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

Merchant, Jesse, Sr.

(born: 1878  -  died: May 6, 1959) 

Born in Winchester, KY, Jesse Merchant, Sr. was employed in 1909 as a pharmacist at the U. S. Food Laboratory in Chicago, IL and later moved to the Department of Agriculture. He was also a civilian postmaster for the 10th U.S. Vol. Infantry in Lexington, KY, and Macon, GA, during the Spanish-American War.

Merchant was the son of Alpheus and Georgia A. Williams Merchant. He attend high school in Lexington, KY. He was a graduate of the Pharmacy College in Louisville, KY. Merchant served as vice president of the Omaha Branch of the NAACP. He was also a poet; he was credited with composing "Back to My Old Kentucky Home" in 1906.

He was the husband of Gladys Merchant; the couple had four children, and the family lived on Wabash Street in Chicago, IL, according to the 1930 U.S. Federeal Census. Jesse Merchant, Sr. retired in 1950 from the federal alcohol tax unit, according to his obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune, 5/8/1959.

For more see the Jesse Merchant entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915 by F. L. Mather [available full view at Google Books]; "Black Pharmacists to Celebrate" at the Association Of Black Health System Pharmacists website (includes a photograph or Merchant);

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NKAA Entry: Merchant, Henry Alpheus

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“Merchant, Jesse, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-12-04 21:19:20