From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Lewis, Jane Serena, and William Isaac Rhue

Jane Serena Lewis, from Kentucky, and William Isaac Rhue had been slaves. When they met, they were among a group of slaves escaping to the north. The couple took refuge in the African American community in Marshall, MI, that was the home of others who had escaped from slavery in Kentucky. One of the more noted families was Adam and Sarah Crosswhite, escaped slaves from Carroll County, KY, who had run away with their four children in 1844 and were assisted through the Underground Railroad to Marshall, MI. Jane S. Lewis and William I. Rhue had also arrived in the 1840s. The couple’s daughter, Susan Angeline Rhue, was born in Marshall on February 15, 1848. Their son, Hezekiah Rhue, was born in Marshall on June 22, 1851 [sources: Susan Rhue and Hezekiah Rhue are indexed in “Ontario Deaths” in FamilySearch]. Marshall, MI, would not continue as a safe haven for escaped slaves; the Crosswhite family had moved on to Canada in 1847 after slave catchers attempted to take them back to Kentucky. Freedom became even more perilous with the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required the return of runaway slaves. The Jane and William Rhue family also migrated to Canada and settled in North Buxton, Ontario. William I. Rue [Rhue] is listed in the Ontario Census of 1861 with a birth year of 1806. The couple would continue to build their family and had at least ten children (some sources say 16 children), one of whom was Hattie, born in December of 1863 [source: Canada Census, 1911]. Hattie Rhue Hatchett (1863-1958), composed the song "That Sacred Spot" in 1915, and it was the official marching song of Canadian soldiers during WWI [source: 100 More Canadian Heroines: famous and forgotten faces by M. Forster, pp.164-166]. Hattie and her siblings had attended a one room school that was near the farm owned by their parents, according to author Merna Forster. After completing her schooling, Hattie Rhue had come to Kentucky to teach in the colored schools [probably in Henderson, KY]. While here, she met and would marry Millard Phillmore Hatchett on September 7, 1892 [source: Ontario Marriages in FamilySearch]. Millard P. Hatchett (born abt. 1870) was the son of Miland and Mary Hatchett [sources: Canada Census, 1911; and Ontario Marriages in FamilySearch]. Hattie Rhue had been Millard P. Hatchett’s school teacher. The couple and their four children, who were all born in Kent, continued living in Ontario. Hattie Rhue Hatchett was a talented musician, composer, music teacher, and she wrote poetry. Hattie and her siblings' mother, Jane Serena Lewis, was born in Kentucky in 1827, and died in Raleigh, Kent, Ontario on June 10, 1903; and their father, William Isaac Rhue, died sixteen years earlier on May 21, 1887 in Raleigh, Kent, Ontario [sources: Canada Census, 1901, and Ontario Deaths and Overseas Deaths, both available in FamilySearch]. For more see Hattie Rhue Hatchett, 1863-1958: an interdisciplinary study of her life and music in North Buxton, Ontario (thesis) by R. G. Stewardson.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Henderson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Henderson, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Crosswhite, Adam and Sarah
NKAA Source: 100 More Canadian Heroines: famous and forgotten faces
NKAA Source: Hattie Rhue Hatchett, 1863-1958: an interdisciplinary study of her life and music in North Buxton, Ontario

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lewis, Jane Serena, and William Isaac Rhue,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 8, 2022,

Last modified: 2017-08-18 05:56:32