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

Lewis, Fountain C., Sr.

(born: 1822  -  died: January 4, 1898) 

A barber living in Cincinnati, OH, Fountain C. Lewis, Sr. came to Covington, KY, in 1856 to cash a check written on the Farmers' Bank and was arrested and jailed. His arrest had nothing to do with the check or the bank but rather was retaliation for all of the perceived injustices the people of Cincinnati had heaped upon Kentuckians concerning African Americans. The mayor of Covington recognized Fountain Lewis and authorized his release after a payment of $2.

Lewis is listed as a freeman at 15 W. Cincinnati Township in the 1860 Federal Population Schedule. He is described as a mulatto who was born in Kentucky around 1822. He was said to be the barber of dignitaries and aristocrats.

In 1895, Fountain Lewis and his son, Fountain Lewis, Jr. (b. 1858), were operating barbershops in Cincinnati, according to the Williams' Cincinnati Directory, 1895-96. According to Wendell P. Dabney, author of Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, p. 183, Fountain Lewis, Sr. came to Cincinnati as a free man in the 1840s. He was a barber for many years and was joined in the business by his son, Fountain Lewis, Jr. Years later, Fountain Jr. was joined in the barbering business by his son Fred K. Lewis; the two later established an undertaking business and the barber shop was closed.

Fountain C. Lewis, Sr. was born in Frankfort, KY. He was the husband of Daphney Cotton Lewis (b. 1831 in MS); the couple had three sons when the 1860 U.S. Federal Census was taken. Fountain Lewis, Sr. was single and 43 years old when he registered for the Civil War in June of 1863 in Hamilton County, OH [source: U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records].

For more see "Kentucky retaliation," New York Daily Times, 4/2/1865, p. 2.; and Fountain Lewis: The Venerable Barber Who Helped Build Cincinnati Music Hall, by Thea Tjepkema, a Friends of Music Hall Organization website.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Williams' Cincinnati directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Cincinnati's colored citizens; historical, sociological and biographical
NKAA Source: New York daily times (newspaper)

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“Lewis, Fountain C., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-04-25 15:50:04