barber shop

Closed for the Fourth.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 July 1935.

The barbershops listed were those serving white clientele, including African-American-owned William Hines, Service (owned by Clifton L. Hardy), and Walter Hines Barber Shops. These shops formed an employer association of sorts that set mutual prices and terms for days and hours of operation. (Which today would be unlawful.)

Barbershop ratings.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 August 1935.


The paper carried a ranking of 13 barber shops in Wilson, ten of which exclusively served white customers. The shops known to be African-American-owned were William Hines, Briggs Hotel (the location of Walter Hines‘ shop), Hargroves, Neal’s, and Sanitary, and perhaps. 

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

William Hines and Willie C. Reid merge barber shops.

In January 1932, William Hines announced the merger of his barber shop with Willie C. Reid‘s Wilson Barber Shop. The new business would occupy the space Reid had held at 130 South Goldsboro Street. (The address is the southernmost storefront of the Hackney Building at 124-130 South Goldsboro and is adjacent to today’s Eyes on Main Street gallery.)

Wilson Daily Times, 16 January 1932.

Hines’ former location at 113 South Tarboro was to close at the end of the month, and he announced an immediate reduction in service prices. (A Boncilla massage, by the way, involved a mud mask with Boncilla-brand “clasmic clay” and was touted to resolve wrinkles, lines, blackheads, enlarged pores, and oily skin.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 January 1932.

  • Willie C. Reid

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Jesse Reid, 59; wife Sallie, 53; and children Emmar J., 27, Barnes, 24, Willie, 22, Browdy, 19, Lonely, 17, Effie, 13, and Earle, 10.

In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Jesse Reid, 59; wife Sallie, 53; and children Emmar J., 27, Barnes, 24, Willie, 22, Browdy, 19, Lonely, 17, Effie, 13, and Earle, 10.

In 1917, Willie C. Reid registered for the World War I draft in Duplin County, North Carolina. Per his registration card, he was born 28 April 1886 in Fremont, N.C.; lived in Warsaw, N.C.; and worked as a barber for John A. Gaston, Warsaw, N.C. [Gaston was a Wilson County native.]

In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: at 407 Vick Street, widow Sallie Reid, 64; sons Willie, 30, barber, Boydie, 20, tailor, and Lonely, 25, tailor, daughter-in-law Mary, 24, schoolteacher, granddaughter Hilter, 3 months, and daughters Effie, 23, and widow Emma E., 35.

On 27 October 1920, Willie Columbus Reid, 31, of Wilson, son of Jesse and Sallie Reid, married Mary E. Galley, 25, of Wilmington, daughter of James J. and Lena E. Galley, at Saint Stephen’s A.M.E. Church in Wilmington, N.C.

In the 1922 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Reid William (c) barber The Mayflower h 304 N Vick

In the 1928 and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Reid Wm C (c; Mary) barber 130 S Goldsboro h 304 N Vick

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 304 Vick, rented for $14/month, Willie C. Reid, 54, native of Fremont, N.C.; wife Mary E., 46, county school teacher and native of Wilmington, N.C.; and children William M., 16, and Helen E., 18.

Willie Columbus Reid died 26 January 1969 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 28 April 1886 to Jessie Reid and Sallie [maiden name not known]; was married to Mary E. Reid; lived at 1106 Atlantic Street; and had worked as a barber.

Clippings courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Black businesses, 1913, no. 3: East Nash at South Lodge Street.

Cross-referencing the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory and the 1913 Sanborn fire insurance map of Wilson reveals the specific locations of Black-owned businesses just after the turn of the century.

This block of East Nash Street fronts the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad’s passenger station. In 1913, it contained four storefronts, all housing Black-owned businesses, and a large house. Just a few years later, all were demolished to make way for the Terminal Inn, the two-story, multi-bay building that for decades was anchored by Terminal Drug Store and Star Credit Department Store and still stands today.

Moses Brandon operated an eating house next to the Atlantic Coast Line tracks. His death is reported here.

Austin Neal‘s barber shop was next door at 409 East Nash. The business later moved to the 500 block of Nash Street.

The business at 407 was labeled “cobbler.” The city directory listed Bud Wiley, bootblack, as proprietor.

