The Enslaved Community at Locust Grove
LEARNING ABOUT THE ENSLAVED COMMUNITY AT LOCUST GROVE
This page houses the names of the men, women and children enslaved at Locust Grove and Mammoth Cave that have been discovered through decades of research. Only by learning the names of these enslaved men, women and children, and by uncovering their stories can we gain insight into some of what these individuals aspired to, hoped for, created and desired. Our research into the lives of the enslaved community is ongoing. As our research progresses, this page will be updated.
History of Enslavement at Locust Grove
The Croghan family enslaved approximately 100 individuals between 1790 and 1856. These enslaved men, women and children were the heart of the farm at Locust Grove. They cultivated the land, cared for the many animals, built and maintained the house and other structures, and tended to the most intimate needs of the Croghan and Clark families. At the peak of the farm’s operation in 1820, more than 40 enslaved people labored here. All of them had little control over the conditions of their lives.
In 1849, the 22 enslaved individuals remaining at Locust Grove were emancipated by the will of Dr. John Croghan. However, those that were ‘freed’ from enslavement were then indentured for seven years before finally being released from bondage. We do not know where these individuals went after leaving Locust Grove, some probably remained nearby while others left for free territory north of the Ohio River.
We have few details about how the enslaved community was treated at Locust Grove, for there are no words left from them to tell their story. While do not have any record of runaways, we do know that at least three enslaved individuals were sold “down river” in New Orleans by the Croghans.
Race-based chattel slavery stripped the men, women and children enslaved across the United States of their humanity and agency. While they had little control over the conditions of their lives, the institution of enslavement could not strip away the resiliency of these individuals. Across the United States and throughout the entirety of our global history, enslaved men, women and children resisted their enslavement and their enslavers.
Our research into the lives of the enslaved community at Locust Grove is ongoing.
Locust Grove seeks to honor the lives of the enslaved community by interpreting the history of enslavement on our land accurately and honestly. Only by learning their names and sharing their stories can we gain insight into aspects of the lives of individuals like Nan, Criss, Kitt, Malinda, Sylvia, Alfred, Abe, Bob and more.
The Names of The Enslaved Community
Below is the list of known names within the enslaved community. As research progresses, this list will be updated.
Billy (Anny’s son)
John Wesley Croghan
Sylvia’s Three Children
The Stories of The Enslaved Community
Below is a gallery that summarizes some of the things we have discovered about the enslaved individuals who lived and worked at Locust Grove. Our research into the daily lives of the enslaved community is ongoing. Discover more about our research goals here.
Searching for your ancestors and think they could have been at Locust Grove? Below are some surnames of known descendants. For more information about our genealogy resources, contact Kaitlyn Tisdale at email@example.com.
Locust Grove is committed to following the best practices established by the National Summit On Teaching Slavery. View our guidelines for engaging with descendants here.
- Louisville Coalition on the History Of Enslavement
- Read past discoveries and research projects related to the interpretation of the enslaved community.
- Listen to “Teasing Out Black History” presented by Dr. Joy Carew at Locust Grove in March 2019.
- Joe McGill and The Slave Dwelling Project visited Locust Grove in August 2019. Read about the visit here or learn more about the Slave Dwelling Project.
Photo Courtesy of Fox & Rose Photography