Family Stories

William R. Letcher, Biography

from Mercer County, Kentucky – Biographies

William R. Letcher was born July 31, 1845, in Richmond, Kentucky, the only child of Dr. William R. and Ann M. (White) Letcher.  Dr. W. R. Letcher was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, June 8, 1794; was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was captured in Dudley’s defeat.  He received his medical training at Transylvania University, and settled at Richmond when quite young, and there practiced his profession all his life.  For his good qualities he had been frequently solicited to accept office, but declined any tendered to him.  He lost his wife November 26, 1845.  He then married Mrs. Ann (Douglass) Chenault, the widow of Harvey Chenault.  She gave birth to one son, James B., April 10, 1854; he died in February, 1881.  Dr. Letcher died in July, 1863.  He was a son of Benjamin Letcher, who married a Miss Robertson, and a brother of Governor Letcher, and his wife a sister of Chief Justice Robertson and of Governor Letcher’s wife.  Benjamin Letcher reared a large family.  The sons were William R., Dr. J. P., Dr. Samuel, Judge James H. and Dr. R. P.  There were four daughters.  The Letchers came from Virginia, and were among the early pioneers of Mercer County, but later moved to Garrard County.  Ann M. (White) Letcher was a daughter of General Hugh White, of Clay County.  William R. Letcher, our subject, was reared and educated in Richmond.  In 1863 he entered the county clerk’s office as assistant, and in September, 1866, he entered a dry goods store as bookkeeper and salesman.  From 1868 to 1871 he was storekeeper.  In January, 1871, he entered the First National Bank as bookkeeper, and afterward became cash teller, then cashier.  He remained in the bank until November, 1885, when he resigned and has since turned his entire attention to the breeding of fine trotting horses – Wilkes stock – also thoroughbreds, which he has been engaged in more or less since 1875.  He trains his horses on his own track, and owned and sold the famous Harry Wilkes, record 2:14 3/4.  Mr. Letcher owns 100 acres near the city of Richmond, improved with one of the finest residences in the county, and upward of $20,000 have been expended on the farm to beautify it.  He is also president of the Peacock Coal Company, Laurel County, Kentucky, and is a partner of W. R. Brasfield, of Lexington Combination Sales.  Mr. Letcher was married December 22, 1868, to Hattie Walters of Madison County, only daughter of Singleton P. and Minerva (Kikendall) Walters.  Mr. Walters first started a private bank, which he had converted into the First National Bank in 1870; he became its president, which place he filled until his death in February, 1885.  He was a native of Estill County.  The issue from the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Letcher was six bright and beautiful daughters:  Minnie W., Anna W., Sallie R.., Mary C., Dovey B., and Hattie W.  Mr. and Mrs. Letcher are members of the Presbyterian Church.  He is also an active member of the A. F. & A. M., and is P. M. of the Richmond Lodge and P. H. P. of R. A. Chapter and P. C. of Richmond Commandery.

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