Slaves at Locust Grove 1790-1849

Locust Grove was home to numerous enslaved African-American laborers between 1790 and their emancipation in 1849. Slave numbers varied throughout the Croghans' tenure here. County records from 1800 indicate that William Croghan paid taxes on twenty slaves and two white male servants. By the 1820s, more than 40 enslaved men, women, and children, lived and worked at Locust Grove. In 1849, John Croghan's will listed twenty-two enslaved African-Americans ranging from infancy to age fifty-five. These individuals were freed under terms of a seven-year guardianship which provided for their liberty by 1856.

Two African-American men associated with Locust Grove made important contributions to U.S. history:

  • York, a slave owned by William Clark, was a member of the Corps of Discovery, traveling with the expedition to the Pacific Ocean. York was the first person of color the western Native Americans ever had encountered.

  • Stephen Bishop was a slave at Mammoth Cave during John Croghan's ownership of the property. As a guide he explored previously uncharted areas of the world's most extensive cave system and drew the famous Mammoth Cave map of 1844.

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