Chronicles of Boone County

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Boone County Court Orders

Including items involving African Americans

Compiled for the African Americans in Boone County Project sponsored by Preservation Kentucky.

Boone County Order Book, A, 1799-1817, Burlington Courthouse, Burlington, KY




  • 21 April, John Watts established ferry; roads to New port being est'd from Craig's Camp. Fillis, slave of Daniel Mosby exempted from cty levies on a/c of “age & infirmity”; Reuben Conner, Phillimon Conner & Thos Whitaker apptd patrollers “to perform the duty required by law – twelve hours in each month within the bounds of this County.”
  • 16 June, Roswell Cabbins, settlement at Woolper bottoms. John Watts to run tavern at his ferry (& John Bush). John Love to run tavern near cthouse-to-be
  • 21 July, Wm Stanby to keep tavern at ferry
  • 15 Sept, Recommend to Gnor as JPs: John Bush, John H. Craig, John Watts, Elzaphin Hume, Wm Montague, Uriel Sebree, Weeden Sleet & Wm Brady
  • 20 Oct, Town laid out (future Burlington) called Wilmington


  • 20 April, Inspectors of tobacco, hemp & flour apptd at Woolper warehouse in Woolper bottoms (on land of Philemon Thomas), Jas Marshall to keep ferry & tavern at mouth of Garrison Run.
  • 15 June, Roswell Cabins said to be on mouth of double lick fork of Woolper
  • 21 Sept, Stocks & pillory to be built (lowest bidder)


  • 8 Nov, County pays for wolfheads – lots of them


  • 23 April, Robt Garnett wishes to establish water grist mill on Middle Creek – jury to meet – mill allowed (12 July 1804)
  • 23 July, John Tanner charged by Susannah Allin, single, of being father of her child – must pay $20/yr for 10 years
  • 24 Dec, Zachariah Martin wants grist mill on his property on Woolper Creek near crossing of Old Big Bone tract, allowed (28 Jan 1805); John Bush lost a case against Benj Craig – had to pay witnesses for other side, & “Ordered that John Bush be fined five dollars for a certain contempt by him to this Court offered and that he pay the same or be committed by the Sheriff to Jail for the space of two hours.”


  • 6 May, Jos. Brand wants to establish grist & saw mill on his land on Big Bone Creek (once known as rock landing), “ordered to be quashed for defect appearing in the face of the order” (3 May 1805)
  • 3 June, Ester, slave of Wm Graves, released from levies, age & infirmity
  • 30 Dec, Trial of Ralf, owned by Wm Carter & Ned, Jeremiah Kirtley, for felony. Charged with murdering James, owned by John Jones. Both claimed innocence – found Ralf guilty – to be hanged Feb 5th, manslaughter for Ned, 25 lashes on bare back.


  • 16 June, Wm Sebree – saw & grist mill – owns both sides of Woolper ½ mile below mouth of Ashby's Fork, allowed (21 July); John Grant allowed ferry at Woolper's bottom. Tousey allowed ferry across Ohio at mouth of Second Creek
  • 15 Sep, John Grant allowed to establish town on Woolper's bottom – 100 acres – vested in John Hall, Jameson Hawkins, Moses Scott, Archd Huston, John Flournoy, Jacob Piatt, & Absalom Graves (trustees) – “Caledona”


  • 18 May, Ferries – Jas. Tolbert, mouth of Willoughby Creek; Sam'l Vance, mouth of upper side of Second Creek; John Bush, lower end of his plantation to opp. side of Ohio


  • 2 March, Lodick Campfield charged with murdering negro boy, Ned, his slave. Lodick moved to quash proceedings because his name was really Ziba – on day of murder he was called Zedick. No bail, taken to jail. Moses Rouse, on way to Crisler's mill on Wed. 24th Feb, 5-6 miles from cthouse on Wilmington-Newport Rd when he heard a noise – saw Campfield & the boy & heard beating & cries. Asked what was the matter & Campfield “observed that the damned son of a bitch had dirted (sic) himself” & that Campfield took him off his horse to make him clean himself “and was correcting him.” Rouse said he was willing to buy the boy but Campfield could not agree to that. James Allin was at his sugar camp near the rd leading from cthouse to mouth of Second Creek, met Campfield who said he was taking the boy to W. Alloway to take the river & sell him but the boy fell off his horse & he (C) feared him dead. Allin found the boy as he though “entirely dead” though Campfield wanted him bled. The next day Allin “found several marks of violence on the neck & face, the appearance of finger nails on the neck”.


