July 5, 2013

Traces of Laurel: Census of 1830

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Historians and genealogists know that the United States census reports are invaluable to good research.  Certainly mistakes were made by careless or inefficient census takers but, on the whole, the census is the most accurate record we have for basic information about our ancestors in America.

The first U.S. census was taken in 1790 and has been repeated every 10 years since then.  Unfortunately, most of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire in 1921 but all the other census reports are intact, as far as I know.  The first six censuses (1790-1840) contained only the name of the head of household and the range of that person’s age (between 20 and 30, for instance); other members of the family were simply noted by their sex and age range.  This changed with the 1850 census – the most helpful census of all for researchers, in my opinion.  Names and current ages of spouses and children were enumerated, along with the state (and in some cases, the country) in which each family member and his/her parents were born.  This made it easier for the researcher to trace an ancestor’s path to its 1850 location.

The first census in which the residents of the new county of Laurel were registered was the census of 1830.  Lot Pitman and Brannum Hill were charged with completing this first record and when they had finished they posted this notice:  “We hereby certify that the following schedule has been set up, one correct copy at two of the most public places in the division subject to the inspection of all concerned.”  Today, we can look at the censuses online or on microfilm but early Laurel Countians had to travel to one of two specified locations to get access to this first census information.  As to where the inspection sites were, I don’t know, but one must surely have been the newly-built courthouse.  

Only four families lived within the boundaries of the town of London in 1830:  Calvin Cannifax, William Smith, Brannum Hill and Thomas Freeman.  John Jackson is not listed within the city limits but, according to Russell Dyche, his home was “on the Wilderness Road, just north of where the Whitley Road left it.” I cannot pinpoint that spot without further research but I know that Jackson’s land holdings were extensive.  He lists 15 slaves as part of his household in 1830.

At the end of the listing of the1830 census for Laurel County is written:  Total white males, 1,116; total white females, 961; male slaves, 63; female slaves, 63; free colored, 3.  Grand total for the whole county: 2,206; 15 individuals lived in London.

* * *

The Laurel County Historical Society is located at 310 W. 3rd St., London, (formerly the Laurel County Health Department).  The library is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.  For further information, contact 606-864-0607 during library hours, or 606-224-3767 at other times.  Visit the historical society’s website:  Email the society at or Jan Sparkman at

Text Only
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results