Dr. Hezekiah B. Hankal (1825 - 1903)

Dr. Hezekiah B. Hankal

Outstanding Black Civic Leader, Minister, Physician, Educator


  • Dr. Hezekiah B. Hankal was born and reared in the Free Hill area of Washington County, between Boones Creek and Gray. He became one of the leaders of civic, educational, medical, and religious life in Washington

  • County and Johnson City. Dr. and Mrs. Hankal (née Mariah Netherland) are buried in West Lawn Cemetery in Johnson City. They had 10 children.


A Washington County Religious Leader


  • Ordained to the Christian ministry in February 1866 by Boones Creek Christian Church

  • Commissioned by the East Tennessee and Western Virginia Cooperation of Christian Churches to evangelize "colored" people in the area and to organize them into churches

  • Baptized over 400 people, many of them former slaves

  • Established Mt. Gilboa (later Lane Memorial) Christian Church, Bethel Christian Church in Jonesborough, and College Avenue Christian Church in Bristol

  • Established West Main Street Christian Church in Johnson City in 1869


An Outstanding Johnson City Physician


  • Successfully treated white and black patients during the cholera  epidemic of 1873 Served as advisor to other city physicians during the cholera epidemic


A Washington County Educator

  • Taught Johnson City "colored" students in a one-room log school on Roan Hill from 1869

  • Received state teacher certification in 1873

  • Was certified in spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, United States history

  • Held state certification to train other teachers in the Washington County public school system

  • Served as an unofficial member of the Board of Commissioners that served the County Free Schools

  • Was supervisor of the Washington County "colored" schools

  • Helped establish Langston Normal School (High School) for "coloreds" in 1893

A Johnson City Civic Leader


  • Elected to the Johnson City Board of Aldermen, March 23, 1887, the first African American elected to public office in the city

  • Served on juries in the late 1800s

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