  • 23 Jan, JP's Alexr McPherson, Uriel Sebree, Abraham Depew, Moses Scott, William Sebree, Abner Gaines, Jeremiah Kirtley. Ebzaphim Hume Sheriff. Joseph Carsey (?) & Ben Johnson were fined $7.50 (together) for insulting & interrupting court. Jameson Hawkins, Uriel Sebree & Moses Scott apptd trustees of Wilmington.
  • 3 April, John Love still has tavern in Wilmington
  • 5 June, Augustine Smith called court “Damned fools” – fined $2 or jail for 1 hour



  • 5 Feb, Tousey's warehouse – for tobacco, hemp & flour inspection – just below mouth of Second creek between Tousey dwelling house & river
  • 5 March, Hunphrey marshall, owner of lands on both sides of Middle Creek, wants to erect grist and saw mill (allowed, 2 April)


  • 6 Sept, Benjamin Willis allowed to run ferry across Ohio From his land in Middle Creek bottoms
  • 6 Dec, Edward Meeks also given okay for ferry from Middle Creek bottoms


  • 5 April, Marketplace est'd in Wilmington on east side of Jefferson St & south side of Washington St


  • 3 April, Town est'd “Mount Vernon” on land of Edward Meeks at Middle Creek bottom – John Brown, Benj. Willis & Willis Graves trustees
  • 5 June, Edward Meeks given leave to establish warehouse (near Berkshire stillhouse & Robt Garnett’s line)
  • 4 Dec, Town est'd on lands of Edward Meeks & Thos Noble in Middle Creek bottoms – Belleview. Moses Scott, Jameson Hawkins, Daniel Symes, John Flournoy, John Browman, trustees.


  • 4 March, leave given Benj Willis to erect tobacco warehouse in Belleview & hi discontinues his mill. Edward Meeks given leave to erect warehouse for everything but tobacco.
  • 3 June, Ben, slave of Mary Kirtley in jailhouse. Jeremiah Kirtley came before court insisting on seeing Ben. “It is ordered that a Writ of Habeus Corpus issue to said Jailor commanding him forthwith to produce the body of said negro Ben before the Court.” Ben was brought in & released.
  • 2 Sept, Wm Mcoy exempted from paying taxes on elderly slave, Criss (woman) & Nathan Watts likewise exempted from being taxed on Dinah


Mention of Burlington

  • 6 Oct, Abram Buford wants to build a mill on Gunpowder; given the okay on 1 Dec H. Utterback, same thing on South fork of Gunpowder
  • 1 Dec, Lewis Crisler, same thing on Gunpowder; okay given 4 March Moses Frey, same thing on south fork G-powder; okay 4 March Andrew Miller, water gristmill on G-powder; okay 4 March
  • By 1817, no more payments by county for wolf-heads


  • 7 September, $40.67 rec'd by county from various people for rioting act violations

Wm Roberts “having been so unfortunate as to loose (sic) the greater part of his right ear” “in an affray” [doesn't say who got it!] “all of which on motion of said Wm Roberts is ordered to be certified accordingly”. Lucy B. Wake (?) brought into court for “keeping an evil & disorderly house and as a disturber of the peace”. She pled not guilty & was acquitted [she apparently wanted to clear her name].


  • 4 Jan, A “venire facias” issued against Willoughby, slave of Jeremiah Kirtley for felony larceny. Found guilty & sentenced to 39 lashes.

Order Book K, 1864-1869


May Term, May 7, p168

“Ordered that the clerk bind by Indenture the following free infants negroes of colour to Jno. Barton, viz. Mary, aged about 13 years; Emily, about 11 years, Fanny, about 9 years, until they are respectively 18 years of age, each; William 7 years old, Abe 3 years old, until 21 years of age each – to be taught respectively the occupations of spinsters & farmers.”

July Term, July 2, p185

“On motion of E. D. Grant, and it appearing upon evidence, that Lucy a Negro Woman of this County is a pauper, unable to labor in whole or in part for her maintenance, and that she has no means of support. It is therefore Ordered that she be admitted an inmate of the Poor House of this County. Imto; further Ordered.”

August Term, August 6, p189

Ordered that the Clerk of this Court bind by Indenture, the following free infants of color (formerly the slaves of S. D. Poor) to said Saml D. Poor, Viz Jno. W. aged about 5 years, and Hiram, aged about 9 years until they become of the age of 21 years respectively, to be taught the occupation of farmers – the mother consenting – Indentures were ackd accordingly. “Ordered that Clerk bind by Indenture to Jonathan Williams, Bell, a free infant of color, aged about 4 years, to be taught the occupation of Spinster, this is upon the motion of the mother of said infant – and the Indentures were ackd according & the law requires (sic).”

September Term, Sept. 3, p198

“Oredered that the Clerk of this Court bind by Indenture to Vard. Finnell, Patsey a free infant of color aged about 7 years to be taught the occupation of a spinster. Where upon the Indentures (sic) were acknowledged, examined & approved & ordered to be recorded.”

November Term, Nov. 5, p236

“The Clerk of this Court is ordered to enter into indentures of apprentice ship with Garnet Riley binding to said Riley a negro boy James William until he is Twenty one years old - said Boy is now 12 years of and is to be taught the art of farming.” “The Clerk of this Court is directed to enter into indentures of apprenticeship with G J Gaines binding to said Gaines a negro Boy named John Brock until the said Boy is 21 years old – said boy was ten years old last March & is to be taught the art of farming.”


