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

Fletcher, Zachariah T.

(born: June 12, 1846  -  died: February 14, 1927) This entry was suggested by Nubia Lateefa.

Businessman Zachariah T. Fletcher was a prominent leader in Nicodemus, KS, where his home is still standing. Much has been written about Fletcher, some of which contains conflicting information. Fletcher was born in McCracken County, KY. He was 18 years-old when he enlisted in the Union Army in Paducah, KY on June 25, 1864; he served with the 8th Regiment of the U.S. Heavy Artillery during the U.S. Civil War. 

After leaving Kentucky, Fletcher and his wife and children lived in Junction City, KS before they arrived in Nicodemus in 1877. Fletcher and his wife, who was also from Kentucky, would remain in Nicodemus for the rest of their lives. Z. T. Fletcher is said to have developed the community's first school, and his wife Jenny was the schoolteacher. Z. T. also built the St. Francis Hotel in Nicodemus and established the first post office, serving as the postmaster starting in 1877. These were only a few of the many roles that he performed in the Township of Nicodemus. 

Some sources credit Jenny Smith Fletcher with the founding of the Nicodemus School. She was also a founding member of the AME Church, and served as president of the Daughters of Zion and Sons of Unions, a benevolent organization. Jenny's father was W. H. Smith, president of the Nicodemus Company that founded Nicodemus. 

Z. T. Fletcher's wife's name is given as Francis in the 1880 U.S. Census while other sources list her as Jenny. The family was enumerated in 1880 along with two sons, 8-year-old Thomas, born in Illinois; and 6-year-old Joseph, born in Kentucky. Fletcher's brother-in-law William Smith also lived with the family in Nicodemus; he's mentioned in the January 1897 newspaper when Fletcher's wife died of consumption. Z. T.'s son Joseph also died of the disease in 1895.

Zachariah T. Fletcher died in Nicodemus in 1927 and is buried in the Nicodemus Cemetery.

Sources: Zachariah Fletcher's record in the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles in Ancestry; Zachary T. Fletcher at the National Park Service webpage; Jenny Smith Fletcher and Z. T. Fletcher at the Colored Conventions Project webpage; "Postal changes," The Commonwealth [Topeka], 9/20/1877, front page; and Z. T. Fletcher on p. 3 of the Junction City Tribune, 9/20/1877.

Additional information about the early development of Nicodemus can be found in "County of Graham," Graham County Lever, 2/18/1881, pp. 2-3; "Historic Resources Study: Nicodemus National Historic Site," a detailed report of the Midwest Regional Office of the National Park Service; and "African American Homesteaders in the Great Plains on the National Park Service website.

See also "The Wife of Z. T. Fletcher of Nicodemus ...," The People's Reveille, 1/14/1897, front page; and Zachariah T. Fletcher at Find A Grave.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McCracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Commonwealth [Kansas] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Junction City tribune (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Graham County lever (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The People's reveille (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Entry: Nicodemus, Kansas
NKAA Entry: Nicodemus Company

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: First African American Postmasters in Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Fletcher, Zachariah T.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/300004674.

Last modified: 2023-12-04 21:25:10