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

African American Shoe Makers, Repairers, Shiners - Ashland, KY [Nettie May Higgins Franklin]

(born: 1908  -  died: 1960) 

Below are the names and locations of African American-owned shoe businesses in Ashland, KY. Three of the owners were members of the Franklin family, and Nettie Franklin is the only woman listed. It was very rare for there to be a woman in the shoemaking and shoe care business in Kentucky. Nettie Franklin was in business for about 10 years, then in 1933 she was doing domestic work, and she was working as a janitor when she died in 1939 [sources: p.139 in Polk's Ashland (Boyd County, KY.) City Directory, 1933; and Kentucky Certificate of Death File No.196, Registered No.30]. 

Nettie Franklin ran the shoe shop from 1924 to about 1933. During this time, Nettie Franklin was a widow with a son named William W. Franklin and the shoe business was their livelihood. She had kept the business going since her husband's death in 1924. The shop was located on 29th Street and Nettie and her son lived at 309 Greenup Street [source: p.539 & p.266 in Miller's Official Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1930-31, Advertiser's Special Directory]. 

Nettie deceased husband was Edward Franklin. The couple lost a son shortly after he was born in 1915 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File No.29279, Registered No.153]. In 1920 the couple was employed by a private family where Edward was a butler and Nettie was a maid [source: 1920 U.S. Census]. Their son William W. was born around 1921. In 1922, Edward Franklin was owner of the Electric Shoe Shop on 29th Street, and at that same address, Fred Alfred ran the shoe shine parlor [source: p.144 & p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923]. Edward Franklin had run a pool parlor in 1908.

Edward Franklin was the son of Richard and Amanda Cockrell Franklin [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File No.829, Registered No.108]. The father, Richard Franklin, had been a shoemaker and repaired shoes since the 1800s. In 1930, both he and Nettie Franklin had shoe shops on 22nd Street. Nettie May Higgins Franklin was the daughter of Serenia Lindon and Alex Higgins, the family was from Wolfe County, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File No.196, Registered No.30]. 

Another shoe business in Ashland was the Keeton Shoe Shop, the longest owned African American shoe repair shop in Boyd County, having opened around 1908 with Rev. Harry T. Keeton as the proprietor up to about 1947. Rev. Keaton was also a shoe repairer and a minister in Maysville, KY. The Ashland shoe shop was taken over by James Keeton and Aaron Keeton, both were there in the 1960s. The Keeton Shoe Shop was open for more than 50 years.

*There were two women named Nettie Franklin in Ashland, KY in the 1930s and both had a son named William, one of the women was African American and she is the one being referred to in this entry.

**Edward Franklin and William Edgar Franklin were brothers. Their names are continuously mixed up in the census records and in the Ashland city directories.

***Starting around 1933, the Ashland city directories no longer indicated the race of individuals or businesses.

NAME BUSINESS LOCATION YEAR SOURCES NOTES
Fred Alfred (b.1889) Shoemaker Ashland 1920 U.S. Census  
Fred Alfred (b.1889) Shoe Shine Parlor 309 29th Street 1922 p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923  
Cut Rate Shoe Repairing Shoemaker & Repairer 309 E. Greenup Avenue 1922 p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923  
Electric Shoe Shop [Edward Franklin (1886-1924)] Shoemaker & Repairer 309 29th Street 1922 p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923 Find A Grave
George G. Banks (b.1887) Shoe Shining Parlor 119 Fifteenth Street 1908 p.259 in The Marion Directory Company's Directory of Ashland and Boyd County Gazetteer for the year 1908-1909  
Thomas R. Foley (1872-1924) Shoemaker Ashland 1920 U.S. Census  
Thomas R. Foley (1872-1924) Keeton Shoe Shop Ashland 1922 p.143 Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923; Kentucky Death Certificate File #5346, Registered #65 Find A Grave
Nettie Franklin (1893-1939) Shoemaker & Repairer 315 29th Street 1930 p.539 in Miller's Official Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1930-31, Advertiser's Special Directory Find A Grave
Richard Franklin (1858-1933) Shoemaker & Repairer 311 22nd Street 1915 p.363 in Ashland-Catlettsburg, Ky City Directory, 1915 Find A Grave
Richard Franklin (1858-1933) Shoemaker & Repairer 323 22nd Street 1930 p.539 in Miller's Official Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1930-31, Advertiser's Special Directory  
Willie Jones (b.1888) Shoe Shiner Ashland 1920 U.S. Census  
Aaron W. Keeton (1902-1967) Shoemaker Ashland 1930 U.S. Census  
Aaron W. Keeton (1902-1967) Harry T. Keeton Shoe Repair Shop 140 16th Street 1933 p.193 Polk's Ashland City Directory, 1933  
Aaron W. Keeton (1902-1967) Keeton Shoe Shop Ashland 1960 p.206 in Polk's Ashland (Boyd County, Ky.) City Directory, 1960; Kentucky Death Index Find A Grave
Harry T. Keeton (1880-1973) Shoe Shop 316 13th Street 1908 p.260 in The Marion Directory Company's Directory of Ashland and Boyd County Gazetteer for the year 1908-1909 Find A Grave
Harry T. Keeton (1880-1973) Shoemaker & Repairer 224 W. Winchester Avenue 1917 p.352 in Ashland-Catlettsburg, Ky City Directory, 1917-18  
Harry T. Keeton (1880-1973) Shoemaker & Repairer 112 26th Street (Cattletsburg) 1922 p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923  
Keeton's Shoe Shop Shoemaker & Repairer 116 16th Street 1922 p.309 in Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1922-1923  
James Ethaniel Keeton, Sr. (1909-1982) Harry T. Keeton Shoe Repair Shop 140 16th Street 1930 p.311 in Miller's Ashland, Kentucky City Directory, 1930-31 Find A Grave
James E. Keeton, Sr. (1909-1982) Keeton Shoe Shop Ashland 1960 p.206 in Polk's Ashland (Boyd County, Ky.) City Directory, 1960  
William Pippin (b.1909) Shoe Shiner Ashland 1930 U.S. Census  
Charles J. Smith, Jr. (b.1880) Keeton Shoe Shop Greenup Avenue 1917 p.249 in Ashland-Catlettsburg, Ky. City Directory, 1917-18  
Charles J. Smith, Jr. (b.1880) Shoemaker Ashland 1920 U.S. Census  
French Smith (b.1884) Shoe Shiner Cattletsburg 1920 U.S. Census  
John Smith (b.1892) Shoemaker Ashland 1930 U.S. Census  
Alexander S. Walker Shoe Shop Winchester Avenue 1908 p.260 in The Marion Directory Company's Directory of Ashland and Boyd County Gazetteer for the year 1908-1909  

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyd County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Wolfe County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mason County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Ashland, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Catlettsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Maysville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Polk's Ashland (Boyd County, KY.) city directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Miller's official Ashland, Kentucky city directory, 1930-31, advertiser's special directory
NKAA Source: Ashland, Kentucky city directory, 1922-1923
NKAA Source: The Marion Directory Company's directory of Ashland and Boyd County gazetteer for the year 1908-1909
NKAA Source: Ashland-Catlettsburg, Ky city directory

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  African American Shoe Makers, Repairers, Shiners - Lexington, KY [John B. and Ella B. Thomas] [Rev. Titus Buckner]
NKAA Entry:  African American Shoe Makers, Repairers, Shiners - Maysville, KY

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African AmericanShoe Makers, Repairers, Shiners - Ashland, KY [Nettie May Higgins Franklin],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 26, 2017, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/3110.

Last modified: 2017-08-24 17:52:57