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

Merchant, Henry Alpheus

(born: May 7, 1887  -  died: November 4, 1950) Dr. Henry A. Merchant was born in Carlisle, KY and lived most of his life in Lexington, KY. In 1918, he was an elevator operator at the First City National Bank in Lexington. He was deaf in his right ear.

Merchant was a 1924 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Merchant is thought to have been the only African American graduate in the class. He is not included in the class picture (online) in the CARLI Digital Collections. 

Starting in 1925, Dr. Merchant was a practicing physician in Lexington. During World War II, Dr. Merchant was a physician at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, MO (1941). By 1943 he had returned to Lexington and continued his practice.

Dr. Merchant and his wife Nellie lived with his mother at 128 Deweese Street. He continued living at the home until his death in 1950. He is buried with other family members in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY.

In the local newspapers, Dr. Merchant's estate was said to be valued at $55,000. The estate estimated was later reported to be valued at $28,500 and the money was to provide a college education for two of his cousins in the north.

Dr. Henry A. Merchant was the son of Rev. Alpheus and Elizabeth B. Merchant. He was a brother of Jesse Merchant, Sr.; both were the sons of Rev. Alpheus Merchant.

Sources: Henry Alpheus Merchant's World War I and World War II Draft Registration Cards (Ancestry); Kentucky Death Index (Ancestry); 1943 Lexington city directories; "Dr. Merchant's estate valued at $55,000," Leader, 11/9/1950, p. 6; "Doctor's will directs funds for education of cousins," Leader, 11/17/1950, p. 17; and Alpheus Merchant, probated will, October 12, 1892 in Lexington, KY (Ancestry).

*This entry was suggested with supporting information from Delphine Ridgeway, church archivist and historian.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Nicholas County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Carlisle, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Entry: Merchant, Jesse, Sr.
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Merchant, Henry Alpheus,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-06 17:44:35