Bullitt County History

Annotated Bullitt County 1850 Census

Beginning in October 1989, Betty Darnell, in her "Genealogy and You" column in The Pioneer News, reached back fifty years to a series of columns written beginning in April 1949 by Mrs. W. V. Mathis, Wallace A. McKay, and W. C. Barrickman in which they transcribed the 1850 Bullitt County census, and added annotations from their own research.

While Mathis, Wallace, and Barrickman tended to present this in weekly columns, Betty Darnell, for the most part, combined two or more columns into one of her monthly ones. We are presenting these in the weekly format of the earlier columns.

Below is the first column, dated 15 April 1849. Betty Darnell reproduced it in The Pioneer News on 2 Oct 1989.

We have briefly compared the records recorded in this articles to images of the census pages, and occasional additions or corrections have been made. Those changes we consider significant are noted with red print. Also, we have identified the census page numbers, and the census dwelling house number and family number according to visitation has been added, like this: [1/1].

If you are looking for a specific household, we suggest that you use our Search page.

(In 1949 and 1950, The Pioneer News featured a series of articles based on the 1850 Bullitt County Census. The authors added information from their files. I will be copying this series in its entirety.)

The Pioneer News, 15 April 1949.

Editor's Note This series of articles has been prepared especially for the Bullitt Pioneer News, by Mrs. W. V. Mathis, Wallace A. McKay and W. C. Barrickman of Austin, Texas. All of them are natives of Bullitt, proud of the county's history and of its people.


The daily lives of the people in a community make its history, and to know who these men and women were, from whence they came and what they did furnishes the background for an understanding of them. When Bullitt County was created by the legislature of Kentucky from Jefferson and Nelson County in 1796 the State was just four years old. Many of its first settlers were still living in 1850 when the seventh census of the United States was made and the children of those pioneers who had died, taken their places. The 1850 census recorded the names, of the heads of families in the county, the man's age, the State where he was born, his occupation, the value of his real estate, and his wife's name, age and place of birth. Then follows the names and ages of their children, and of other people living in the family — relatives, hired help, apprentices, and in some instances, of free negroes employed as servants.

The census schedule used in the preparation of these articles is that of the "free inhabitants" of the County, and includes those negroes who had purchased their freedom, or who had been freed by their owners through the provisions of their wills or by other legal declarations.

There is no way of identifying the free negroes in the census, except in a few instances where the names are marked as "black" or "mulatto."

The Bullitt County census of 1850 was taken by Samuel H. HAMILTON; he wrote the record with a quill pen, steel pens did not come into general use until about ten years later. The census tabulations, a hundred years old now, are faced discolored and somehat damaged by handling. They are difficult to read, sometmes illegible. and as they had to be copied from microfilm rolls less than an inch wide, and a hudred feet long, listing the census of twelve other counties, one-eighteenth the size of the original sheets, it was inevitable that there should be some errors of spelling.

Most of pioneer settlers in Bullitt were from Virginia and Maryland, coming into the country by way of the Ohio River from Pittsburg to Louisville at "the falls of the Ohio."

Although there were many from Pennsylvania and North Carolina as well as some, "yankees" from the New England States, they are not to be confused with the "damyankeys" who came with other "carpetbaggers," in 1865 after the fighting was all over to take charge of affairs in the "conquered provinces of the South." It may be noted that most of them soon became more "Sonthern" in their views than the "unreconstructed rebels" themselves.

Census Page 1

[1/1] Lina H. SNAPP is the first name recorded in the Bullitt County census. The name in full is Linaugh Helm SNAPP. As of June 1, 1850, he was 29 years old, born in Kentucky, a farmer, wit real estate valued at $2000. Land values a hundred years ago were much lower than present values. His wife was Mary Jane (LEWIS), age 27; their children: Isa, 7, in school; Williain L., 6; and Charles H., 4.

[2/2] Richard Edmond STRINGER, 38, Ky., farmer, $500; Mima, 30 (she was Jeminma WIGGINTON, daughter of Seth, and was born in Virginia); children: Margret 19, Thomas Roberson, 12.

[3/3] Reuben. FIDDLER, 32, fanner, $400; Julia Ann, 26 (daughter of David and Nancy ALLISON TYLER); William, 8; Sarah M., 6, in school; James H., 4; Allison T., 2; John TYLER, 17, "laborer," perhaps a son or brother of Reuben, old enough to work for a living and to be paid wages, which included board and lodging (or maybe brother or nephew of Julia Ann.).

[4/4] Linton SNAPP, 31, constable, $3200; Susan R., 25; James L., 3, Katherine ROBY, 35; Amelia, 14, F.L. JOHNSON, 17, in school.

[5/5] Brinton HARRIS, 27, farmer, $600, married during year (1850); Z.E., 21. (He was a son of Simon HARRIS, and his wife Zilpha Elgira ROBY, daughter of Lawrence.)

[6/6] Austin HOUGH, 36, blacksmith, $500; Mary J., 29, (daughter of Wm. NEWKIRK); William H., 10; John Irving; 8; Charles, 5 ; two in school.

[7/7] Sam'l B. SMITH, 50, Va., farmer, $3000; (no wife named); Joseph O., 21, farmer, $2800, in school.

[8/8] Luncia? GILBERT, 48, KY.; Labirtha, 19, in school; Mary A., 15

[9/9] John HUMPHREY 88, Va., farmer, $5000; Susan R., 5, Ky.

[10/10] Martin FIDDLER, 45,. Ky., blacksmith, $200; Fannie, 47, (daughter of David TYLER), Sarah, 14; William, 13; Squire, 11; Caroline, 8, in school.

Census Page 2

[11/11] William SMITH, 47 Ky., merchant, $2400; Bertha (SNAPP), 44; Samuel, 16, carpenter; E.S., 12; Mary A., 9; Laura, 7, in school; James H., 2; James A. GRAVENS, 29, Va., clerk.

[12/12] John O'NEAL, 33,, plasterer. $1200; Catherine, 22; Linton, 6; Julia, 4; Tom S., 2; John MILLER, 24, laborer, Jas. W. SIMPSON, 21, carpenter, $2000; Lafinellar LeBRITTON, 35, France, farmer.

[13/13] Josephus McDONALD, 74, Md., farmer, $2000; Elizabeth, 75, Md.; Elizabeth BASS, 13, Ky.; Charles McDONALD, 9, Cincinnati, Ohio.

(to be continued)

This project is presented here with the kind permission of Betty Darnell, and The Pioneer News.

If you, the reader, have an interest in any particular part of our county history, and wish to contribute to this effort, use the form on our Contact Us page to send us your comments about this, or any Bullitt County History page. We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you feel that we have misspoken at any point, please feel free to point this out to us.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/bd/49-04-15.html