From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Honrodez, Ogarita (Emma Hatcher) (Emma Slaughter)

(born: 1860) 

"Miss Hatcher's right name is Ogarita Honrodez." --Source: "Ogarita Honrodez," Western Appeal, 10/06/1888, front page.

Emma Hatcher is said to have been a young child when she arrived in Kentucky from Sonora, Mexico. According to various versions of her life story, her name had been Ogarita Honrodez, but was changed sometime after she was orphaned and left in the hands of an African American woman in Louisville, KY. Emma Hatcher is said to have made her stage debut as a reader in 1887. Hatcher/Honrodez went on to appear in a number of plays, including her own play, Lizette. An article in the New York Age newspaper predicted that she would go far in her acting career. For more see A History of African American Theatre, by E. Hill.

There have been many written stories as to how Ogarita Honrodez came to be the orphan Emma Slaughter, turned Emma Hatcher. Some of the stories are more grandiose than others. One documented fact is that an Emma Slaughter was enumerated as the 10 year old, mulatto daughter of Sarah Slaughter in the 1870 U.S. Census. Kentucky was listed as her birth location. There is no mention of her being Mexican or Native American.

Though, according to the biography that was printed in the Western Appeal newspaper in 1888, Ogarita Honrodez was born near the Gulf of Mexico around 1864. Her father was Alfonso Honrodez (Mexican) and her mother was the daughter of Chief Saquoia (Native American). Alfonso Honrodez came to the U.S. and was a captain in a New York Volunteer Regiment. He was fatally wounded and died at the New Orleans military hospital before his wife arrived in the U.S. Ogarita Honrodez was born during her mother's trip to the U.S., and soon after the birth, her mother died. Ogarita was placed in the care of the boat stewardess Mrs. Laura Clark, who at some point gave the baby over to Sarah Slaughter, an African American woman who lived in Louisville, KY. At the age of 18, Ogarita Honrodez left the home of Sarah Slaughter and began living with the Lawson family at 1325 Magazine Street in Louisville. She also began her stage career and was managed by Charles B. Steers. Ogarita Honrodez was married twice. Her first huband's last name was Carrol. Her second husband's last name was Hatcher and the couple had a daughter. Thus the name Emma Hatcher. --Sources: "Ogarita Honrodez," Western Appeal, 10/06/1888, front page; "Remarkably romantic," The Kansas City Times  (Missiouri), 03/03/1889, p.2.

Getting back to more sure facts, by 1910, Sarah J. Slaughter, the African American woman in Louisville and supposed caretaker, had moved to Washington, D.C. She was living with her son and daughter-in-law according to the 1910 U.S. Census. Her daughter, Emma Slaughter/Emma Hatcher/Ogarita Honrodez was not listed among the children in the obituary of Sarah J. Slaughter (circa 1840-1911). The obit was published in The Evening Star, 10/30/1911, p.7.

Ogarita Honrodez had been well established in her stage career when Sarah Slaughter died. In 1896, the Senora Ogarita Company played to a full house at the Biggerstaff Opera House in Edina, MO. The troupe performed "La Belle Marie." Ogarita Honrodez is referred to as the Mexic-Indian actress. The previous year, she was described as the only Mexic-Indian actress, and the most famous Mexican thespian of the day. In 1898, Ogarita Honrodez was said to be white and 29 years old when she married Charles D. Hatfield on August 22 in Maquoketa, Iowa. Hatfield was also listed as white. -- Sources: see the last paragraph under the heading "Local" in the King City Chronicle, 11/08/1895, front page; "The Best for years," Knox County Democrat (Tennessee), 01/30/1896, p.3; Iowa, U.S. Marriage Records, p.49- 668, line 13, For year ending December 31, 1898 (Ancestry).

Ogarita and Hatfield were billed as a comedy team in the Manchester Democrat-Radio, 03/15/1899, p.2. The following year they are listed twice in the 1900 U.S. Census. They were enumerated as living in Maquoketa, Iowa on the 6th of June, and both were working as theater actors. By June 13th, they were enumerated as living in East New Market, Maryland with no occupations. Ogarita's birthdate was given as August of 1869. 

The couple would next be referred to as the Ogarita and Hatfield Company. The company continued performing in the Mid-west and eastern states until around 1904 when Ogarita Hatfield began performing with the Arington Comedians. -- See the "Arlington Comedians" on p.9 of The Granger (Nebraska), 10/04/1904. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Orgarita Hatfield is enumerated as divorced and living in Chicago, IL. Her immigration date is given as 1879 and her occupation is that of a metaphysician with a general practice. Her birth year was given as 1872.

By 1913, Ogarita Hatfield was no longer on the stage, and was a lecturer in the Madame Hime [or Hyme] Beauty Culture Parlors in Tampa, Fl. -- See "Beauty cultue," The Tampa Tribune, 01/17/1913, p.13.

Charles Hatfield filed for divorce from Ogarita Hatfield in August of 1917 in Washington County, IL. The public notice of the pending divorce was published in the Nashville Journal on 08/30/1917, p.4.

In 1931, Mrs. Ogarita D. Hatfield was listed as an instructor at the Brewster Vocational School in Tampa, FL. Two years later, she and another instructor were scheduled to come to Kentucky to attend the Bowling Green College of Commerce for a special teachers' training course in commercial subjects. --Sources: "Brewster Vocational School," The Tampa Times, 09/08/1931, p.7; "Vocational teachers will attend college," Tampa Bay Times, 05/28/1933, p.15.

At this time, it can not be determined what portion of the early years of the Ogarita Honrodez/Emma Hatcher story are true. There are no children listed in the U.S. Census records with Ogarita Honrodez. Nor is it know if she was "passing."

*Racial passing - when a person pretends to be a member of another racial group. 

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The New York age (newspaper)
NKAA Source: A History of African American theatre
NKAA Source: Western appeal (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Honrodez, Ogarita (Emma Hatcher) (Emma Slaughter),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024, https://ukscrc001.net/nkaa/items/show/44.

Last modified: 2023-01-06 00:52:42