Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#144--Shoes--A Family Business

Labor Day is this week so my blog challenge is about work.  I love pretty shoes and that may be because I have a number of relatives who were in the shoe business in New York City in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

 So I decided that I would blog about them and see how they fit together.  Early on, the settlers had lots of land in Dedham and were able to pass large tracts of it on to their sons.  However, by the 1800’s fewer and fewer families were able to give away enough land for a sustainable farm.  Consequently, young men began to leave Dedham and seek their livelihood elsewhere.

The first one of my ancestors to leave was Nathaniel  Fisher, one of my cousins.  He moved to Buffalo, New York and worked for John W. Ayes in the shoe business.  In 1837 he started working in New York City, on Pearl Street also in the shoe business of L. S. Bouton & Company as a junior partner.   Nathaniel then went into partnership with Baldwin and Studwell .  In 1869, his two partners left the business and Nathaniel C. Fisher & Company was formed. The company manufactured and sold ladies’ and misses’ boots and shoes.  Prior to Nathaniel Fisher’s death on December 9, 1880, he was joined in his company by two of his sons----Irving  Requa Fisher and Nathaniel Campbell Fisher. Most notable is the clock that he put on the front of his store on Duane Street and it is still there.

The next ancestor to leave Dedham was Abner Richards, my great uncle.  He came to New York City in 1840 and worked as a clerk in his cousin’s, Nathaniel Fisher’s shoe company.  In 1845, Abner began working for J. D. Ingersoll.  When Ingersoll retired in 1853, the company name was changed to Richards and Whiting.

Abiathar Richards, Abner’s brother, came to New York prior to the Civil War.   Abiathar joined his brother’s firm and the name was changed to A. S. Richards Shoe Company, located at 44 Cortland Street, New York, New York, and later on Reade Street.  The tax records indicate that he was shoe auctioneer.   When Abner died in 1887, the name of the company became the A. Richards & Company with Abiathar as the president.  Shoes were sold directly to dealers nationwide with specific men being in charge of certain areas of the company.  In addition, the company also held shoe auctions every Wednesday and Friday.  After Abiathar Richard’s death in 1905, the company was run by his two sons, Chester Richards and William Richards.  The last mention of the company that I can find was in 1919


  1. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a shoe auctioneer! Fun reading about your ancestors.

    1. I did not either. I would love to know where the shoes came from. I do not believe they manufactured them.

  2. Love the idea of listing all the surnames. Maybe someone from that list will appear and surprise you. Mind if I copy that idea?

  3. Go for it. I did not hear from anyone, but you can never tell