Thirty two years came into court and proved by John N. Buckman and Clement M. Buckman that he the sd. Nathaniel has resided in this county for Eighteen years past that they had been well acquainted with the sd. Nathaniel and that his mother was a white woman and that Nathaniel was born free. Whereupon it was ordered that the clerk of this [court] give Nathaniel a certificate stating that he is a free man ..."

The next entry was identical except it was for John Vincent, age twenty seven.

Copyright of text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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