The Keith family of shoe makers traces its ancestry back to the Reverend James Keith, first Minister of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, who came from Scotland in 1662. Bridgewater was the first interior settlement founded by families from the Plymouth Colony who moved inland. It was here, in 1758, that Reverend James' great grandson, Levi, became the first of the family to make shoes, in a small ell attached to his house where he conducted a tannery. Both Levi's son Benjamin and his grandson, Ziba, learned the art of shoe making at early ages and followed the family trade in the cold winter months. Ziba's son Franklin received his training in the "Old Red Shop" as the ell of the house was known. It was Franklin who was the first of the family to depend solely on shoe making for his livelihood.