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Excerpted from: § 16. Illegitimate Children—Issue of Slaves, 1 Kentucky Probate Practice and Procedure § 16 (November 2019 Update) (6 Footnotes) (Full Document Not available)


ChildrenandParents SlaveryThe legitimacy of the issue of slave marriages was the subject of express legislation in the Commonwealth for almost a century. but was repealed in 1966.

Generally speaking, the effect of the repealed legislation was to make the issue of slaves legitimate and what the impact of the repeal will be is uncertain. The appellate courts of Kentucky have not passed upon the inheritance rights of the issue of slave marriages for almost half a century.

Under the now-repealed statutory law, customary marriages of negroes and mulattoes prior to February 14, 1866, were valid and the issue born to such marriages legitimate. If there was a succession of customary marriages, the issue of all of them was legitimate. Even without a customary marriage the issue of negroes who cohabited together as husband and wife prior to February 14, 1866 and continued to cohabit together until death or until June 13, 1910, was legitimate for all purposes.

Where one of the parties to a slave marriage subsequently married another person by license, the children of the slave marriage inherited only such proportions of the property of the marrying parent as the number of children resulting from the slave marriage bore to the number of children resulting from the marriage by license.  

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