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

Luckett, William Benjamin, Sr.

(born: August 8, 1852  -  died: October 30, 1922) 

In 1887, William B. Luckett established what is thought to be the first public transfer line [local bus service] and street car in Frankfort, KY. It was his intent to meet every train coming into Frankfort with his new horse drawn *omnibus that would take passengers to any location in the city. The service could be ordered by the telephone; Luckett's phone number was 81 [source: "Wm. B. Luckett," Frankfort Roundabout, 06/04/1887, p.4]. Luckett had purchased a 12 passenger bus with an attachable seat on the top, and he officially opened his business on May 30, 1887, according to his ad on p.7 of the Frankfort Roundabout, 06/04/1887. His prices ranged from 25 cents for 1 passenger with a valise or satchel, to 60 cents for 2 passengers with 2 trunks. The fare for children between the ages of 5 and 9 was 5 cents. If there were several children, "the rates will be reasonable." Customers could leave their orders at his Telephone 81, or at the Telephone Exchange, Holmes and Halloran's Drug Store, Blue Wing Office, and A. H. Waggoner's Grocery Store on Broadway.

The transfer line business seemed like a good idea, but it did not generate a profit for Luckett. On June 25, 1887, there was a notice on p.3 of the Frankfort Roundabout, "W. B. Luckett proposes to run his omnibus as a street car from some point on the North Side to the extreme end of South Frankfort in the middle of the day and in the evening to accommodate persons living on the South Side going to and from their meals." On July 4, 1887, there was another notice on p.7 of the Frankfort Roundabout encouraging that his business should be patronized or the transfer line may not continue. The ad on the same page had all the previously mentioned locations for placing orders, plus the additional location of the LeCompte and Carpenter's South Side Drug Store. By the end of August 1887, there were no more ads for the transfer line business.

The city of Frankfort still desired to have a street car line. But, in 1891, the mayor's veto was sustained at the city council meeting, the ordinance would have allowed the Capital Railway Company to construct the first street railroad [source: "We must continue to walk," Frankfort Roundabout, 07/25/1891, p.4]. Without the transfer line business, William B. Luckett developed his livery business located on Ann Street. In 1899, when he was preparing to move out of state, Luckett put the livery business up for sale or lease. Ads were posted in the newspaper.

William B. Luckett is described as a mulatto in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Cordelia Duff Hayden. He was the husband of Katherine A. Taylor Luckett (1857-1936), they married in 1882 and the couple had at least six children [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1900, the family lived in Dayton, OH, according to the census, and William B. Luckett was an insurance agent. The family was noted as Black in the census, and they lived on Hershey Street. They next moved to Yellowstone, Montana, and Luckett was a farmer. The family was listed as white in the 1910 Census and the 1920 Census. William B. Luckett died October 30, 1922 in Big Horn, Montana. He is listed as white on his Montana death certificate, B. H. 380, Registered #50 (Ancestry). 

*Omnibus is a public vehicle designed to carry a large number of people.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Ancestry (online)
NKAA Source: The Frankfort roundabout (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Luckett, William Benjamin, Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 1, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-20 22:05:01