2023 Historic African American Pioneer Family

The Hatcher family of African American lineage from Williamson County, Tennessee has roots that are deeply embedded within the College Grove, Arno communities. The Hatcher family lived in the 21st District between Allisona and Arno on Owen Hill Road. This remarkable family is traced to slaves Ned/Ed Hatcher born 1810 and his spouse, Maria. These two slaves were owned by a white slave owner named John R. Hatcher (1818-1857), son of William and Lucy Rucker Hatcher, migrants of Bedford County, Virginia.

Ex-slaves Ned and Maria Hatcher remained in the 21st District after slavery. Ned and Maria were the parents of nine children: Martha Jane, Almeda, Sam, Winnie, Meredith, Isham, Alice, Jacob and Susan.

Meredith Hatcher – 1854-1944

The most widely known of Ned and Maria’s descendants are the children of their son Meredith Hatcher (1854-1944) and his wife Rosa Moss Hatcher. Their children were: Charlie, Andrew, John (“Johnny”), James (“Jim”) Marvin Sr., Clarence, Simon, Susan, Jane, and Sam. Meredith Hatcher’s second wife was Vinie Starnes Reams Hatcher. His two step children were Manervie Reams and her brother Jessie Reams.

Meredith Hatcher’s grandson, Elder Jasper G. Hatcher, Sr. related these memories of his grandfather: “He was a good hearted man. Hard working man and he was… if he had a dollar he would save half of that dollar. He was very tight and he was a man, though, that you could love, and could work with. And he always had good advice to give you. He always talked about being productive and saving and putting up things for the rainy day, as he would call it.”

To grasp the true history of Meredith Hatcher and his clan, Elder Jasper Hatcher Sr. shared the following details: I was born May 6, 1929. My parents were Marvin Sr. and Era Emma Odell (“Sadie”) Kinnard Hatcher. My parents owned the farm where I was born. My parents had thirteen children: 1. James, 2. Laeunia, 3. Winnie, 4. Jessie May, 5. Willie Ewing, 6. Erlene, 7. Jasper, Jr. 8. Maudene, 9. Ester Lee, 10. Lawrence Buford, 11. Elliot, 12. Lorenzo, and 13. Marvin Jr. I was born on a one-hundred-and-eighty-three-acre farm… a family farm that three brothers… Marvin Sr. (my father), Charles and Jimmy Hatcher owned. At the time my grandfather Meredith Hatcher bought the farm it was unusual for blacks to own their own farms. A lot of blacks had bought farms, but at the time this farm was bought it was very rare. Because at the time this farm was bought, there was one hundred and eighty-three acres in the farm. And back in the 1920’s the price of it was twenty-five thousand ($25,000) dollars. So it was very unusual for a Black to be able to purchase that much land and borrow that much money to purchase a farm.”

Later, Rev. Jasper Hatcher, Sr. bought more land, plus the other heirs’ land and brought his total land holdings to 203 acres.

The Hatcher family has continously maintained the values of their ancestors. One descendant in particular: Rev. Jasper G. Hatcher, Sr. spoke the following excerpts concerning the values of his parents and grandparents. “They had strong will, they had faith. And they had hope and they had love. Now those things that I mentioned if we would do that our world… Our children would be heap better off if we had those things. They (parents and grandparents) had a will to live, to work, mostly to work. And they had love for the family. They had time for their neighbor…to help a neighbor. It’s the commandments, “If thy love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength and thy neighboras thyself.” If we could come to those…those two things would hang all other laws. If the young people just had a little of what our grandparents had and most of all honesty. That’s the trust.”

Rev. Hatcher was commerated by having a portion of the Murfreesboro Road named in his honor two years after his death. The unveiling of the highway’s historical marker took place on September 3, 2022.