Special March Term, March 25, p277 “The Clerk of this either by himself or deputy is ordered to enter into indentures of apprenticeship binding the John W. Berkshire an infant negro girl named Lucy about 9 years old to learn the trade of spinster – and will report such indentures to this Court. Whereupon said indentures were acknowledged in open Court approved & ordered to record.”

May Term, May 6, p299 “The Clerk of this Court either by himself or Deputy is ordered to enter into indentures of apprenticeship binding the Charles G. Bruce an infant negro boy named Woodford Huey about 9 years old to learn the trade of farming and will report such indentures to this Court. Ellen Huey the mother of sd infant consenting. Where upon said indentures were acknowledged in open Court, approved and ordered to record.”

Special August Term, Aug. 17, p345 Lou Ann, age left blank, bound to A. B. Parker (also the clerk of the court)

Special October Term, Oct. 10, p372 == In accounting for the taxes paid for the year, it appears that black tithes are charged more than white: “Dr [debit] the Sheriff to 2199 white tithes at $3.00 $6597.00 “Dr [debit] the Sheriff to 164 Negro Do at $5.00 $820.00

October Term, Oct. 6, p501 “To 2384 white tythes (sic) at 2.50 $5960.00 ” To 226 Negro tythes at 4.50 1017.00 By 1869, it looks like they are charging the same amount.

Special December Term, December 29, p533 Mentions death Stephen Botts (col’d), M. Hamilton had been apptd administrator of the estate apparently by Botts.

Will Book I, 1866-1870, p. 505

  • Grey mare, $35, Brown Horse $25, Sorrel Horse $80, Colt $35, Bay colt $50, Bay colt $40, Jolt wagon $25, spring wagon & harness $30, cow $40, cutting box $5, plow gear $2, Kettle $1, lot of trumpery in house $1, 1 set wagon harness $7, shot gun $1, Total $382. Dated Dec. 31, 1868

(Quite a bit of property for someone recently freed – may have been given these by the Botts family – would support their neighbors' suspicions of abolitionist sympathies.)


January Term, Jan. 4, p.539 Two African Americans bound as apprentices to Sebern P. Brady – Allen, 8 years old, to learn farming, & Almedia, 6, to learn occupation of spinster. Both now living with Brady. Another girl, Mary, aged 4, to be bound to John Scott for same purpose.

Order Book L, 1870-1874


Special January Term, Jan. 8, p116 African American, boy, Henry, an orphan living with Legrand Gaines (no age) is bound to him as apprentice. From 1866 – 1870, only found two instances of the same thing happening to white children (an example would be Chas. Claudius Rouse, bound to Fielding Rouse, was to receive $100, horse bridle & saddle & suit of clothing upon completion of apprenticeship – Oct Term, Oct 3, 1870, p196).

Special August Term, Aug 10, p182 African American boy, Amos, indentured to John O. Campbell, with whom he resides. His father is dead & his mother apparently abandoned him – now about 9 years old – to be taught farming.

Special Oct Term, Oct 8, p206 Will of Chas Vest (col) entered by Thomas Roberts, one of the witnesses. The other witness was Wm. S. Oneal.

  • From Will Book L, 25 November 1874, p. 260

Articles left to widow: breakfast & dinner table ($6), 2 beds, a “Looking Glass”, wardrobe, 8 chairs, small trunk & various cooking items, 2 horses ($180), cow & calf, 5 geese, over 3 doz. Chickens, plow, saddle, & wagon – all quite an accumulation for an African American in Boone County. The estate sale (p. 261-2) brought in $578, including tobacco ($176), corn ($120), & hogs ($200+).

  • Each year, people are reimbursed by the court for taking care of paupers, burying drowned people, etc. Some of those that are taken care of at the county's expense are African Americans & those who took care of them for the year are then reimbursed with tax money – but one can assume that these “paupers” are likely working for the families with whom they are staying, e.g.

Regular November Term, p215 – America Clark pd $75 for keeping “negro woman & infant child”.

Order Book M, 1873-1874


Special Term November 7, p108-9 Lafayette Rogers declared insane & sent to 4th Lunatic Asylum at Anchorage. 23 years old


Special Term January 12, p129-30 Allen and Almeda (no last names give) who had been apprenticed to S.P. Brady, abandoned their “Master” so he was legally absolved of all responsibility toward them.

Guardian Book Information

  • 1 April 1867 - John C. Riley appointed guardian of Kate, Charles, Reuben Hamilton – minors of color. They have $150 in cash/property. Page 374
  • 4 June 1877 - Roberts name guardian of Magalin Vest (colored) – name difficult to read
african_americans_in_the_court_orders.txt · Last modified: 2019/09/07 11:27 by hdelaney