Frank Ames was born in Sherburne, New York, on 17 November 1855. His parents were Gilbert Ames (1831–1909) and Rosena Huntley (1832–1888). Rosena Huntley’s father, Ezra, served in the War of 1812. Frank Ames’s family moved to Oneida, Illinois, from Sherburne in 1857 and then to St. Louis in 1875. He began his career as a salesman with the J. G. Brandt Shoe Company in 1880. He became treasurer and manager of the company in 1895. Around 1913, he purchased the Harris Shoe Company located at 410 North Sixth Street in St. Louis, which had been a familiar name for a quarter of a century. In 1914, he changed the name to Ames Shoe Company. During the Depression, Frank reduced his income so that he could continue to pay his workers their regular salary. He passed away on 15 May 1931.

The shoe business has a long history with the Ames family. Frank Ames’s great-great-grandfather, Simeon Ames (1739–1811), was a cordwainer, a maker of new shoes, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He had been a patriot in the Revolutionary War, donating fifteen pounds sterling for the hiring of men to serve in the Continental Army. He was married to Experience Standish (1744–1824), whose great-grandfather was Myles Standish, one of the Mayflower passengers.

Simeon and Experience Ames’s son Solomon (1773–1810) was also a shoemaker. He separated from his wife Sally (Harden) Ames around 1802 and moved to New Hampshire for a time. Sally Ames (1773–1841), her two sons, Silas and James, and her mother, Freelove (Greene) Harden moved from Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to Columbus, Chenango County, New York, in 1806. They made a living by spinning and weaving. Freelove’s husband, Nathan Harden, had died in 1800. He was also a patriot in the Revolutionary War.

Besides Myles Standish, Frank Ames, was directly related to four other families on the Mayflower: John Alden, William Mullins, James Chilton, and Edward Doty.

One of Frank’s sisters, Gertrude, was married to John Wilson Dick, who became president of the Western Corset Company of St. Louis. Another of his sisters, Cora L., my great-grandmother, was married to John Morrison Dunham, who was an architect for the Railway Express Company in St Louis. Besides designing Railway Express buildings, some of John Morrison Dunham’s other designs were additions to the West Presbyterian Church, Algonquin Golf Club, and the Clayton Courthouse. He also designed the home of my grandparents, Franklin S. Dunham and his wife Catherine A. Spratte, in Brentwood in 1922.

The Dunhams also are directly related to Mayflower passenger, Edward Fuller. Therefore, I am directly related to six families that came over on the Mayflower!

Written by Richard Kenneth Dunham
July 2019
© 2019, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Frank Ames
Frank Ames
Photo in the collection of Richard Dunham
Used with permission

Return to St. Louis City/County Biographies.

Last Modified: 01-Oct-2019 17:13