Ashland is aware of only two images ever made of the people Henry Clay enslaved. Left: Charles Dupuy drawn by artist John Neagle, 1842. Right: his father Aaron Dupuy photographed most likely during Henry Clay’s funeral in Lexington, 1852.
People Enslaved at Ashland
Over the course of his life, Henry Clay enslaved about 120 people of African descent. The men, women, and children enslaved at Ashland were more than tools to build wealth for the Clay family. They were human beings.
Historical records of the people enslaved here are often limited to documents relating to their labor or evidence of individuals being bought or sold. There are some written accounts, however, that give us a glimpse into the lives of people enslaved at Ashland.
Ashland was a 600-acre plantation where enslaved people labored long hours inside the mansion and on the farm. Every facet of life at Ashland was made possible by their labor, from the growing, harvesting, and breaking of hemp, to raising livestock, to cooking and cleaning for the Clays.
Enslaved families were always under threat of separation by assignments to work on different parts of the farm or, even worse, by being sold apart.
Learn More on our Traces Tour
On the Traces: Slavery at Ashland tour, visitors walk in the footsteps of the men, women, and children who were enslaved at Ashland. Learn how historians use traces of evidence to uncover their stories. Listen to the voices of those who resisted bondage and honor the memory of those who were forced to labor at Ashland.
This tour was made possible by a Local History Trust Fund Grant administered by the Kentucky Historical Society.
If you have an ancestor who lived or worked at Ashland, or if you have artifacts, documents, or photos, please contact our Curator, Eric Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-266-8581 x 203
Names of People Enslaved at Ashland
We know that Henry Clay enslaved at least 122 people here at Ashland. We honor their names, their labor, and hope to learn more of their stories through ongoing research.
“Billy or Butler”
Mary Ann Dupuy
Tom Baltimore and wife
“Young boy at the breast”
“Old negro woman”