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

African American Shoe Makers and Repairers - Danville, KY

(start date:  -  end date: ) 

In Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky, there were at least nine African American shoemakers when the census was taken in 1880. Though nine was a small number, the African American shoemakers were the majority of the 14 or so shoemakers in the city. There may have also been African American shoe shiners, but they are not noted as such in the census records; shoe shinning was often a secondary job that did not get listed in the census records. The making of shoes as a business by African Americans in Danville, KY, was documented a little earlier than in many other Kentucky towns due to shoemaker Reuben Cowan being a free man in 1860. His wife and children are listed as free persons in the 1850 U.S. Census, and they were among the 13 or more free African Americans in Danville with the last name Cowan. There were also 48 slaves in Danville owned by Elisabeth Cowan, Mary Cowan, and Henry Cowan. It is not known at this time if Reuben Cowan was among the 48 slaves own by the Cowans; his name does not appear in the census until 1860. In the next census, 1870, when African Americans in Danville were free, three of them were shoemakers with the last name Cowan; there was Reuben and his two sons, Edward and Stephen Cowan, and Timothy Masterson, Sr. When the next census was taken in 1880, the Cowan shoemakers were not among those counted in Danville; Reuben and Stephen Cowan had moved to Louisville, KY, along with shoemaker Allen Cowan who may have been a relative or he may have only carried the same last name. Allen Cowan was not in the business very long in Louisville, he died of consumption in the fall of 1880. Sometime after the year 1880, Timothy Masterson, Sr. would also take his shoemaking business to Louisville. By 1910, there were few African American shoemakers left in Danville, KY, and among them were Addison C. Jenkins and his father Joshua Jenkins, and Simeon Thomas. Of note is Joshua Jenkins who made a living making and repairing shoes in Danville, KY longer than any other African American. Just prior to Joshua Jenkins death in 1931, African American Charles Scott was also a shoemaker in Danville. By 1945, Silas T. Vivion was the sole African American shoe repairer noted in the business section of the Danville city directory. Below are the names of African American shoemakers and shoe repairers in Danville, KY, from 1860-1945.

NAME BUSINESS LOCATION YEAR SOURCES NOTES
John Baughman (b.1849) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Samuel W. Brumfield (b.1827) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Anthoney Burnside (b.1830) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Alex Burton (b.1832) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
William Caldwell (b.1830) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Roy L. Calhoun (1902-1950) Cleaner Shoe Shop - Danville 1920 U.S. Census Died in Lexington, KY.
Kentucky Death Certificate State File
No. 50 396 116,  Registrar's No.39
Allen Cowan (1844-1880) Shoemaker From Danville, KY. Lived in Louisville - 7th Street 1875 pp.167 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1875 Family listed in 1860 U.S.
Census as free and living in Danville, KY.
Birth year estimated as 1844.
Allen Cowan (1844-1880) Shoemaker From Danville, KY. Lived in Louisville -243 54th Street 1876 p.169 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1876  
Allen Cowan (1844-1880) Shoemaker From Danville, KY. Lived in Louisville - 33 Center Street 1877 p.159 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1877  
Allen Cowan (1844-1880) Boot and Shoemaker From Danville, KY. Lived in Louisville - 33 Center Street 1878 p.175 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1878  
Allen Cowan (1844-1880) Shoemaker From Danville, KY. Lived in Louisville, KY - 33 Center Street 1880 Kentucky Death Records Died of consumption in Louisville, 09/09/1880.
Birth year est. 1853 on Kentucky Death Record.
Edward Cowan (b.1844) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1870 U.S. Census Son of Reuben and Harriet Cowan.
Family listed in the 1850 U.S. Census as free.
Rueben Cowan (b.1820) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1860 U.S. Census Family listed in the 1860 U.S. Census as free.
Father of Edward and Stephen Cowan.
Reuben Cowan (b.1820) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1870 U.S. Census  
Reuben Cowan (b.1820) Shoemaker Moved to Louisville, KY
143 5th Street
1875 p.167 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1875  
Reuben Cowan (b.1820) Shoemaker Still lived in Louisville, KY
342 1/2 Walnut Street
1876 p.169 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1876  
Reuben Cowan (b.1820) Shoe Cobbler Danville, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Stephen Cowan (b.1849) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1870 U.S. Census Son of Reuben and Harriet Cowan.
Family listed in 1850 U.S. Census as free.
Stephen Cowan (b.1849) Shoemaker Moved to Louisville, KY
33 Center Street
1873 p.155 in Caron's Annual Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1873  
Stephen Cowan (b.1849) Shoemaker Worked with Allen Cowan Shoemaker in Louisville at 243 5th Street 1876 p.169 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, for 1876  
Anderson Gutherie (b.1820) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1880 U.S. Census Born in Missouri.
Addison Cheek Jenkins (1887-1965) Cobbler Joshua Jenkins Shoe Shop
118 West Walnut Street
1910 U.S. Census Son of Joshua Jenkins and Fannie Knox.
Left Danville and lived in Indianapolis, IN
[source: WWI Draft Registration Card].
Find A Grave
Joshua Jenkins (1855-1934) Shoemaker Danville, KY 1900 U.S. Census Kentucky Death Certificate File No.24169,
Registered No.139
Joshua Jenkins (1855-1934) Cobbler Owns Shop-Danville 1910 U.S. Census  
Joshua Jenkins (1855-1934) Shoemaker Owns Shop-Danville 1920 U.S. Census  
Joshua Jenkins (1855-1934) Shoemaker Owns Shop-Danville 1930 U.S. Census  
Joshua Jenkins (1855-1934) Shoe Repairer Owns Shop-118 West Walnut 1931 p.215 in Polk's Danville (Kentucky) City Directory 1931-32  
Henry Mack (b.1833) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Timothy Masterson, Sr. (1827-1910) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1870 U.S. Census Died in Louisville, KY.
Find A Grave
Timothy Masterson, Sr. (1827-1910) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1880 U.S. Census  
Timothy Masterson, Sr. (1827-1910) Shoemaker Louisville, KY 1884 p.512 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1884 Moved to Louisville where he continued to make shoes until about 1888 according to the city directory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Charles Scott (b.1913) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1930 U.S. Census  
Simeon Thomas (1842-1922) Shoemaker Boyle County, KY 1910 U.S. Census Kentucky Death Certificate File No.195
Find A Grave
Silas T. Vivion Shoe Repairer McGurk's Shoe Shop
114 S. 3rd Street
1945 p.107 in Polk's Danville (Boyle County, Kentucky) City Directory 1945  

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Louisville (annual)
NKAA Source: Polk's Danville (Kentucky) city directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Polk's Danville (Boyle County, Kentucky) city directory (serial)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African AmericanShoe Makers and Repairers - Danville, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 20, 2017, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/3150.

Last modified: 2017-08-19 06:21:18