An African American extended family poses for a photograph, circa 1870.  Graphic rendering of the text Rising Free, Free Persons of Color

Vibrant Black communities arise
from the ashes of slavery


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Free Persons of Color

Underground Railroad

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20th Century

African Americans in the 1830 Census

Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

The 1830 Census in Dauphin County shows a substantial growth in the free African American population in the county, and particularly in the town of Harrisburg. More than one hundred households in Harrisburg alone have been identified in which the head of the household is African American or the majority of the residents are African American. These are found on page four of the database. In Harrisburg, at least 46 households of white families also contained at least one African American resident, generally in the position of a household servant. Two enslaved persons are also enumerated.

This database identifies 779 individuals. Harrisburg historian and researcher Calobe Jackson, Jr. has noted that county census summary pages give the total African American population as 961 and then note later additions that bring the total number of African Americans in the county to 1025, a difference from these figures of 246 individuals. It is not clear why there is such a large discrepency in these figures.

1830 Census transcripts, African American residents

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3
Jackson Township
Middle Paxton
Susquehanna Township
Lower Paxton Township
Hanover Township
Derry Township
Londonderry Township
Mifflin Township
Swatara Township
Upper Swatara Township
Harrisburg, page 1
African Americans residing in white households
Part 1
Part 2
Page 4 Statistics
Harrisburg, page 2
Households of free persons of color
Part 3
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Additional historical data on central Pennsylvania African Americans

Dauphin County


Population Schedules of the Fifth Census of the United States: 1830. Pennsylvania, Dauphin County. Microfilm in the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.
Correspondence, Calobe Jackson, Jr. to Afrolumens Project, January 4, 2005.

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