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

Hathaway, Robert Elijah

(born: 1842  -  died: 1923) 

This entry was submitted by Yvonne Giles, based on information from her research.

 Born in Nicholas County, KY on June 25, 1842, Robert Elijah Hathaway was enslaved by Senator Garrett Davis of Bourbon County, KY. Hathaway escaped from Davis,and on June 6, 1864 joined the U.S. Colored Troops, Co. B, 100th Infantry Regiment. "His regiment was engaged in repulsive action against John Bell Hood in Tennessee [in] December 1864." After receiving an honorable discharge, Hathawaymade his way to Lexington, KY on January 1, 1866 to live with his mother Easter Jackson and stepfather Isham Jackson.

Robert Hathaway was a founding member of the Kentucky State Benevolent Society, the organization that founded the First Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky in 1866. He was a minister who served at the following Disciples of Christ Churches in Kentucky: Midway in Woodford County, Little Rock (39 years) in Bourbon County, and Germantown (27 years) in Mason County. He also served as an elder at East Second Street Christian Church in Lexington. He was co-organizer of the 1872 Convention of Negro Disciples, Church of Christ and served as president of the State Convention in 1902.

He was also active on the local level. "News articles listed R. E. Hathaway as one of the committee members who consistently questioned the actions of the City Commissioners regarding the money voted on for establishing park facilities for the colored people. A tribute, following Robert E. Hathaway's death on March 2, 1923, credited him with the securing of Douglass Park and Booker T. Washington School, as well as the founding of the Colored Civic League."

VFW Post #1096 is named in his honor. Hathaway was also a member and the commander of the Charles Sumner Post No. 61 (1913-1916). He was a member of the Masonic Sardis Lodge No. 8 and a member (1898) and president (1904 & 1912) of the Emancipation League in Lexington.

Robert E. Hathaway was the husband of Rachel Scott of Lexington; they were the parents of Fannie, Isaac, and Eva. Rachel Scott Hathaway died in July of 1874. Robert next married Amanda Newman of Carlisle, KY. Robert and Amanda Newman Hathaway are buried next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington. Rachel Scott Hathaway is buried in African Cemetery No.2 in Lexington.


Lexington City Directories from 1875-1928.

U.S. Federal Census records from 1870-1920.

"Tribute to R.E. Hathaway," Lexington Leader, p. 2, sec C 8, 3/8/1923.

U.S. Descriptive List of Colored Volunteer Army Soldiers, 1864.

Fayette Circuit Court, 7/9/1868, case #2055.

"Rachel Scott" in the Colored Marriage Record, Fayette County, B1, p. 256, 12/27/1869.

"Amanda Newman" in Colored Marriage Record, Nicholas County, B#2, p. 174, 9/10/1895.

USCT Pension Certificate #446256, 5/4/1898.

Kentucky Christian Evangel, Church of Christ Archive records, Nashville, TN (2015).

Fayette County Circuit Records, Book #23, p. 32, July 1883.

Proceedings of the 1st Convention of Colored Men in Kentucky, p. 32, 1866.

Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925, by Claude Walker, 1959 Thesis, College of the Bible, Lexington, KY.

"Christian Missionary Convent" in the column "Colored Circles," Lexington Leader, p. 3, col. 6, 8/6/1902.

GAR state encampment journals contributed Jack Mills, Elijah P. Marrs Camp #5.

"President of Emancipation Committee," Lexington Leader, p. 3, col. 4, 11/20/1904.

"President of Emancipation Committee," Lexington Leader, p. 2, col. 5, 12/29/1912.

Death notice of Robert E. Hathaway in Lexington Leader, p. 2, col. 7, 3/1/1923.

"Sardis Lodge No. 8 members to conduct services," Lexington Leader, p. 2, 3/2/1923.

"VFW Post #1096" in column "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, p. 2, col. 7, section 1, 2/13/1924.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Nicholas County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bourbon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Woodford County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mason County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Carlisle, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Little Rock, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Midway, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Germantown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hathaway, Robert Elijah,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-07-14 17:40:01