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‘Free Frank’ sold gunpowder to free himself, family

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By Bonnie Strassell

He came to Kentucky as a slave in the 1790s. After his daily work, his master leased him to other farmers and permitted the young man to earn a little of his own money. This young slave, Frank, was also an entrepreneur. He explored local Kentucky caves, collected niter, boiled it down to make salt peter and combined it with sulfur and charcoal to produce gunpowder.
Frank sold his gunpowder on the streets of Lexington, and was able to make enough cash to not only buy his freedom but that of his wife and a son.


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The Owenton News Herald | circulation@owentonnewsherald.com | 502-484-3431
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