October 06, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Madison County, Kentucky, Wills Including Slaves, 1844 & 1859

Lot of 2 last will and testaments by Madison County, Kentucky slave owners. 

The first belongs to James McKinney. McKinney bequeaths much of his property to his son Dudley including his thirteen-year-old slave boy, Lewis and the decedents of the slave woman, Betty. He gives his wife and her children the decedents of the same slave. He further divides the land, cash, and people to his seven children. The names of the slaves given to his children include: Kennedy (32), Clarissa (17), Louisa Clay, and Henry Clay. He requests that his slave Jefferson be sold to his wife Sally Ann's owner, William Black. If Black refuses to purchase Jefferson for a 1,000 dollars he should be sold to the highest bidder of his children. It was signed on January 26, 1859. 

The second belongs to Thomas Ballew written on March 25, 1844. Ballew leaves each of his seven children a slave worth 250 dollars. He requests that none of his slaves be sold to strangers and should remain in the family. Research indicates that Ballew was a Baptist preacher, farmer, and slave owner who died in 1846. The United States Army purchased 15,000 acres of land in 1942, which included the Ballew family cemetery. The army exhumed over 901 bodies of both white and African Americans in family cemeteries from the purchased land and relocated them to a specific area. One of the bodies and headstones belonged to Ballew; several others belonged to members of his household and possibly some of his slaves. 






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