(April 29, 1842-December 14, 1932). Born in Kentucky, Frances and her husband, Benjamin, operated one of the first Black-owned stalls at the Indianapolis City Market in the late 1800’s. Originally living on 1st Street in Indianapolis, later renamed 10th Street, the Stouts purchased a lot on California Street in 1891, in an area which would later become the Ransom Place neighborhood. The family and their children continued to live along California Street for the next 40 years.

Starting in 1889, Indianapolis city directories list Stout (sometimes identified as Francis) as being involved in the “produce” business at the City Market. The market was also at times called the City Hall Market, or CH for short, and the East Market, in reference to the defunct West Market house once located on the southwest corner of Ohio and Capitol streets, near the Indiana Statehouse. Stout’s daughter Alice also worked in the family produce business at the market. Stout worshiped at Bethel AME Church. Her husband Benjamin died in 1910 at the age of 67 years old.

Frances Stout died in the segregated ward at City Hospital from severe burns suffered on December 5, 1932, when her nightgown had been lit aflame by a match that she had used to see her way about her home. Though her grandson extinguished the flames, Stout succumbed to her injuries. Stout was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery. Newspaper reports of her death noted that she had lived in Indianapolis for 50 years. In 2003, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis named a student apartment building Stout House in her honor.

Revised October 2023

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