John G. Corbin‘s pool room rounded out the storefronts. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: street laborer Brazell Winstead, 48; dressmaker Ada, 22; sister-in-law Martha Corben, 31, laborer; and brother-in-law John, 34, farmer. [Braswell Winstead was, in fact, a college-educated teacher turned barber who had been an assistant to postmaster Samuel Vick. It seems unlikely that Martha Corbin was a laborer or John a farmer.]

The house at 401 East Nash was occupied by white millhand J. Frank Johnson.

Black businesses in the industrial and commercial directory.

Among the businesses highlighted in the Wilson, North Carolina, Industrial & Commercial Directory, published in 1912, were these:

PARAGON SHAVING PARLOR — The establishment is located at 213 East Nash street in Briggs Hotel Block, and it can truthfully be said that it is the most popular Tonsorial parlor in the city of Wilson. It is owned and managed by N.J. Tate and W.S. Hines, both of whom are skilled barbers of long experience. Their genial manner and high class work have won for them the liberal share of the best patronage of the city. Their shop is fully equipped with all the latest appurtenances, and a short visit to this establishment will after passing through their hands, convince you of what the modern, up-to-date barber shops can do to put a man in good humor with himself and the rest of mankind. The shop is equipped with five chairs, each in charge of a professional barber. Go there for your next slave.

JAMES HARDY, SUCCESSOR TO HARDY BROS. — Feed and Livery Stables. This business is located on South Goldsboro street between Nash and Barnes streets and the business has been established for the last four years. The proprietor has succeeded in building up a good patronage. He is very prompt in answering calls and his prices for Livery are very reasonable. Telephone Number 9. Hack and Dray work solicited. The proprietor wants your patronage and guarantees the right sort of treatment. He is a colored man and has the good wishes of all.

  • James Hardy — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: livery stable laborer Jim Hardy, 32; wife Lizzie, 31; sons James, 8, and Lovelace, 6; and boarders Lincoln Sellers, 29, widower and brick yard laborer, and [blank] Batts, 37, water works laborer. James P. Hardy died 20 April 1914 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 27 April 1879 in Greene County to Petter Hardy and Jane Foreman; was married; lived at 508 Vance Street; and was a livery stable employer. Lizzie Hardy was informant. [Who was the other Hardy Brother?]

C.H. DARDEN & SON — This is the only colored firm of undertakers and funeral directors in Wilson, and has been established by the senior member of the firm, C.H. Darden, for some thirty years. His son C.L. Darden has been a member for twelve years years. This place is located at 615 East Nash street, and every branch of the undertaking and Funeral Director business is executed. The equipment includes two Hearses, as well as all other necessary appliances pertaining to the business. They also handle Bicycles and Fire Arms, Victor Talking Machines, Records, Bicycle Sundries, etc. Special attention given to repairs. Their telephone number is 60 and all calls are promptly answered.

OATES & ARTIS — Family groceries. This firm is located at 601 East Nash Street, with telephone connection 456. The business was established in August 1910 and has steadily increased from the beginning. The stock includes all kinds of Groceries, both staple and fancy, Produce, Teas and Coffee, Tobacco and Cigars and the prices are very reasonable. The members of the firm are Wiley Oates, a native of this county, and who has been residing in the City for two years, and Cain Artis, who is also a native of the county, but who has resided in Wilson for twenty-two years. Both are colored men and they are ably attending to the business.

  • Wiley Oates — in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vick Street, dredge boat laborer Wiley Oats, 32; wife Nettie, 28; and daughters Dollena, 8, and Dottie Lee, 13 months. Wily Oates died 23 July 1913 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, she was born 26 September 1879 to Adam and Amanda Oates; was a farmer; and was married.
  • Cain Artis

IDEAL PHARMACY — This is the only colored Drug store in Wilson, and it has been established for about seven years. The proprietors, D.C. Yancy, Ph.G., receiving his degree from the Leonard School of Pharmacy, Shaw University Class of 1905-06, has been connected with the store for the past three years and has been sole proprietor for the past year and a half. He reports that the business is constantly growing and he hopes within a very few years to have one of the largest stores in the City. He personally presses over the prescription department and absolute accuracy is his watchword. His motto is “Not how cheap but how pure.” The general stock includes fresh drugs, patent medicines, Tobacco, Sundries, etc, soda fountain in connection. 109 South Goldsboro street, phone 219.

  • D.C. Yancey — D’Arcey C. Yancey. Dr. Frank S. Hargrave was the pharmacy’s original proprietor.