Black & white, 1860, Woodford Co., Kentucky

There’s a story behind an entry on the 1860 census, but I don’t have it figured out: Jacob BOSTON (grandson of Christian Hufford through Christian’s daughter Barbara born 1780) was 48 and living in Versailles, Woodford Co., Kentucky, with his wife Catharine (33) and young children William (5) and Mary (4 months). Also in the household was Salem WATERS (41), a widowed father, with his children: Eliza (17), Joseph (16), Anna (15), and Elizabeth (12). All were born in Kentucky. Jacob and Salem were blacksmiths, as was Salem’s 16-year-old son Joseph.

None of that is surprising: Two blacksmiths join forces. One is widowed and has a daughter old enough to help with the child care of the other’s young children, and the teenaged male works with his father.

What is surprising is that the Waters all were coded “B” for “black.” In other words, it was an interracial household in 1860 in Woodford Co., Kentucky. None of the Waters were listed as “slaves.”

Jacob Boston had no real estate, but $2,000 in personal property (cash, tools). Salem Walters had $350 of real estate and $100 in personal estate. That suggests that Salem owned a small bit of real estate (all that would be needed for a blacksmith shop), and Jacob had some tools and money.

In 1850, Salem was living with his wife (Rebecca, 28) and his children: Eliza (7), Joseph (6), Anna B. (5), Henry H. (4), and Mary E. (2). (Mary would have been “Mary Elizabeth.” Henry was gone by 1860, presumably dead.) Salem was a blacksmith. Listed next to Salem was another WATERS family, headed by 33-year-old Elizabeth, and with Harriet (18) and Samuel (14). Salem himself was listed as a slave owner on the 1850 U.S. Slave Schedule for Woodford Co., Kentucky: one slave, a 35-year-old black male.

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