Mayme Nunnelley


(Mayme Nunnelley)

The first records of Slaves in Clark County was given by a descendant of

one of the members of the little band of resolute Revolutionary

soldiers who had been comrades and mess mates throughout the long bloody

war. These fifteen families, some from Virginia and others from

Maryland, started westward in the early spring of 1783 for Kentucky.

They bought with them some horses, a few cattle, thirty or forty slaves

and a few necessary household articles.

After many hardships and trials, borne heroically by both men and women,

they halted on the banks of the Big Stoner, in what is now the eastern

part of Clark County. Two years later another group of families with

their slaves came to join this little settlement.

In some cases the owners were good to their slaves had comfortable

quarters for them at a reasonable distance from the main house. Their

clothing was given them as they needed it. In most instances the

clothing was made on the plantation Material woven, and shoes made. The

cabins were one and two rooms, maybe more if the families were large.

The slaves ate their meals in the kitchen of the main house.

A cruel and inhuman master was ostrazied and taught by the silent

contempt of his neighbors a lesson which he seldom failed to learn. In

1789 the general assembly passed an act in which good treatment was

enjoined upon master and all contracts between master and slaves were

forbidden. The execution of this law was within the jurisdiction of the

county courts which were directed to admonish the master of any ill

treatment of his slave. If presisted in the court had option and power

to declare free the abused slave.

Few traders came to Clark County as the slaves were not sold unless they

were unruly. There was no underground railroads through this area.

Among some of the old wills compiled by Dr. George F. Doyle of

Winchester, we find wills as follows:

"John Briston in his will dated April 27, 1840 frees his negroes, the

executor to go to Todd County and buy land and divide it between the

negroes and they were given a cow, three horses and he expressed a

desire for them to go to Liberia. They were to be given a certain amount

to defray their moving expenses, and buy them provisions and each negro

was given his blanket."

"Henry Calmes, in his will dated 1831, divides his slaves among his wife

and children." (B7--p654)

"John Christy in his will 1848 says at the death of his wife all his

land and slaves are to be sold and the proceeds divided among his

children." (B11--p346).

"In some old wills enough slaves are to be sold said all outstanding

debts paid and those left to be divided among his heirs."

"A will dated 1837 says at the expiration of eight years after his death

all negroes above those bequeated are to be offered to the Colonization

Society, if they are of age, to be transported to Liberia and those not

of age to continue to serve the persons to whom they are allotted until

they come of age, boys 21 and the girls at 18 when they are to be

offered to the Colonization Society to be transported to Liberia. None

of them are to be forced to go. Those that do not go to Liberia are to

continue to serve the persons to whom they are allotted until they are

willing to go. Three persons by name to be hired out the seventh year

after the death and the money arising from said hire to be given to

those that first go to Liberia, $10.00 a piece if there should be so

much and the balance given to the next ones to go."

"In the will of Robert Lewis, February 20, 1799, he sets three of his

slaves free and gives them the use of 200 acres of the northwest of the

Ohio, their life time. There were to be five hired out until their hire

amounts to 120 pounds each, then they were to be freed. As the other

younger slaves become of age, they are to be freed."

From the following will dated June 22, 1840 it shows the slaves were

able, to accumalate an estate:

"Allan, Charles June 22, 1840 Oct 26, 1840

"A free man of color. Estate to be sold and the proceeds distributed as

follows: To Ester Graves, a woman of color belonging to the heirs of

Rice Arnold, $100.00; balance of money to be divided equally between the

children 'I claim to be mine'. Jerrett, Charles, Ester, Carolina,

Granvill and Emile; all children of aforesaid. Charlotte Arnold and all

belonging to the heirs of Rice Arnold and also Sally, Alfred, Mary,

Lucy, Hulda, Catharine, and Maud, children of Ester Graves aforesaid,

slaves of Bengamine Graves; also two children of Mary Allan, a slave

belonging to Patsey Allan names Lesa and Carolina, the sixteen children

to receive an equal share of the money arising from the sale of his


Clark County did not have an auction block or slave market but every

New Years day in front of the Courthouse owners would bring their

slaves to be hired. It was told by one of the old citizens a few years

ago, (died two years ago) that he walked nine miles one bitter cold day

to hire some slaves. These could be hired for a definite time or until

they brought certain amounts of money.

In 1812-1814 Winchester, the County Seat of Clark County boasted of a

weekly newspaper, issued every Saturday. From the advertisement column

of this paper we learned that Dillard Collins was willing to pay $10.00

to get his run away slave, Reuben, and a similar reward was offered for

one "Scipio" who had taken French leave from his master, (donned) in his

master's new clothes. Another ad in this paper ways[TR: says?] one

Walter Karrick offered to trade a negro woman for "whiskey", cyder and


"A story is told of a slave "Monk Estill" who helped or rather belonged

to Col. James Estill of Madison County. In 1782 in a battle known as

Estill's defeat, which occured on the grounds where Mt. Sterling now

stands in Montgomery County, Col. Estill and twenty-five men attacked a

party of Wyandotte Indians by whom the slave was taken prisoner.

"In the thickest of the fight, Monk called out in a loud voice; 'Don't

give way, Marse Jim, there's only twenty-five Indians and you con whip

all of them.'

"Col. Estill was killed and the men retreated. Monk escaped from his

captors and after many hardships joined the white comrades.

"On his shoulder he carried a wounded soldier twenty-five miles to

Estill Station. His young master gave him his freedom in recognition for

his bravery and supported him in comfort the rest of his life."

In Clark County are many small negroe settlements formed by the old

freed slaves after the war. Some had accumalated a little and brought a

small piece of land and others had homes given to them by their owners.

Mr. Archilles Eubank was the largest slave holder of his day, Mr. Colby

Quisenberry was second, in Clarks County.

"The story is told that at the time of General Morgan's last raid on

Winchester, an old faithful slave of Dr. Hubbard Taylor, (a noted

Physician all over this portion of Kentucky at this time) who was always

careful of his master's interests, and without the consent of his

master, saved his very fine riding horse, "Black Prince" from being

pressed into service of the Confederates. Ab (the slaves name) learned

that Morgan's men were good judges of horse flesh and had taken several

horses just as the Federals did when they needed them and he determined

to conceal prince, whose groom he was. He put him there in the smoke

house along with the meat, but Prince pawed and made disturbances until

he took him out and took him to the cellar persuading him to descend the

steps and left him there. He came up to hear that several horses had

been taken from the cellars of the men, then he hastened back to get

Black Prince. He brought him out of the cellar and took him to the

Laundry room and sat there with him conversing him to keep him quite

until all danger passed. When Prince became restless and wanted to paw

his way out, old Ab would say, "Now Prince, you quit dat you's in danger

of being taken by the bad soldiers." Old Prince would stop instantly and

listen to his groom."

Maum Tena Measy Hudson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail