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<Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores>

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1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky
Start Year : 1940
In 1940, there were about 2,800 Kentucky-born persons in the shoe care business, and of that number, at least 277 were African Americans according to the U.S. Federal Census. Though sometimes referred to as "shoe shine boys," these were adult men and a few women, many of whom were supporting families. The number does not include self-employed boys and men shining shoes on the street. The 277 Kentucky African Americans in the shoe care business were employed in barber shops or shoe shops in Kentucky and elsewhere. They were few in number when compared to the more than 160,000 adults in the United States who shined, repaired, and made shoes in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The significance to Kentucky is that since the days of slavery, the shoe care business that was once dominated by African Americans continued as a base employment for African Americans four decades into the 20th Century. More than 7,800 adult African Americans made a living caring for shoes in the United States in 1940, this includes at least 277 Kentucky competitors during one of the toughest economic times in the history of the United States [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. There was the continuing economic depression and World War II was still in progress.  It would be another year before the United States entered the war after Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. The NAACP was pushing for the U.S. Armed Forces to be integrated. In Kentucky, it was the beginning of a wave of out-migration that would result in 13% of the population leaving for manufacturing jobs in northern states [source: A New History of Kentucky by L. H. Harrison and J. C. Klotter]. This wave would happen a little later for African Americans because discrimination and segregation barred most from manufacturing jobs in 1940 when 412 of every 1,000 African American men were still employed in farm labor [source: "Employment and education" on pp.509 in Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to present, v.1, edited by P. Finkelman]. There were 71 shoe makers in Kentucky in 1940 according to the U.S. Federal Census: 46 born in KY; 16 born in another state; 2 with an unknown birth state; and others born in Germany (2), Italy (1), Russia (3), and Sweden (1).  Lexington had led the state with the most African American shoe makers in the 1800s, but Felix Chapman was the only one listed in the 1940 U.S. Census. For individuals, the business had changed from making shoes to caring for shoes. From 1930-1947, there were little more than 100 African American shoe repairers and shoe shiners in Lexington. The business of shoe care would continue to change with continued northern migration, the U.S. involvement in WWII, and fair employment guidelines at the national level. In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) won his third term as President of the United States and Henry A. Wallace became Vice President. Keen Johnson (D) was Kentucky Governor and Rodes K. Myers was Lieutenant Governor. The annual average income of employed persons in the United States was $1,368, and the unemployment rate had been 18.26% during the 1930s [source: D. Petro, "Brother can you spare a dime? The 1940 Census: employment and income," Prologue Magazine, Spring 2012, v.44, no.1 (online at National Archives website)]. The average annual income for African American males was $537.45, which would start to increase after the 1941 Fair Employment Practice Committee was established to monitor the hiring practices of companies with government contracts [source: African Americans in the Twentieth Century by T. N. Maloney, an E.H.net website]. For more see History: 1940 Overview, a U.S. Census Bureau website; M. S. Bedell, "Employment and income of Negro workers 1940-52," Monthly Labor Review, v.76, no.6, June 1953, pp.596-601; The Path to Mechanized Shoe Production in the United States by R. Thomson; Feet and Footwear: a cultural encyclopedia by M. DeMello; and The Shoe Shine Buff: the professional shoe care book by J. McGowan.

 

Click on the links below for the first 74 names of 277 adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

Last Names A

Last Names B

Last Names C

Last Names D

Last Names E

Last Names F

Last Names G
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE A]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (A) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. 

 

NAMES                HOME LOCATION        EMPLOYMENT

Paul Allen           Taylor County, KY       shoe shiner at barber shop

Ernest Ayers       Newport, KY               shoe shiner prop. of shoe parlor

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE B]
Birth Year : 1940
The table below has the names (B) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                        HOME LOCATION          EMPLOYMENT

Robey Babb                  Indianapolis, IN             shoe shiner at barber shop

Carter Babb                  Indianapolis, IN             shoe shiner at barber shop

Harvey Bailey                Louisville, KY                 shoe finisher at shoe repair shop

Lamuel Ballew              Cincinnati, OH               shoe shiner in shining parlor

George Ballew              Richmond, KY                shoe repairer at Embry Shoe Shop

William Barnes              Trigg County, KY           shoe shiner at barber shop

Herb Bassett                Aurora, IL                      shoe shiner at shoe parlor

Baker Bates                 Cleveland, OH               shoe finisher at shoe shop

John Beamur                Taylorsville, KY              shoe repairman at home

James Beard                Louisville, KY                 shoe repairer, owns shop

Marie Beard                  Louisville, KY                 helper in shoe shop

John Bishop                  Dayton, OH                   shoe shine boy at shoe repair shop

Grandison Blakey         Louisville, KY                 shoe dyer at shoe repair shop

Irvine D. Blyote            Richmond, KY                shoe shiner

John Boggs                  Richmond, KY                shoe repairer, owns shop

Walter Boston              Augusta, KY                  shoe shiner at barber shop

Ed Bridwell                   Louisville, KY                 shoe shiner at a club

George W. Brown        Paducah, KY                  shoe shiner at barber shop

Lillian Brown                Louisville, KY                 shoe repairer at repair shop

Willie Brown                 Lexington, KY               shoe shiner at shoe shining parlor

William Brown              Covington, KY               shoe shiner at barber shop

William Burks               Frankfort, KY                 shoe shiner at barber shop

William Burley              Frankfort, KY                 shoe shine boy, private work

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky. 

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE C]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (C) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                     HOME LOCATION        EMPLOYMENT

Charles Cerd             Rome, GA                      shoe shine boy at barber shop

Felix Chapman          Lexington, KY                shoe maker at shoe repair shop

W. M. Christian         Elkton, KY                      shoe shiner at barber shop

Jim Clark                   Pineville, KY                   shoe shiner at barber shop

Raymond Clark         Pineville, KY                   shoe shiner at barber shop

Harding Clay             Frankfort, KY                 shoe shine boy at barber shop

James Cobb              Toledo, OH                    shoe shiner at barber shop

Mathew Cornett        Hazard, KY                    shoe shiner at barber shop

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE D]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (D) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                          HOME LOCATION         EMPLOYMENT

Reed Davidson               Kokomo, IN                   shoe shiner at shoe repair shop

Murry Davis                    Cleveland, OH               shoe shine boy at terminal

Joe Davis                        Lexington, KY               shoe repairman at public shoe hospital

Herman Dinwiddie          Paducah, KY                  shoe repairer at shoe shop

Harold Doe                     Berea, KY                      janitor & shoe shining at barber shop

John Douglas                 Indianapolis, IN            shoe shiner, own self

Howard L. Drane           Mayfield, KY                   shoe shiner at barber shop

Lane Dun, Jr.                 Allen County, KY            shoe black at barber shop

Flocy Durrette               Canton, OH                    shoe woman with WPA Project

Dan Duton                    Pikeville, KY                    shoe polisher at barber shop

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE E]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (E) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                     HOME LOCATION      EMPLOYMENT

Gaither Edmonds       Elkton, KY                 shoe shiner at barber shop

Eugene C. Edward      Palo Alto, CA             shoe shiner at Army post

Glession Elliot            Burkesville, KY          shoe shine boy at barber shop

Shelby Ellis               Portland, OR             shoe shiner at ???? station

Louis Elmore             Dayton, OH              shoe shiner at barber shop

Millard Evans             Knoxville, TN            shoe maker at shoe repair shop

Perry Everett             Cincinnati, OH           shoe shiner at cobling shop

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE F]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (F) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                          HOME LOCATION               EMPLOYMENT

Corneles Ferguson          Muhlenberg County, KY      shoe shiner at private barber shop

William Fisher                Louisville, KY                     shoe shiner at shoe repair co.

Nathan P. Fletcher          Rushville, IN                      shoe repairer, owns shop

Lowell Ford                    Metropolis, IL                     shoe shiner at barber shop

Fred Foster                    Green County, KY               shoe black at barber shop

O. J. Franklin                 San Francisco, CA               assistant at shoe shine parlor

Claude Robert Franklin    Louisville, KY                     shoe shine boy at barber shop

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky [TABLE G]
Start Year : 1940
The table below has the names (G) of adult African Americans born in Kentucky and employed in the shoe care business in 1940 [source: U.S. Federal Census].

 

NAMES                    HOME LOCATION          EMPLOYMENT

Byron Gaines            Dawson Springs, KY      shoe shiner at barber shop

Harry A. Gaines         Dawson Springs, KY      shoe shiner at barber shop

Major Gardener         Oklahoma City, OK      porter & shoe shine boy at shoe rebuilder

William Gardner        Chicago, IL                 shoe shining, owns parlor

Ray Gardner             Chicago, IL                 shoe shining, owns parlor

Henry D. Gentry        Winchester, KY            shoe shiner at Brooks Shop

Warren George         Middlesborough, KY     shoe shine boy at shoe shop

William Gilcrest         Pasadena, CA             shoe shiner at private practice

Robert Golden          Louisville, KY              shoe shiner at shine shop

Raymond Grady        Lansing, MI                shoe shiner at shoe shine stand

Fred Green               Lawrenceburg, IN        shoe shiner at shoe store

Robert Grant            Frankfort, KY              shoe shine boy, private work

William J. Griffith      Calhoun, KY               shoe shiner at barber shop

Arthur Grimmett        Cleveland, OH            shoe repairman at shoe repair factory

Woodrow Grissom      Adair County, KY         shoe shine boy at barber shop

 

[click here] for the accompanying NKAA entry 1940 - Shoe Makers, Repairers, and Shiners, Kentucky.

 

 
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

African American Shoe Makers and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, Prior to 1900
End Year : 1900
The term shoemaker was sometimes written as two words [shoe maker] in the early city directories. The making of shoes was one of the skilled labors performed by slaves throughout the South. Once slavery ended, former slaves used the skill in their businesses that were often operated out of their homes. The industrial manufacturing and mass production of shoes would greatly reduced the number of individual shoemakers. The names of the shoe factories, especially in Louisville, KY, can be found in city directories, along with the listing of shoemakers, both African American and white. In Lexington, KY, there was an abundance of African American shoemakers, and a few shoe repairers. They are noted in the directories with (c), (col), (cld), or (col'd). Below are the names of some of the African American shoemakers and shoe repairers located in Lexington, KY, prior to the year 1900. Practically all were born in Kentucky.

 

  • Sally A. Jackson was a shoe binder who lived on E. Short Street between N. Mulberry and Walnut. She was a free person and is listed in the Directory of the City of Lexington and County of Fayette for 1838 & '39.
  • Micajah M. Mason was a shoemaker who lived on W. Water Street between N. Mill and Broadway. He is listed as a free man in the 1838-39 directory, and in the 1859-60 directory when he lived on E. S. Mulberry between Short and Barr Streets.
  • Edward Oliver was a boot and shoe maker. He lived at 4 E. Water Street and is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory.
  • Parker Pee (b.1808 in KY) was a shoe and boot maker and lived at 23 W. Short Street. He is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory, in the 1859-60 directory when he was living on S. Main between Broadway and Spring Streets, and he is listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.
  • William Tanner, a shoe maker, lived on E. Short Street between Walnut and Bank Streets. He is listed as free in the 1838-39 directory
  • Thomas Johnson (b.1822 in KY) was a shoemaker on S. Broadway between Main and Water Streets. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory, and in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Isaac Robinson was a shoemaker who lived on S. Short Street between Spring and Jefferson. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory, and he is listed as cook living at 11 S. Broadway in the 1877-78 directory.
  • Moses Thomas, boots and shoes, lived on S. Short Street between Broadway and Mill Streets. He is listed as a free man in the 1859-60 directory.
  • Andrew Bryant, Sr. (b.1814 in KY) was a boot and shoemaker at Hunt's Row. He was born in Kentucky, and lived on High Street between Upper and Mulberry Streets. Bryant was married to Myra Bryant, b.1839 in KY. He is listed as a free man in Williams' Lexington [Kentucky] Directory, City Guide, and Business Mirror, Volume 1 - 1859-60 and he is also listed in Maydwell's Lexington City Directory 1867.
  • E. Dishman and Lawson Dishman were boot and shoemakers at 13 1/2 Water Street, both are listed in Sheppard's Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874. Ebenezer Dishman, Sr. (1818-1901) and Lawson Dishman (1828-1899) were two of the sons of William and Frances Dishman. Ebenezer was born in Fayette County, KY, and was the husband of Georgiana Dishman (b.1830). They are listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census as the parents of four children. Lawson Dishman was born in Fayette County, KY, and was the husband of May Dishman. Lawson Dishman was a shoemaker and a tanner. He is later listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82, as a shoemaker in Dill's Ally, 4th house west of Jefferson St. In the same directory is a listing for Ebenezer and his son James E. Dishman (b.1852). They are listed as shoemakers at their home 205 N. Upper Street. James E. Dishman was born in Fayette County, KY.
  • (1873 and 1874) Alex Burton was a shoe maker at 13 1/2 Water Street, he lived in Guntown. By 1880, Burton had moved his business and family to Danville, KY.
  • (1873 and 1874) Lewis Morton was a shoemaker at 175 E. Third Street.
  • Harvey Young, b.1814 in KY, had his shop at 159 Correll [Corral] Street. He was the husband of Susan Young, b.1839 in KY. Twelve year old Daniel Bell lived with the Youngs. They are all listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Harvey Young's business is listed in Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876. In an earlier directory, Williams' Lexington City Directory 1864-65, Harvey Young was listed as a shoemaker, with no race distinction, and his home was on Water Street between Upper and Mulberry Streets.
  • David French (b.1822) was a shoemaker at 112 N. Upper Street, according to Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876. He was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Hannah French, b.1835 in KY.
  • John Thomas (b.1857) had his business in his home at 206 N. Limestone, which is listed in the R. C. Hellrigle and Co's Lexington City Directory 1877-78. He was born in Kentucky, the son of Emma Thompson and the brother of shoemaker Charles Thomas [listed below].
  • Silas Crowders sold shoes and boots at 267 N. Limestone, near his home at 269 Limestone. His business is listed in Williams' Lexington City Directory 1881-82. There is an earlier listing for Silas Crowdus (b.1824 in KY), in Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876, he was a shoemaker located at 137 S. Broadway
  • Titus Buckner (1855-1936) was a minister and shoemaker, his business was at his home on Winslow Street between Upper and Limestone, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82. [He was still repairing shoes in the 1930s and is listed in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory 1931-32.] Reverend Titus Buckner was born in Fayette County, KY. He was the husband of Julia Buckner, b.1856 in KY, and the couple lived at 196 Eddie Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Titus Buckner was a widower by 1920. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, according to his death certificate.
  • Price Buford (b.1820 in KY) worked out of his home in Gill's Alley, 9th house west of Jefferson Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Shoemaker Evan Collins did business at the home he shared with Charles Henderson, located in an ally between Spring, Lower, Maxwell, and Pine Streets. Collins is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Isaac Johnson was a shoe repairer on Georgetown Street, 3rd house north of King. He is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Charles Skillman (1844-1888) made shoes at his home, 144 Lower Street. He was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Emma Skillman b.1850 in KY. Charles Skillman is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Charles Taylor and Charles A. Thomas (b.1862) were both shoemakers at 138 N. Limestone. Charles Thomas was born in Kentucky, the son of Emma Thompson, and the brother of shoemaker John Thomas. Thomas and Taylor are listed separately in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82, but with the same address.
  • The William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82 lists two John Toles, the first worked at his home, 80 N. Broadway. The second John Toles also worked from his home on Vine Street, 3rd door east of Broadway. The older John Toles was born in 1820 in Kentucky.
  • John Wilkerson (b.1832) made shoes on Broadway, 3rd house north of Maxwell. His home was on Limestone and Winslow. Wilkerson was born in Kentucky, and was the husband of Virginia Wilkerson, b.1834 in KY. John Wilkerson is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Nathaniel Wilson (b.1809 in VA) lived on Limestone and worked from home, the fifth house south of 6th Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
  • Shoemaker William Vinegar had a business on Cox Street, he worked out of his home. His business is listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82.
Shoe makers in Lexington, listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census:
  • Albert Diggs (b.1854), Sanders Diggs (1855-1898), and Edmund Diggs (1857-1912), all born in Kentucky, and the sons of Brooks and Emily Carter Diggs. The family of nine lived in Brucetown.
  • Jack Stopher (b.1845) was the husband of Minnie Stopher (b.1850). The family of five were all born in Kentucky, and lived in Kinkeadtown.
  • Shoemaker John Tobs (b.1820) was also a servant with the Wasfield family. Tobs lived with the family on Broadway.
Shoe makers listed in the Directory of African Americans in Lexington, Kentucky, 1893 by D. Y. Wilkinson:
  • Isaiah Graves at 29 Ballard Street.
  • Charles Green worked for F. King. His address was 24 Wickliffe Street.
  • William S. Irvine at 57 Megowan Street.
  • John Latcher at 55 E. Water Street.
  • Wallace Maxberry at 5 Drake Street.
  • Henry Nichols (b.1860 in KY) at 79 S. Limestone, he was the husband of Susan Nichols. In 1900, the couple lived on Corral Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census.
  • Isaiah Stone at 11 Blackburn Street.
  • Charles Thurston at 57 Megowan Street.
Shoe makers in Lexington, mentioned in newspapers:
  • George Robinson (1863-1911), a shoe maker who was born in Kentucky, died in 1911 after being burned in a fire at his home at 180 Locust Avenue in Lexington, KY. Source: Lexington Leader, 08/28/1911, p.1. Robinson was a widow, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.
[See also NKAA entries African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947; African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky; and African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky.]
Subjects: Businesses, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky
Start Year : 1880
The following is a list of African American shoe makers who were born in Kentucky and lived in other states. The information comes from the 1800 U.S. Federal Census, except where noted otherwise. [See also Kentucky shoe makers and Lexington, KY, shoe makers.]

Illinois

  • George T. Smith (b.1834) was a shoe maker who lived in Paris with his wife Jennie Smith (b.1861 in MS).

Indiana

  • F. M. Green (b.1844) was a boot and shoe maker who lived in Evansville. He was a widower with four children, and a boarder lived with them on 5th Street.
  • James Lee (b.1840) was a shoe maker who lived in Jeffersonville with his wife Amy (b.1846 in KY), their two children, and James' mother. The family lived on Broadway.
  • Anthony McDougal (b.1843) was a shoe maker who lived in Jeffersonville. He was the husband of Elizabeth McDougal (b.1852 in KY). The family of five and two boarders lived on Indiana Avenue.
  • Henry Patton (b.1858) was a shoe maker who was a prisoner in Michigan City.
Iowa
  • Philip Reeves (b.1844) was a shoemaker who had learned his craft as a slave in Kentucky. In 1900, he lived 211 N. Eighth Street in Keokuk with is wife Jennie (b.1845 in GA) and their son Wesley (b.1871 in IA). Philip Reeves is highlighted in a 1905 article in The Freeman, 10/14/1905, p.4. He is described as a popular shoemaker and shoe repairer at the business address of 317 Johnson Street.

Kansas

  • James Bradley (b.1845) was a shoe maker who lived in Atchison City on 3rd Street. He was the husband of Sina Bradley (b.1849 in KY).
  • Alexander Gregg (1824-1904) was known in Kansas as Deacon Gregg, he was a boot and shoe maker who was born in Kentucky. Gregg left Kentucky and first settled in Missouri, then moved on to Kansas where he was one of the founders of the Baptist Church in Lawrence in 1862. He was the husband of Mary F. Gregg (b.1839 in MO). The couple lived on Tennessee Street with their children, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see "In Memory of Deacon Gregg," Plaindealer, 02/26/1904, p.4.
  • John Page (b.1850) was a shoe maker who lived in Leavenworth with his parents Richard and Anna Page who were both born in Virginia. The family lived on Miami Street.
Michigan

  • Peter Fisher (b.1859 in KY) was a shoe maker who was the son of William (b.1815 in KY) and Harriet Fisher (b.1818 in KY). The family of six lived in Greenfield.

Mississippi

  • Tom Broadwaters (b.1841), a shoe maker, was the husband of Laura Broadwaters (b.1852 in LA). The family of three lived in Vicksburg.
  • Thomas Monday (b.1855) was a shoe maker who lived in Wilkinson County with his wife Nancy (b.1858 in MS) and their five children.
  • Thomas Payne (b.1825) was a shoe maker who lived in Vicksburg with his wife Eliza Barnett (b.1839 in MS). They shared their home with an orphan and three boarders.

Missouri

  • George Brenson (b.1816) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Judy Brenson (b.1813 in KY), and the family of five lived in Pierce City.
  • Newton Harden (b.1847) was a shoe maker who lived in Jefferson City.
  • Samuel Lewis (b.1857) was a shoe maker who lived in Jefferson City.
  • Jefferson Pierce (b.1840) was a shoe maker who lived in Joplin with his wife Sarah (b.1841 in KY), their six children and a boarder.
  • Presley Steward (b.1821) was a shoe maker. He lived in Linneus with his wife Ellen (b.1836 in MO) and their seven children.

Ohio

  • Joseph Grubbs (b.1828) was a shoe maker who lived in Xenia with his wife Eliza (b.1832 in VA). The couple lived on Lexington Street.
  • Albert Parks (b.1888 in Carlisle, KY) was a shoe repairer in Cincinnati, OH, having opened his business in 1922. He was the son of John W. and Laura Parks, and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Source: Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney

Tennessee

  • Charles Bailey (b.1822), a shoe maker, was the husband of Emily Bailey (b.1825 in TN). The family of six lived in Montgomery County.
  • Thomas Ball (b.1828) was a shoe maker who lived in Milan with two nieces.
  • A. J. Cox (b.1831) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Mary Cox (b.1836 in TN). The family of eight lived in Murfreesborough.
  • Ben Henderson (b.1844) was a shoe maker who lived in Chattanooga with his wife Hanah (b.1852 in NC), their three children, Hanah's mother, and a boarder.
  • David Masterson (b.1850) was a shoe maker who lived in Roane County. He was the husband of Charlotte Masterson (b.1856 in TN). The family of five lived on Lowly Street.
  • Daniel Settles (b.1829) was a shoe maker who lived in Nashville. He was a widower and lived on Cherry Street.

Washington, D.C.

  • Edward Bean (b.1851) was a shoe repairer who lived on 21st Street, N.W.

Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky [not Lexington]
Start Year : 1880
The following is a list of shoe makers from the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, except where noted. These are shoe makers who were born in Kentucky or lived in Kentucky. The list does not include those who lived in Lexington, KY, or those who lived outside Kentucky. [There is a separate entry for Lexington shoe makers before 1900, African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947, and for Kentucky shoe makers who lived in other states.]

Allen County

  • Berry Walker (b.1838 in KY) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Kittie Walker (b.1840 in KY), and the family of eleven lived in Scottsville.

Ballard County

  • Arche Booker (b.1841 in VA) was a shoe maker who lived in Blandville.

Bath County

  • Sims McElhany (b.1805 in KY) was a shoe maker, and he and his wife Fanny were also servants for the Crooks Family. They all lived in Tanyard.

Bourbon County

  • John Jones (b.1830 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Millersburg. He was the husband of Clara Jones (b.1830 in KY), and supported a family of eight.

Boyle County

  • John Baughman (b.1849 in KY) is listed in the census as a shoe maker who is crippled. He was the husband of Lizzie Baughman (b.1857 in KY), and supported a family of five. The family lived in Danville. 
  • Samuel W. Brumfield (b.1827 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Danville with his family of six. He was the husband of Sarah A. Brumfield (b.1834 in KY).
  • Alex Burton (b.1832 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Danville. He was the husband of Mattie E. Burton (b.1852 in KY), and supported a family of four. The family lived on Lebanon Pike.
  • William Caldwell (b.1830 in KY) was a shoe maker who was a widower supporting a family of five.
  • R. Cowan (b.1820 in KY) is listed in the census as a shoe cobbler who lived in Danville. He was the husband of Harriet Cowan (b.1823 in KY). The family of six lived on Lexington Avenue.
  • Henry Mack (b.1833 in KY), a shoe maker, was the husband of Mary Mack (b.1831 in KY), and supported a family of five.
  • Timothy Masterson (b.1832 in KY) was a shoe maker who supported a family of seven. He was the husband of Lucinda Masterson (b.1844 in KY).

Christian County

  • Jessie Hart (b.1855 in TN) is listed in the census as a shoe cobbler who lived in Garretsburg.

Clark County

  • Robert Banks (b.1830 in KY) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Anna M. Banks (b.1825 in KY). The family of five lived in Winchester.
  • James Robinson (b.1858 in KY), a shoe maker, was the son of Peter and Minerva Robinson. The family of seven lived in Winchester.
  • Jordon Stogdon (b.1837 in KY) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Lottie Stogdon (b.1847 in KY), and the family of eight lived in Blue Ball.

Floyd County

  • James Weaver (b.1873 in KY) was the owner of a shoe shop in Wheelwright, KY. He repaired shoes. He was the husband of Lucinda Weaver (b.1899 in VA). The couple lived on Otter Creek Road. [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]

Franklin County

  • Baker Clark (b.1828 in KY) was a shoe maker in Frankfort. He was the husband of Betty Clark (b.1832 in KY), and the family of three lived on Wilkerson Street.
  • Henry Rodman (b.1851 in KY), a shoe maker, was the husband of Mary E. Rodman (b.1858 in KY). The family of six lived on Clinton Street and shared their home with four boarders.
  • Benjamine Spencer (b.1854 in KY) was a shoe maker in Frankfort. He was the son of Frank and Caroline Spencer, and the family of seven lived on Clinton Street.
  • John Stanley (b.1840 in CT) was a shoe maker incarcerated in the Frankfort Penitentiary.
  • Henry Thompson (b.1848 in KY) was a shoe maker incarcerated in the Frankfort Penitentiary.

Garrard County

  • Dennis Brown (b.1800 in MD) was a shoe maker who lived in Lancaster. He was the husband of Neoma Brown (b.1802 in KY), and they had a son.
  • Henry Mason (b.1825 in KY), a shoe maker, was the husband of Harriet Mason (b.1844 in KY), and the family of seven lived in Lancaster.
  • Jettie E. Knox ( -1898), a shoe maker, Knox was killed by Lancaster Postmaster J. I. Hamilton over a loan dispute. Knox had come from North Carolina about a year before his death [source: "About 10:30 o'clock Wednesday,..." in the column "Lancaster, Garrard County" on p.1 of Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, 09/11/1896]. Jettie Knox was the husband of Ella B. Cook, a school teacher in Stanford, KY [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. The couple married in Danville, KY, July 28, 1896 [source: Kentucky Marriages Index].

Grant County

  • Hary Powers (b.1744 in VA) was listed in the census as a 106 year old widower who was shoe maker.

Green County

  • George Edwards (b.1843 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Greensburg. He was the husband of Esther Edwards (b.1852 in KY), and supported a family of seven.

[Harrison County]

  • Leander Agers (b.1799 in MD) was an earlier shoe maker and property owner listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. He was head of a family of eight, husband of Susan Agers (b.1803 in KY), with four sons who were also shoe makers: Wiley, Leander Jr., Peter, and Daniel Agers.

Henderson County

  • Leander Ward (b.1856 in KY) was a shoe maker in Henderson. He was the husband of Frances Ward (b.1856 in KY) and the family of four lived on Elm Street.
  • Green Willingham (b.1821 in KY) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Edy Willingham (b.1810 in KY) and the couple lived in Hebbardsville.

Hickman County

  • William Jackson (b.1849 in TN) was a shoe and boot maker who lived in Columbus.

Hopkins County

  • Miles Nourse (b.1832 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Madisonville with his wife Rachel (b.1840 in KY), their son, and a boarder.

Jefferson County

  • James Alcorn (b.1838 in KY) was a boot and shoe maker who lived in Louisville. He was a boarder with the Williamson Family on West Walnut Street, South Side.
  • Jerry Ballinger (b.1830 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Louisville. He was the husband of Mary Ballinger (b.1832 in KY), and the family of four lived on Brook Street.
  • George Bright (b.1844 in KY) was shoe maker who lived in Louisville on Floyd Street.
  • W. H. Hunter (1882-1938, born in SC) was a shoe maker and a shoe repairer, and a teacher. His shop was located at 1401 W. Chestnut and he advertised his business in the Louisville Leader. Hunter is listed in the city directory from 1917-1938. [sources: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1920, p.2238; Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1936, p.2662; and ad in The Louisville Leader, 11/10/1917, p.2]
  • R. J. Johnson (b.1854 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Louisville. He was the husband of Nannie Johnson (b.1860 in KY), and the family of four lived on Market Street.
  • Sam Mattingly (b.1827 in KY), a shoe maker, was a widower who lived in Louisville on Magazine Street.
  • Francis Smith (b.1835 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Louisville with his wife Susan Smith (b.1847 in KY). The couple shared their home with two boarders on Ninth Street, West Side.
  • Washington Vanduke (b.1805 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Louisville. He was a widower and lived on Oldham Street.

Jessamine County

  • Galvin Pugh (b.1840 in KY), a shoe maker, was the husband of Syntha Pugh (b.1856 in KY). The family of five lived in Nicholasville.
  • John Wheeler (b.1820 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Nicholasville. He was the husband of Luisa Wheeler (b.1840 in KY).

Marion County

  • Simon Irvine (b.1834 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Lebanon. He was the husband of Emma Irvine (b.1843 in KY), and the family of five lived on Chandler Street.
  • David Lee (b.1831 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Loretto. He was the husband Harriet A. Lee (b.1831 in KY).
  • Josiah Yokum (b.1820 in KY) was a boot and shoe maker who lived in Lebanon. He was widower who lived with his two young sons on Republican Street.

Monroe County

  • Jerry Kirkpatrick (b.1822 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Tompkinsville. He was the husband of Jane Kirkpatrick (b.1850 in KY), and supported a family of five.

Montgomery County

  • Anderson Taul (b.1853 in KY) was a shoe maker in Mt. Sterling. He was a boarder with the Everett Family.
  • Ben Tipton (b.1845 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Mt. Sterling.
  • James Willis (b.1840 in VA) was a shoe maker who lived in Mt. Sterling. He was a boarder with the Everett Family.

Nelson County

  • Hans Brown (b.1825 in KY) was a shoe maker who supported a family of eight. He was the husband of Adaline Brown (b.1827 in KY).

Nicholas County

  • Horace Baker (b.1839 in KY) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Sarah Baker (b.1840 in KY), and the family of four lived in Henryville.
  • Henry Lawson (b.1820 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Carlisle. He was the husband of Manda Lawson (b.1820 in VA).

Pulaski County

  • Henry Owens (b.1824 in KY), a shoe maker, was the husband of Silva Owens (b.1839 in KY), the family of five lived in Somerset.

Scott County

  • Reason Baker (b.1826 in VA) was a shoe maker. He was the husband of Lidia Baker (b.1829 in MD) and supported a family of eight.
  • Cupid Bradford (b. - d.1871) was a shoe maker who was killed in Stamping Ground, KY [source: Involvement of Blacks in Scott County Commerce by A. B. Bevins, p.3].
  • Henry Scott was a boot and shoe maker in Scott County in 1870 [source: Involvement of Blacks in Scott County Commerce by A. B. Bevins, p.3 {second pagination}].

Simpson County

  • Alfred Foster (b.1840 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Franklin. He was a boarder with the Creekmore Family.

Todd County

  • Thomas Johnson (b.1825 in VA) was a shoe maker who lived in Allensville. He was the husband of Sallie Johnson (b.1833 in KY), and supported a family of four.

Warren County

  • Thornton Cole (b.1823 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Hadley with his sister and brother-in-law and their four children.

Wayne County

  • Patrick Kindrick (b.1833 in KY) was a shoe maker who lived in Mill Springs. He was the husband of Marthey Kindrick (b.1840 in KY), and supported a family of five.
  • William Sandusky (b.1842 in KY) was a shoe and boot maker who lived in Monticello. He was divorced and supported a family of four, they lived on West Street.

See photo image of Benjamin F. Spencer shoe shop in Frankfort, KY, photo part of the Spencer Family Papers in Explore UK.
Subjects: Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky

African American Shoe Shiners and Shoe Repairers in Lexington, KY, 1930-1947
Start Year : 1930
End Year : 1947
By 1920, there were approximately 50,000 shoe repair shops in the United States. In Lexington,KY, there were many African Americans who supported their families as shoe repairers, shoe shiners, and shoe finishers. The making, repairing and caring of shoes were trades taught in Kentucky's African American normal and industrial institutes, orphanages, and schools for students with disabilities. During the economic depression, when jobs were few and the purchase of new shoes had drastically declined, skilled workers in other trades turned to shoe repair and shoe shining as a source of income. Very limited research has been done on these occupations, but very good documentation can be found in reference to Lexington, KY, and African Americans employed in the shoe care and repair market. Below are some of their names for the years 1930-1947. Many were WWI and WWII veterans. The information comes from Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directories, U.S. Federal Census Records, military registration records, death certificates, and other sources as noted.

[See also the NKAA entries African American Shoe Makers and Shoe Repairers in Lexington , KY, prior to 1900; African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky; and African American Shoe Makers from Kentucky.]

  • William Anderson was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop (1939 directory). William and Luvenia Anderson lived at 252 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • William E. Anderson (b.1873) was a shoe shiner for M. Churchill Johnson. He had been a porter at his father's barber shop at the corner of Main and Upper Streets, according to his WWI draft registration card. Anderson lived at 321 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory) with his father Will Anderson. [see also NKAA entry Suter Brothers, Barbers]
  • Robert Arthur was a shoe repairman at Ben Snyder Inc. Robert and Mary Arthur lived at 668A Charlotte Court (1942 directory).
  • Thomas Atkins was a shoe shiner at Woodland Barber Shop. He lived at 543 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Edward Bailey was a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1947 directory).
  • Roosevelt Ballard was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 389 Patterson Street (1945 directory).
  • James W. Beatty was a shoe shiner at 204 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
  • Benjamin Bibbs (b.1880) was a shoe shiner at N Y Hat Cleaners (1931 directory). According to his WWI draft registration card, Bibbs had been a tinner at State University on Limestone [now University of Kentucky], and he and Lena Bibbs lived at 167 E. 7th Street.
  • William Bibbs was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He lived at 716 N. Limestone Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Coleman Bledshaw was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. He was the husband of Artemesia Bledshaw, and the couple lived at 530 Lawrence Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Daniel Boone was a shoe shiner for Clyde R. Clem. Boone lived at 558 N. Upper Street (1937 directory).
  • Robert Brookter was a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman. He lived at 501 Patterson Street (1945 directory). [The last name Brookter was more common in Louisiana and Mississippi, than in Kentucky.]
  • Willie Brown (b.1916) was a shoe shiner at a shoe shining parlor in Lexington, KY. He and his wife Alice Brown lived at 374 E. 2nd Street. Willie Brown lived in Hopkinsville, KY, in 1935 (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • William Huston Bradshaw (b.1877) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 274 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory), and was the husband of Susie Bradshaw, according to his WWI draft registration card. 
  • Matthew Buckner was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Buckner lived at 448 Ohio Street (1937 directory).
  • Thomas Henry Buckner (b.1878) was a shoe shiner. He lived at 450 Chestnut Street (1943-44 directory). He had been a waiter at the Phoenix Hotel in downtown Lexington, according to his WWI draft registration card, and lived at 824 Charles Avenue with his wife Mollie Buckner.
  • Titus Buckner (1855-1936) was a shoe repairman (1931 directory). He had also been a shoemaker and was listed in William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82. Buckner was also a minister. Reverend Titus Buckner was born in Fayette County, KY. He was the husband of Julia Buckner, b.1856 in KY. The couple lived at 196 Eddie Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Titus Buckner was a widower by 1920, and Mattie Titus is listed as his wife in the 1931 city directory. Titus Buckner is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate.
  • Jesse Cawl (1911-1971) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop at 244 E. Short Street (1942 directory). He was born in Jefferson County, KY, and Eugene Booker is listed as his mother on the birth certificate. Cawl was a WWII veteran, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, on January 22, 1943, according to his Army enlistment record. Cawl died in Louisville, KY.
  • Felix Chapman (1906-1966) was a shoe maker in 1940 (U.S. Federal Census). He was also a shoe repairman and shoe finisher for Charles H. McAtee. Chapman lived at 366 E. 2nd Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory). He was later a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 545 Wilson Street (1945 directory). Chapman had been a chauffeur and lived at 336 E. Short Street (1927 directory). Chapman died in Bourbon County, KY.
  • Marcus Caldwell was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Marcus and Sarah Caldwell lived at 507F S. Aspendale Drive (1939 directory).
  • Robert D. Claybourne (b.1880) was a shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived with his wife, Lollia Claybourne, and family at 357 Wilson Street (1947 directory). Claybourne, born in KY, had been a shoemaker at a shoe store in Louisville according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Farris Craig (b.1890) was a shoe shiner for Fred D. Bostic. Craig lived at 352 Poplar Street (1937 directory). He is listed with his wife Anna H. Craig, and his step-daughter in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. He had been a porter in a barber shop owned by William Johnson in Lexington, KY, according to his WWI draft registration card. Craig was born in Danville, KY, the son of John and Jessie Craig, according to the 1900 Census.
  • Kenneth Craig (1923-1945) was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. He lived in Versailles, KY (1943-44 directory). Craig was born in Buffalo, NY, the son of Clayton Coleman and Roy C. Craig, Sr., and according to his death certificate, his parents were Kentucky natives. Kenneth Craig died of tuberculosis in Lexington, KY.
  • Joseph Davis was a shoe repairman employed by Samuel Bederman. Davis lived at 324 Hickory Street (1931 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 501D N. Aspendale Avenue (1940-41 directory).
  • John Doty was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 468 Kenton Street (1942 directory).
  • Loyal R. Drye (1901-1975) was a shoe shiner at Five Minute Hat Shop. Loyal and his wife Eliza lived at 178 Race Street (1931 directory). He died in Cincinnati, OH.
  • Jessie Edwards was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 327 Chestnut Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Ceola Evans (b.1913) was a shoe shiner at a shoe shining parlor. He and his wife Bessie Mary Spencer Evans and their two children lived with the Spencer family at 562 E. Third Street (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Alphonso Fair was a shoe shiner employed by William T. Hurst. Alphonso and Mayme Fair lived at 446 Ash Street (1931 directory).
  • Nathaniel C. Farmer was a shoe repairman at 306 E. 2nd Street (1931 directory).
  • William Fisher was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor. He lived at 197 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
  • Thomas Foster was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Foster lived at 313 Henry Street (1939 directory).
  • Lawrence Fox was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin. Fox lived at 427 Kenton Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Mitchell Garth (b.1881) was a shoe shiner. He worked from his home at 133 W. Water Street (1937 directory). Garth was born in Alabama, and had been a janitor while a boarder at the home of Samuel Young on Corral Street, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • James A. Graves (b.1891) repaired shoes at his home, 523 S. Spring Street (1931 directory). He was born in Kentucky, the son of Florida Graves, according to the 1920 U.S. Census. James Graves later repaired shoes at 211 Deweese Street (1937 directory). James was the husband of Abbie Graves. The city directory entry reads "Shoe Repair Shop, I Doctor Shoes, Heel Them and Save Their Soles" (1945 directory).
  • Patrick Green was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop (1947 directory).
  • Walker Green was a shoe finisher at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 726 Chiles Avenue (1945 directory).
  • Peter Harley was a shoe shiner at 164 Race Street (1943-44 directory).
  • Sam Harris (b.1880) was a shoe repairman at a shoe shop. He and his wife Deedie lived on 533 Jefferson Street in Lexington (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Samuel M. Harrison (1874-1951) was a shoemaker and shoe repairman at 535 Jefferson Street, and he lived at 533 Jefferson Street (1931 directory). Harrison was born in Fayette County, KY, the son of Martha Allen Harrison and Essix Harrison, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Cordelia Harrison. By the 1940s, Samuel Harrison had expanded his shoe repair business to include the making of artificial limbs (1943-44 directory). Samuel M. Harrison is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • John F. Holman was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 150 N. Eastern Avenue (1943-44 directory).
  • Henry E. Howe (1911-1984) was a shoe finisher at a shoe shop in 1930 when he was living with his grandmother Mary Howe at 275 E. 4th Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He was later a shoe repairman at 607 N. Limestone, and was married to Nannie Howe. The couple lived at 275 E. 4th Street (1937 directory). A few years later, Henry Howe lived at 332 Ohio Street (1942 directory) with his wife Louise P. Howe (1945 directory), and he was still repairing shoes on N. Limestone.
  • Alex Hutsel was a shoe shiner employed by Samuel Bederman. Hutsel lived at 350 Deweese Street (1942 directory).
  • William Irvin was a shoe shiner for Robert E. Parris. Irvin lived at 549 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
  • Christ Jackson was listed as a laborer who lived at 180 Correll Street [Corral Street] in the R. C. Hellrigle and Co's Lexington City Directory 1877-78, and he was later a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1939 directory). Christ and Lillie Jackson lived at 309 Coleman Street (1939 directory and 1940-41 directory).
  • James L. Jackson was a shoe shiner who lived at 217 E. 2nd Street (1942 directory).
  • Robert Jackson was a shoe repairman for Sol Bederman. He and his wife Annabelle Jackson lived at 219 E. 2nd Street (1945 directory).
  • Roy Jackson was a shoe shiner at 314 Corral Street (1931 directory).
  • Robert E. Johnson was a shoe shiner for Samuel Bederman. He lived at 436 Kenton Street (1943-44 directory).
  • Shirley B. Johnson was a paperhanger when he and his wife Sidney lived at 553 Ohio Street (1931-32 directory). Shirley Johnson was later a shoe shiner at O K Barber Shop, and the couple lived at 145 Prall Street (1939 directory).
  • Chester Jones was a shoe repairman at 559 White Street (1937 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at the Lexington Shoe Hospital (1939 directory).
  • Lloyd Jones was a shoe finisher and shoe repairman at McGurk's Shoe and Hat Shop. Lloyd and Mary Jones lived at 684C Charlotte Court (1943-44 directory & 1945 directory).
  • Oliver Jones was a shoe shiner at 371 Corral Street (1937 directory).
  • William C. Jones repaired shoes at 243 Lee Street. He and his wife Callie C. Jones lived at 923 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
  • John L. Lawrence was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. John and Mary Lawrence lived at 450 N. Upper Street (1940-41 directory).
  • David Lee was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 736 N. Broadway (1943-44 directory).
  • Spurgeon L. Lewis (1911-1985) was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. Lewis lived at 326 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory) with his parents, Henry S. and Elizabeth T. Lewis. There was a family of eight listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Joseph B. Lyons, Sr. was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Joseph and Sam Ella Lyons lived at 182 Eddie Street (1937 directory). They later lived at 507D S. Aspendale Drive (1942 directory). [He was the father of Donald W. Lyons, Sr. and Joseph B. Lyons, Jr.]
  • Robert Hamilton McClasky (b.1881) was a shoemaker at his home at 209 South Broadway, and was the husband of Clara M. McClasky, according to his WWI draft registration card. He is listed as a widow in the 1920 Census, he was sharing his home, 207 S. Broadway, with his brother John E. McClasky (b.1891) who was a shoe repairman. Both brothers were born in Kentucky. Robert McClasky was later a shoe repairman at 207 S. Broadway (1931 directory), and would become the owner of Tuskegee Shoe Shop, which had a separate entry in the city directory (1945 directory). The shop was located at his home. The directory entry reads "Tuskegee Shoe Shop, (c; Robert H. McClasky), 35 Years of Dependable Service, Shoe Repairing, and Rebuilding." He was the husband of Birdie McClasky (1945 directory).
  • Andrew McGee (1894-1942) was a shoe shiner for John K. Reeder. McGee lived at 346 Corral Street (1939 directory). He is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census as a barber. He had earlier been a porter at Wiley & Fields, at the corner of Main and Broadway, according to McGee's WWI registration card. Andrew McGee was born in Kentucky, the son of Pollie Lee and William McGee, according to his death certificate. He lived with his grandmother when he was a child; Jane Lee was a widow who lived on Constitution Street in Lexington, KY, according to the 1900 Census. Andrew McGee was a WWI veteran and is buried in the National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY.
  • Michael Miegel was a shoe shiner at Broadway Shine Parlor (1947 directory).
  • William Mells was a shoe shiner for Martin Berlin (1940-41 directory). He later shined shoes at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. William and Jean Mells lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1942 directory). Jean Hamilton Mells was a 47 year old widow when she died in 1948, according to her death certificate.
  • Thomas Mells (1900-1967) was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners. Mells lived at 122 W. 4th Street (1942 directory), and later lived at 248 Jefferson Street (1943-44 directory). He died in Lexington, KY, according to the Social Security Death Index.
  • Thomas Mullen was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 351 E. 3rd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Robert Mundy (1915-1976) and Thomas L. Mundy (1916-1983) were brothers, both were shoe shiners at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Robert was the husband of Ruth Mundy and the couple lived at 419 Chestnut Street. Thomas Mundy lived at 243 Ann Street (1937 directory). The brothers were born in Kentucky, the sons of George and Sally Mundy. The family of seven is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, they lived on Mary Street in Lexington, KY.
  • Edward M. Neal, Jr. was a shoe repairman at 508 Thomas Street (1937 directory).
  • Raymond Nichols was a shoe shiner for Henry Howe (above). Nichols lived at 738 N. Broadway (1939 directory).
  • Kenneth A. Paige (1903-1961) was a shoe repairman at 322 Chestnut Street in the 1930s. Kenneth and his wife Anna J. Paige lived at 219 W. 7th Street (1931 directory). Kenneth Paige is listed in the Lexington city directory for almost two decades, including his employment at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company (1942 directory). Paige was also a shoe repairman at Pinkston's, and lived at 351 Corral Street (1945 directory). He was owner of "Paige's Shoe Repair Shop, The House of Souls and Heels." The business was located at 211 Deweese Street (1947 directory).
  • Charles Palmer did shoe repairs at his home, 445 Chestnut Street. He was the husband of Anna B. Palmer (1931 directory).
  • John Nimrod Paul was born in 1885 in Russell County, KY. He was the husband of Emma Grider Paul, born in 1892 in Cumberland, KY. The couple lived in Russell Springs, KY, according to John Paul's WWI registration card. John Paul had a shoemaker's shop in Russell Springs according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. By 1930, the family of six lived in Lexington, KY, and John Paul did shoe repairs from their home at 457 Georgetown Street (1931 directory).
  • Felix Pearsall (1922) was a shoe shiner for Charles H. McAtee (1939 directory). He was the son of Katherine Pearsall who was a widow when listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Gilbert W. Potter (1910-1954) was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman, and he and his wife Virginia lived at 667C Charlotte Court F (1945 directory). He had been a waiter (1937 directory), and was later a porter at Drake Hotel (1939 directory). Gilbert W. Potter served in the U.S. Army during WWII, he enlisted in Cincinnati, OH, October 23, 1942, according to his enlistment record.
  • William Reed (b.1924) was a shoe shiner in a barber shop. He was the son of Susy Reed. The family lived at 349 Wilson Street (1940 U.S. Federal Census).
  • Albert Rogers was a shoe shiner at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Rogers lived at 230 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Jesse Ross shined shoes at N Y Hat Cleaners. He lived at 731 Whitney Avenue (1931 directory).
  • Paul L. Seals (1930-1985) was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe Shop. He lived at 500C N. Aspendale Drive (1947 directory). Seals was the son of Robert P. and Marjorie R. Seals, the family of four is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census.
  • Harry Shields was a shoe repairman. He lived at 248 E. Short Street (1942 directory). Shields was later a shoe repairman at Tuskegee Shoe Shop (1947 directory). He was the husband of Sarah Shields.
  • David Singleton was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. He lived at 248 E. 5th Street (1937 directory).
  • Jerry Smith was a shoe shiner at 118 W. Vine Street. He was the husband of Beatrice T. Smith (1947 directory).
  • John Smith repaired shoes at 401 1/2 Race Street. He and his wife Mary Smith lived at 562 Thomas Street (1931 directory).
  • Rudolph Smith was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 374 E. 2nd Street (1943-44 directory). He was later a shoe shiner at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company, and lived at 428 Ash Street (1945 directory).
  • Thornton Smith was a shoe shiner at 390 Patterson Street. Smith lived at 721 Noble Avenue (1942 directory).
  • George W. Stewart was a shoe repairman at 337 N. Limestone. George and Leona P. Stewart lived at 341 N. Limestone (1937 directory).
  • George A. Stone was a shoe shiner and a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Stone lived at 532 Emma Street (1939 directory), and later lived at 425 N. Upper Street (1943-44 directory).
  • A second George A. Stone was a shoe finisher at 417 E. 2nd Street. He was the husband of Rose L. Stone (1943-44 directory), the couple lived at 309 E. 2nd Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Albert Taylor was a shoe shiner. He lived at 133 Water Street (1940-41 directory).
  • Dillard Taylor (1884-1939) did shoe repairs at 801 Whitney Avenue. He was married to Lizzie Taylor (1931 directory). Dillard Taylor was born in Scott County, KY, the son of Litha Redd and George Taylor, according to his death certificate. He was buried in Georgetown, KY.
  • George T. Taylor (1900-1952) was a shoe repairman. He lived at 322 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). Taylor was later a shoe repairman at Third Street Bargain Store. George and Rosa Taylor lived at 316 Deweese Street (1945 directory). According to his death certificate, George T. Taylor was also a shoemaker. He was born in Macon, GA, the son of Eugenia and Lee Taylor. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • Ella B. Thomas was one of the few women who were employed as a shoe repairer. The business was at 337 N. Limestone, and Thomas lived at 341 N. Limestone (1931 directory).
  • James Tribble was a shoe shiner at McGurk's Shoe & Hat Shop. He lived at 753 Loraine Avenue (1943-44 directory).
  • Sanford Vinegar was a shoe shiner for George Miner. He lived at 477 W. 4th Street (1937 directory).
  • E. Waldo was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners located at 321 Wilson Street (1942 directory). He was the husband of Corine Waldo.
  • Joseph E. Walker was a shoe shiner. Joseph and Mozelle Walker lived at 157 N. Eastern Avenue (1945 directory).
  • Virgil Washington was a shoe repairman employed by Sol Bederman. Washington lived at 309 E. 6th Street (1931 directory).
  • Thompson Webb was a shoe shiner at Unique Shine Parlor. He was the husband of Hattie Webb (1939 directory).
  • Earl White was a shoe shiner for Sol Bederman. White lived at 702 Lindbergh Court (1940-41 directory).
  • Joseph White was a shoe repairman for Samuel Bederman. White lived at 343 E. 2nd Street (1937 directory).
  • Albert Wilkerson was a shoe shiner at State Cleaners. He lived at 413 Elm Street (1937 directory)
  • Jesse Williams was a shoe repairman at Harber Shoe Repair Company. Jesse and Clara Williams lived at 205 E. Euclid Avenue (1937 directory).
  • Jesse Williams, Jr. was a shoe repairman at E E Harber Shoe Repair Company. He lived at 248 Roosevelt Boulevard (1943-44 directory).
  • William Wilson was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters & Cleaners (1937 directory).
  • William Winchester was a shoe shiner at Lexington Hatters and Cleaners (1940-41 directory).
  • Harry E. Worsham was a shoe shiner at Lexington Shoe Hospital. Worsham lived at 445 Chestnut Street (1942 directory). He was later a shoe repairman for Mrs. Sadie Bederman (1945 directory).
  • Nathaniel Young was a shoe shiner at Martin's Barber Shop. Nathaniel and Luella Young lived at 108 York Street (1939 directory).

See 1907 photo image of shoe shiner on Lexington, KY street in University of Louisville Libraries: Digital Archives. For more information on shoe repairing in general, see The Shoe Industry by F. J. Allen. For more general information on African American shoe shiners see Encyclopedia of African American Business, v.2, K-Z, edited by J. C. Smith. See also Establishing and Operating a Shoe Repair Business by J. G. Schnitzer and C. R. Budd.


Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Russell Springs, Russell County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Alabama / Cincinnati, Ohio / Macon, Georgia / Louisiana / Mississippi / Buffalo, New York

Bradley, Mollie McFarland [Midway Colored School]
Birth Year : 1933
Mollie M. Bradley is a historian and writer who was born in Jefferson City, TN, the daughter of Leroy and Emma Cunningham McFarland. She is past matron of Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., P.H.A. She is the author of A Bright Star: a biography of Cecelia Dunlap, and she wrote several articles for the Order of Eastern Star publication The Phyllis Magazine. The magazine is the voice of the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc., which was organized in 1983, and Mollie Bradley served as the first executive secretary. The Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc. researches and studies the history of the Prince Hall Eastern Stars. Mollie Bradley is also a contributing writer for The Woodford Sun during Black History Month; her husband had been the Black History Month contributing writer, and after he died in 2004, Mollie Bradley took over the writing of the articles. Though born in Tennessee, Mollie Bradley was raised in Bourbon County, KY, by her aunt and uncle, Jennie P. Harris and Reverend James C. Harris, pastor of Zion Baptist Church [previously part of the African Baptist Church] in Paris, KY. Mollie Bradley is a graduate of Western High School in Paris, KY, and Central State University, where she majored in journalism. She was the wife of the late Walter T. Bradley, Jr. from Midway, KY; they owned the first laundrette in that city. Customers could leave laundry to be cleaned and folded, and the laundry would be ready to be picked up later in the day. Customers could also do their own laundry. Three washers and three dryers were available with a cost of 25 cents per wash load and 10 cents per dry cycle. The laundrette was located in the building that the couple owned and lived in, which had been the Midway Colored School, located in Hadensville from 1911-1954. The school had grades 1-8. Prior to being used as a school, the building was home to the Colored Baptist Church [later named Pilgrim Baptist Church], which had 900 members. The church building was constructed in 1872 by the Lehman Brothers, a German Company. The congregation outgrew the building and it was sold to Woodford County in 1911 to be used as the Colored School. In 1936, it was sold to the Midway Board of Education and became the Midway Elementary School for Colored children. In 1954, the school was closed and the children were bused to Simmons School in Versailles, KY. The Bradleys purchased the school building in 1959. They leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop. There had also been a lodge hall, lodge offices, and apartments. Mollie Bradley also taught piano lessons; her mission was to provide lessons to those who wanted to learn but could not afford piano lessons. Her husband, Walter T. Bradley, Jr., and their sons also played the piano. On June 25, 2011, the Midway Colored School was honored with a Kentucky Historical Society Marker. Mollie M. Bradley is a member of the Midway Women's Club. For more information read the press release, KHS to Dedicate Historical Marker to Honor Midway Colored School, 06/13/ 2011, a Kentucky.gov web page.

Access Interview Read about the Mollie M. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.

Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Communities, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Jefferson City, Tennessee / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Hadensville in MIdway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Bradley, Walter T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2004
Walter Thomas Bradley, Jr. was born in Midway, KY, to Walter T. Sr. and Sarah J. Craig Bradley. He was an Army veteran and in 1977 became the first African American on the Midway City Council. Bradley served on the council for 24 years. He was a past Grand Secretary of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Kentucky, and was editor of the lodge's newspaper Masonic Herald. Bradley was employed at Avon Army Depot where he was an electrical engineer inspector. He was the husband of Mollie McFarland Bradley, and the couple owned and lived in the building that had housed the Midway Colored School. Walter Bradley had been a student in the school, and purchased the building in 1959. He and his father did all of the repair work. Bradley and his wife leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop, and there was a lodge hall, and apartments. The couple were owners of the first laundrette in Midway. The building was also home to the offices of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. during Walter Bradley's tenure as grand secretary. Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was also a member of a male singing group from Midway, KY called the "Five Royalties of Song." He was a piano player, as is his wife and their sons. He was a contributor writer for The Woodford Sun newspaper during Black History Month. His wife, Mollie Bradley, continues to write articles each year. In 1989, Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was the first African American deacon at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. The Walter Bradley Memorial Park in Midway, KY is named in his honor. For more see "Middlesboro city councilwoman top vote-getter," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 28; W. Bradley, "Black Free Masonry's Founder Never a Slave," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/25/2002, Commentary section, p. A8; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1988-2004.

Access Interview Read about the Walter T. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Britt, Allen [Frankie and Johnny]
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1899
Allen Britt was born in Kentucky, according to his death certificate. It is believed that he is the character referred to as Johnny in the popular song Frankie and Johnny. The song, composed by Bill Dooley, was originally titled Frankie and Al (or Albert), until Britt's father became enraged that his son's name was being used in the song, and the name Johnny was used instead. Allen Britt was a piano player, he was shot on October 15, 1899, and died a few days later at the City Hospital in St. Louis, MO. He is buried in an unmarked grave in St. Peter's Cemetery in St. Louis. Britt was shot by his girlfriend, Frankie Baker (1876-1952), after the two got into a fight. Britt's name is also given as Albert in some sources. He was the son and only child of George and Nancy Britt (both from Tennessee), the family had moved to St. Louis in 1891. Frankie Baker, born in St. Louis, was acquitted of shooting Allen Britt and she left St. Louis, eventually settling in Portland, OR, where she shined shoes for a living. She had two unsuccessful law suits, one against Mae West and Paramount Pictures for the use of her name in the film She Done Him Wrong, and in 1938, she sued Republic Pictures for their 1936 film Frankie and Johnny. After Baker lost the suit, Republic Pictures claimed ownership of the story. Frankie Baker became sick later in life and also suffered from mental illness. She was placed in the East Oregon Hospital where she died. Frankie Baker and Allen Britt's family did not benefit from the popularity of the story "Frankie and Johnny." The tale has been song on commercial phonograph recordings and records, presented in plays, minstrels, in literature, newspaper articles, poems, paintings, ballets, movies, and all other mediums. For more see Hoecakes, Hambone, and All that Jazz by R. M. Nolen; Body and Soul by P. Stanfield; and The Devil's Music by G. Oakley.

See photo image of Frankie Baker on p.52 in Jet, 01/24/1952.

Listen to Frankie and Johnnie by Ethel Waters on YouTube.
Subjects: Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri

Cobb, Lewis Arthur Gill "Shoe Shine"
Birth Year : 1966
Death Year : 2009
Lewis Cobb was a modern day, professional shoe shiner who promoted his business in downtown Lexington, KY. [His first name has also been written as Louis in various articles.] Cobb was well known by business owners and others who worked or frequented the downtown area. It was a rare sight to see an African American shoe shiner soliciting business on the streets of Lexington in the 21st Century, most had disappeared during the early decades of the 1900s [1907 picture of African American shoe shiner on Lexington street]. Shoe making and repairs, and shoe care had been predominately slave trades in Kentucky prior to the Civil War. After slavery ended in Kentucky with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, African American shoe makers were abundant in Lexington. By the 1930s, there were more than one hundred African Americans in Lexington who earned a living as self-employed shoe shiners and repairers, or they were employed within businesses such as cleaners, barbershops, hat shops, horse industry businesses, train and bus stations, and shoe stores. When Lewis Cobb started his shoe shine business in Lexington, it was said that he could be controversial, often humble, and offered a bit of philosophy, therapy, and spiritual inspiration while shining an individual's shoes. Not everyone welcomed Cobb's presence and when authorities received complaints, Cobb was ticketed by the police for operating his business without a peddler's license. With the help of attorney Gaitwood Galbraith, the charges were dropped; shoe shiners are not peddlers. But that did not prevent Cobb from receiving tickets for jaywalking and other infractions. Over time, Cobb refined his approach toward potential customers, the ticketing eventually stopped, and Cobb became well known in downtown Lexington. Lewis Cobb had learned the shoe shine business from a professional shoe shiner in Washington, D. C who also went by the name "Shoe Shine". Cobb had moved to D.C. from Virginia. He lived in Virginia for ten years and while there he established Cobb's Cleaning Service. Prior to living in Virginia, he had earned a college degree in North Carolina. Cobb was a native of Lexington and graduated from Bryan Station High School. He grew up in the Charlotte Court housing projects [now the Arbor Grove neighborhood]. In 2002, Lewis Cobb returned to Kentucky from D.C. and began his shoe shine business that summer. Two years later, he met Erin McAnallen-Wilson, a University of Kentucky student who completed a documentary about Cobb's life. The film, Can't Stop the Shine, was shown at the Kentucky Theatre in downtown Lexington on May 25, 2006. Lewis Cobb was the son of Betty Beatty and William A. Cobb. Information about his life was provided by his sisters Velma Johnson, Valois Lewis, and Arletta Taylor. Articles about Lewis Cobb include C. Thompson, "Shoeshine pro becomes subject of documentary," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/23/2006, section D, p.1; and J. Brammer, "Shoeshine, well-known in downtown Lexington is remembered as a character," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/12/2009, City/Region section, p. A3.
Subjects: Businesses, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Davis, William Henry
Birth Year : 1872
Born in Louisville, KY, William H. Davis graduated from Louisville Colored High School in 1888 [later known as Louisville Central High School]. He taught himself shorthand and typewriting, then was employed by the law firm Cary & Spindle. He was also a private secretary for Louisville Mayor Todd and owned a thriving shoe store in Louisville. He taught typewriting and shorthand in the Colored schools because African Americans were excluded from the classes taught in Louisville. In 1899 he moved his family to Washington, D.C., and in 1902 was awarded a Doctorate of Pharmacology from Howard University. Dr. Davis went on to hold many posts with the federal government and opened the Mott Night Business High School. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings at the Documenting the American South website; and Dr. William H. Davis in the John P. Davis Collection.


Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Duncan, Laval T.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1979
Duncan was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Henry, a shoemaker, and Cora Duncan. In 1934 he joined the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company in Louisville and by 1950 had become its vice president and treasurer. He was also on the board of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; the Laval T. Duncan Papers at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center; and Laval T. Duncan in the Community Hospital Records finding aid in the Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Elster, Jesse
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1950
Jesse Elster was a prominent baseball player and manager of the Grand Rapids Colored Athletics Team. He was born in Kentucky and moved to Grand Rapids in 1904. In 1914, Elster and Stanley Barnett formed the Colored Athletic Businesses Association (CABA). The organization supported the baseball team. Elster was still team manager in 1949 when the last articles about the team appeared in Michigan newspapers. Jesse was the husband of Mamie E. Bellis Elster (b.1887 in MO - died 1920), and he later married Emma V. Young, b.1883 in VA. The family of five is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and they lived at 439 James Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to Polk's Grand Rapids (Kent County, Mich) City Directory. Jess Elster and his son Russell were truck drivers for a furniture shop. His son Eugene was a shoe shiner. Elster's first name has been spelled different ways, he signed as "Jesse Elster" on his WWI draft registration card. For more see African Americans in the Furniture City by R. M. Jelks; The Negro Leagues Revisited by B. P. Kelley; and "Face Muskegon Club Sunday," Record-Eagle, 07/01/1949, p.15.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Businesses, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Grand Rapids, Michigan

Embry, Jordan A.
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1972
Jordan Embry was a jazz musician and the leader of the Jordan Embry Band. He was born in Richmond, KY, and for a while lived in Richmond, IN, where he owned a shoe shining parlor at 911 Main Street [source: World War I Draft Registration Card]. Jordan Embry was the son of July Embry, and in 1900, the family of three was listed in the U.S. Federal Census as living on B Street in Richmond, KY. His sister, Cordelia Embry, was a teacher at the Rosenwald School in Richmond, KY [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. Jordan Embry returned to Kentucky after World War I, and in the 1940s Clarence "Duke" Madison joined his band. The band, referred to as an orchestra, had been named Jordan Embry and His Big Blue Entertainers in 1930 when they played at the Rose Garden on Russell Cave Pike in Lexington, KY [source: "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 07/09/1930, p. 11]. The following year, the Lexington city authorities gave permission for a 'Battle of Music' dance from 9p.m.-2a.m. or later at Purcell's Garage on West Main Street [source: "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 01/23/1931, p. 22]; the battling bands were the Masked Marvels Band and Jordan Embry's Band. Jordan Embry's Blue Bird Entertainers are listed in Jazz and Ragtime Records (1897-1942): A-K, by B. A. L. Rust and M. Shaw, p. 554. The band recorded the song "Wotta Life" in Richmond, IN, on March 20, 1929, a Gannett record that was not issued. Jordan Embry was the husband of Ruby Embry (b. 1898 in KY).
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Richmond, Indiana / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hunter, William H.
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1938
William H. Hunter was a shoe maker and an industrial arts teacher from South Carolina. He is credited as the person who introduced shoe making as an industrial arts subject in the Negro public schools in Louisville, KY [source: "K. N. E. A. Kullings," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, January-February 1939, v.9, no.2-2, p.28].  Hunter learned his trade at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University] and is listed as a former student on p.28 in the 1910 title Industrial Work of Tuskegee Graduates and Former Students During the Year 1910 by M. N. Work, Division of Research and Records, Tuskegee Institute, Ala.  According to the publication, Hunter had been at his trade for 7 years and was earning $15 per week. In 1917, Hunter was a shoe maker at the Boston Shoe Company in Louisville, and he lived at 1920 W. Madison [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1917, p.727]. In 1930, Hunter was a teacher at Jackson Street Junior High School [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1930, p.1024]. William H. Hunter died November 28, 1938 in Louisville, KY [source: Kentucky Death Certificate #27559]. He was the husband of Willie Hunter (b.1882 in GA).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration East, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Keene Industrial Institute (Keene, KY) / Beattyville Industrial Institute (Beattyville, KY) / W. H. Parker
Start Year : 1900
The Keene Industrial Institute was located in Keene, Jessamine County, Kentucky. The school was established by W. H. Parker, November 12, 1900, and the first session was held from January-May, 1901. Parker, from Alabama, was a graduate of State University in Louisville [later Simmons University]. He came to Keene in 1899 to build a school on the order of Tuskegee Institute. Keene Industrial Institute was established with donations; W. H. Parker traveled throughout Kentucky and to northern states attempting to raise additional funds. In November, 1901, the school was visited by Virginia Dox from Boston. It was an impromptu visit that was encouraged by Dr. W. G. Frost, President of Berea College. Virginia Dox had raised money for schools in the West and in Mexico. She encouraged W. H. Parker to continue his efforts and they would pay off in the long run. W. H. Parker received small donations from the community and larger donations from persons in nearby counties. The girls dormitory was donated by A. J. Alexander of Woodburn, Spring Station, KY. Money for a new building had been donated by Senator J. M. Thomas of Bourbon County. Students were charged $5 per month for board and tuition. The shoe-making department for boys was headed by W. H. Cornell from Alabama, and it was thought to be the first time in Kentucky that a Colored institution participated in the shoe sales market. The school also offered sewing and cooking for the girls. In 1902, some equipment had been gathered for a blacksmith department. The school was then referred to as a normal and industrial institute. The school staff members were W. H. Parker; W. R. Dudley; Mrs. Ellsa Jones, matron; Horace D. Slatter, English and normal; J. E. Bookware, shoe-making; Mrs. Eliza Gaines, sewing; Miss Hannah M. Webster, English and normal; Rev. J. H. Brooks, Chaplain, history, Bible and English. After struggling year after year to keep Keene Industrial Institute afloat, it was announced in March 1903 that the school would be moved to Beattyville, KY, during the summer. The new school was located on five acres of land donated by Judge G. W. Gourley of Lexington. An adjoining 45 acres was available for lease, and if the school proved to be successful for Lee County, then the 45 acres could be purchased by the school trustees. The leased land was used as a farm. Boys who could not pay their board and tuition could work off their fees at the farm. The instruction for boys included carpentry and blacksmithing, and they could make additional money cutting cord wood and getting cross ties for railroad contractors. Girls who could not pay their tuition and board outright could work off their fees in the laundry or by sewing and cooking at the school. Mrs. Lizzie Johnson, from Paducah, KY, was over the Laundry Department and the primary grades. Miss Mamie L. Brooks, from Paducah, was the music instructor. Mrs. W. H. Parker taught mathematics and grammar. The new school building opened in the fall of 1903. The motto was "Obedience is our watchword." Miss Alice Brownlow, a musician from Mobile, Alabama, and sister to Mrs. W. H. Parker, arrived in Beattyville in November, 1903 to take part in the school's Industrial Congress celebration. There were 30 students at the school, all boys and men from Kentucky and several other states, aged 11 to 28. In September, 1904, W. H. Parker represented the school during the Mount Pleasant Association Messengers and Ministers Meeting held in Lexington, KY. W. H. Parker was also a politician, serving as an alternate-at-large for Beattyville for the Kentucky Delegation to the 1904 Republican National Convention in Chicago, where Theodore Roosevelt was nominated as Presidential candidate and Charles W. Fairbanks the Vice-Presidential candidate. For more see "Industrial Institute," Lexington Leader, 04/07/1901, p. 2; "The First Year," Lexington Leader, 05/17/1901, p. 4; "Keene Industrial Institute Notes," 08/14/1901, p. 7; "Keene Institute," Lexington Leader, 08/22/1901, p. 4; "Keene," Lexington Leader, 10/12/1902, p. 2; "Keene Institute," 11/14/1901, p. 2; "Parker's Plan," 12/26/1901, p. 2; "Splendid work," Lexington Leader, 03/23/1902, p. 4; "Keene School," Lexington Leader, 04/19/1903, p. 1; "K. N and I. I. Notes," The American Baptist, 11/13/1903, p. 3; "Mount Pleasant Association," The American Baptist, 09/23/1904, p. 3; and "Lee County. Beattyville." Citizen, 11/05/1903, p. 8. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Keene, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Beattyville, Lee County, Kentucky / Alabama

Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home
Start Year : 1892
End Year : 1988
The Colored Orphan Home was incorporated with E. Belle Mitchell Jackson as president; Emma O.Warfield, vice president; Ida W. Bate [wife of John W. Bate] secretary, Priscilla Lacey, treasurer, and 11 other women members of the Ladies Orphans Home Society. Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh, who was white, was a professional philanthropist for the home. Support came from bequests, fund raising, and donations. The home was located on Georgetown Pike [Georgetown Street] in Lexington, KY. The board members served as matrons of the home and donated food and supplies. The home took in orphaned and abandoned children, a few elderly women, and half orphans (children with one parent). The parent of a half orphan was charged for the child's board at the home. Board members determined when a child would be returned to its parents, and there were a few adoptions and foster care placements, but the goal was to educate the children and teach them an industrial trade in preparation for adulthood. In addition to classwork, house chores, and gardening, the children were taught kitchen duties, cooking, carpentry, chair-caning, laundry, sewing - the children made all of the clothes and linen at the home, and did shoe-making and repairs - shoes were made for the children and also sold to the community. The home continued in operation until 1988 when it became the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. For more see Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home: building for the future, by L. F. Byars. See also Colored Orphan Industrial Home Records, 1892-1979 at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

    See the photo images of the Colored Orphan's & Industrial Home at the Kentucky Digital Library - Images.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

O'Rourke, James Ralph , Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1999
In 2008, it was discovered that James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science. He graduated in 1957. Prior to his enrollment, O'Rourke had been named head librarian at Kentucky State University (KSU), a position he held from 1949-1970. Before coming to Kentucky, O'Rourke was a history instructor and served as head librarian of Stillman Junior College [now Stillman College]. O'Rourke was a 1935 graduate of Stillman Junior College, a 1947 sociology and economics graduate of Talladega College, and a 1947 graduate of Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], where he earned a B.S. in Library Science. He had owned a drug store and a shoe repair shop. He had been a singer, an actor, a barber, a Pullman Porter, and shoe shiner. In Kentucky, he was a library leader. O'Rourke was the author of several articles and co-authored the Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK) Handbook, which was distributed throughout the United States and to some foreign countries. O'Rourke and C. Elizabeth Johnson, Central High School Librarian, had co-organized SLAK in 1952; it was the only state-wide organization of its kind in the United States. The organization was created to spark students' interest in library science and provided scholarship opportunities to seniors who planned to go to college. O'Rourke also led an annual workshop to assist public library employees in getting certification, and he provided library training. He was one of the first African American members of the Kentucky Library Association (KLA). He also held several positions in community organizations. He was a civil rights advocate and served as presiding chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in Lexington, KY, 1966-67. He was a member of the Governor's Planning Committee on Libraries, 1967-68, and co-chairman of the Lexington (KY) Librarians Association. O'Rourke was the last chairman of the Librarian's Conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 1952-1956. He was a member of the American Library Association, the Southeastern Library Association, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was a member of the Kentucky Black History Committee of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and was a co-contributor to the Commission's publication, Kentucky's Black Heritage. He left Kentucky a few years after his retirement from KSU in 1970 and settled in North Carolina. James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, the oldest child of Sally Reese and Timothy R. O'Rourke. He was the husband of George M. Wright O'Rourke [also a UK Library School graduate, 1966], and the great-grandson of Evalina Love and Shandy Wesley Jones. Shandy Jones was a slave who was freed in 1820 and later became an Alabama Legislator, 1868-1870 [see Descendants of Shandy Wesley Jones and Evalina Love Jones by Pinkard and Clark]. This information comes from the vita and the memorial tribute to James R. O'Rourke, Sr., provided by Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr. In 2009, the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Science nominated James R. O'Rourke for the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award (posthumously) for his work and dedication to librarianship in Kentucky. The award was received by his son, Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Authors, Barbers, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Pullman Porters, Fraternal Organizations, Pharmacists, Pharmacies, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Tuscaloosa, Alabama / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina

Skillman, Charles
Birth Year : 1844
Death Year : 1888
Charles Skillman was the first African American to be buried in the Lexington Cemetery. Skillman, born in Kentucky, was a shoe and boot maker. He is listed in Prather's Lexington City Directory 1875 and 1876. His first wife was Emma Skillman (b. 1850 in KY); the couple is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. His second wife was Caroline Skillman (b. 1850 in KY) [source: Civil War Pension Index]. Charles Skillman was a Civil War veteran; he enlisted June 24, 1864 in Lexington, Kentucky, and served in Company C, U.S. Colored Troops, 114 Infantry Regiment. He was a member of the Charles Somner Post, No. 68, G. A. R. Charles Skillman died in April of 1888, and his funeral was attended by about 100 members of the Charles Somner Post and about 1,000 attendees in all. He was the first African American buried in the government quarter of the Lexington Cemetery. For more see "G. A. R. Internment," Lexington Morning Transcript, 04/19/1888, p. 4.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Strider, Benjamin F. [Colored Shoe Makers Union]
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1942
In 1911, the Colored Shoe Makers Union was held in Hamilton, OH. Benjamin Franklin Strider (1870-1942), from Lexington, KY, was the speaker at the barbecue held during the meeting. The Boot and Shoe Makers Union had very few Colored members in 1911. It is not known when the Colored Shoe Makers Union was formed or how long it existed. Strider was the son of Mary Triggs Strider and Rev. Benjamin J. Strider [source: B. F. Strider's death certificate]. Strider is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington. For more see Benjamin Strider, Jr. in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 06/25/1911, p.5.
Subjects: Union Organizations, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Hamilton, Ohio

Turpin, William Henderson "Ben"
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1962
Turpin, also known as Mr. Ben, was a police officer and a baseball fanatic who lived in Detroit, MI. According to author Richard Bak, Turpin came from Kentucky to Detroit in 1925, and he had been a shoe shine boy. Turpin had lived in Burgin, KY, and was a tanner for J. T. Huguley in Danville, KY, according to his WWI draft registration card. He was a porter at Union Station before being appointed a Detroit policeman in 1927. Turpin was a large man who kept the peace in the Black Bottom area with physical force and his two revolvers. Turpin was also a serious baseball fan, and in the 1930s he organized a team called Black Bottom under Turpin's Athletic Club. Turpin sometimes served as the team's catcher with a revolver strapped to each side of his body. William Henderson Turpin was the husband of Bessie Turpin [they are mistakenly listed as white in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see Turkey Stearnes and the Detroit Stars, by R. Bak; In Black and White, Supplement, 3rd ed., by M. M. Spradling; "Tough Mr. Ben won respect based on fear", in Blacks in Detroit: a reprint of articles from the Detroit Free Press by S. McGehee and S. Watson, pp.72-73.
Subjects: Baseball, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Burgin, Mercer County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Williams, Charley "Banjo Dick"
Birth Year : 1849
Born in Kentucky, Charley Williams moved to Arizona in 1871 as a cook and housekeeper for the L. A. Smith family, according to author Alton Hornsby in Black America: a state-by-state historical encyclopedia, v.1, p.41. Charley Williams was known as Banjo Dick, and in the 1880s, he had a mining company named the Banjo Dick Mine, located near Tucson, AZ. According to author Hornsby, the mine was thought to the be first African American owned and operated mining operation in Arizona. The mine lasted but a few years, then Charley Williams moved to Nogales, AZ, where he shined shoes and played the banjo for extra money. "His biggest engagement was that of playing at La Vennis Park, the exclusive rendezvous of the Tucson aristocrats." For more see In Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage at the University of Arizona Library.

See photo image of Charley Williams at the University of Arizona website.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Tucson, Arizona

 

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