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Douglas, William Lewis (22 August 1845–17 September 1924), shoe manufacturer and governor, was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of William Douglas, a sailor, and Mary C. Vaughan. Attending public schools sporadically throughout his boyhood, Douglas was sent to work for his uncle, a shoemaker, at age seven, two years after his father’s death at sea. As a shoe pegger, he worked long hours and faced habitual mistreatment, but by age eleven he began to train formally as an apprentice under his uncle. Becoming a journeyman shoemaker at age fifteen, he was first employed at a cotton mill in Plymouth, where he earned thirty-three cents a day. He continued in the shoemaking trade in Hopkinton and later South Braintree under the well-known bootmaker Ansel Thayer until 26 February 1864, when he enlisted in the Fifty-eighth Massachusetts Regiment. Wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor in that same year, Douglas spent months in army hospitals and was discharged in 1865. In 1866 he headed west to Colorado, settling in Black Hawk and later Golden City. There he received training in designing, drafting, cutting, and fitting shoes—knowledge that allowed him to be classified as a professional shoemaker—and opened a retail boot and shoe store. He returned to Massachusetts in 1868 and that year married Naomi Augusta Terry. They had three children....

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Hewes, George Robert Twelves (25 August 1742–05 November 1840), shoemaker and rank-and-file participant in the American Revolution, shoemaker and rank‐and‐file participant in the American Revolution, was born in Boston, the son of George Hewes (1701–1749), tanner, soap boiler, and tallow chandler, and Abigail Seaver (1711–c. 1755). George Robert Hewes told a biographer that his education “consisted only of a moderate knowledge of reading and writing” (Hawkes, p. 17). An orphan at fourteen and short in stature—only five feet one inch tall at full height—he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, a trade for boys who could not handle heavy work. He eventually became owner of a small shop near Griffin 's Wharf, where he mended shoes and crafted them to order. In January 1768 he married Sarah Sumner, the daughter of a church sextant and a washwoman. They had fifteen children, eleven of whom survived childhood. In a trade that was low in status and prospects, Hewes remained poor; in 1770 he was imprisoned briefly for an unpaid debt to a tailor....