Hemingway: The man who never was

One of the busiest streets in Roxas City is Hemingway Street, where cars and motorcycles pass by every time they apply or renew their licenses at the Land Transportation Office-Roxas City.

Hemingway Street is said to be named after F.E. Hemingway, the Capiz Schools Division Superintendent who established the Capiz Trade School, now the Capiz State University-Main Campus, in 1917.

But was there FE Hemingway in Capiz history? The answer is negative.

To my surprise, there is no American teacher named Hemingway assigned in Capiz.

But upon careful examination, it appears that it was a typographical error. My finding was corroborated by Dominador Ilio’s Guerrilla Memoirs (1993) where he mentioned Hemenway heights.

So who is this Hemenway? Francis Ellis Hemenway was born on September 4, 1877, in Barre, Massachusetts, where he studied at public schools and graduated his high school in 1897.

He then went to the Amherst Agricultural College for one year, and he transferred in 1898 to study at Boston University College of Liberal Arts where he finished the four-year course in three years and obtain his Bachelor in Philosophy.

On July 23, 1901, the newly graduated Hemenway was one of five hundred plus American teachers who sailed from the United States to the Philippines. They arrived in Manila on August 21, 1901. Hence, he was one of the original Thomasites.

Later on, he was appointed as the Capiz Schools Division Superintendent from 1916 to 1918.

According to his passport application papers, Hemenway stands 5 feet and 8 inches, with blue eyes and a ruddy complexion.

Of many American and Filipino Schools Division Superintendents in Capiz, only Hemenway was given a distinct honor to have his name immortalized in a street in Roxas City.

However, with so much irony his memory was vandalized by putting the wrong person in his stead. Hemingway and Hemenway are two different individuals.

I urged the Roxas City Council to correct this grave error to give justice to a great man and a great educator who have lifted thousands of Capisnons from the bondage of illiteracy and abject ignorance.*