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History Monday: Why So Named??

By Mike Watson

Gaither: This name is not a common one outside the Adair County area. It is a surname and may be found across the nation, but as a given name it is somewhat rare. The origin for Gaither as a given name comes from a single source--Dr. Nathan Gaither.

Dr. Nathan Gaither's home still stands at the corner of High and Greensburg Streets in Columbia, built about 1812. He was a physician and a politician in the early to mid-nineteenth century; a medical doctor who treated patients in Adair and all the surrounding counties; and also a businessman, owning various enterprises, but never quite making his fortune.

Dr. Gaither was an active politician. He ran for and was elected to the United States Congress from this district on several occasions and was active in Kentucky political circles as well as local affairs.

Many children born after the War of 1812, in which conflict Dr. Gaither was a medical officer, and right up into the 1850s, were named in his honor.

"Nathan" was not so often used as was "Gaither." I well remember several men with this name, but it has all but died out today.

If you have a Gaither in your lineage, your Gaither may have been named for a grandfather or uncle, but most certainly he was in turn named in honor of the doctor-politician.

Note: Several "Gaithers" had their names altered to "Gather."

This story was posted on 2020-10-12 13:50:59
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