Sullivan County, Tennessee People of Color, 1860 & 1870

Dublin Core


Sullivan County, Tennessee People of Color, 1860 & 1870


Free People of Color--Tennessee
Slave Owners--Sullivan Co.
Slavery--Sullivan Co.
Tennessee--Sullivan Co.
United States Census--1860
United States Census--1870
United States Census--Slave Schedules


The following lists have been compiled in order to provide free and easy access to data regarding the population of people of color in Sullivan County, Tennessee in the years 1860 and 1870. Although Appalachia has long been considered a (nearly) exclusively white space in popular American imagination, just the opposite was, and is, true. Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, months following the close of the Civil War. Therefore, we have chosen to compile lists of Sullivan County’s population of color from the census published before and after 1865. Additionally, we have included a list of slaveholders from 1860, as well as the numbers of slaves these individuals claimed on slave schedules.

Of note:
There were multiple children, (some as young as eight or nine years old) listed as members of white families and households, who also held occupations such as “servant,” or “house boy/girl” on the 1870 census in particular. Whether or not these children were related to the families with whom they lived is unknown, as specific familial relationships were not noted on these censes. Although child labor was common in the U.S. until the early twentieth century, one may assume that these children were kept in a form of informal slavery by the white families they lived with.

On the use of the term “mulatto”:
The term “mulatto” refers to an individual whose parents were white and black, or whose parents were also bi-racial. This word is now considered a racial slur, as its meaning arises from “mule,” and it has served as a form of violence against people of color. This word appears on the following lists only as it appeared on the 1860 and 1870 censes in an effort to provide accurate data for research purposes.


Black in Appalachia


United States Census Bureau


Black in Appalachia


1860 - 1870


Kathleen Kelley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Items can be used for private reflection and research, and not for commercial purposes.

Collection Items

Free People of Color, Sullivan County, Tennessee: 1860
1860 United States Census Records of Free People of Color in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Slave Schedule, Sullivan County, Tennessee: 1860
1860 United States Slave Schedule of Sullivan County, Tennessee.

Black & Mulatto Families, Sullivan County, Tennessee: 1870
1870 United States Census Records of Black & Mulatto residents in Sullivan County, Tennessee.
View all 3 items