Hilary W. Key

Influential pastor of Key Memorial United Methodist Church

Hilary W. Key was the church's second minister and was born into slavery on December 24th, 1833. He served in the Civil War with Company B of the the United States Colored Troops 30th Infantry Regiment. He enlisted on February 9, 1864 and was mustered out on December 10, 1865.

Hilary W. Key was not only the second minister for the Key United Methodist Church, but an important figure for the Methodist Community in Tennessee and one of the founders of the Central Tennessee College, which operated during 1865-1925 ( changed its name to Walden University in 1900). One of the departments of the school became the first black medical school in the South, Meharry Medical College, which still exists today in Nashville. The rest of the university became part of Trevecca Nazerene University.

Key is also memorialized in Gallatin, his hometown, at the Key-Stewart United Methodist Church and in Hartsville, Tennessee with Key Methodist. He passed away on July 14th , 1912. As local historian and minister Melvin E. Hughes Sr. states about Key, “ He not only inspired many young people to pursue an education, but he contributed financially to make such opportunities possible.”