barber

Your father probably taught you to do this.

In 1924, “White Barbers of Wilson” placed an ad in the Daily Times complaining of white customers — women, even — patronizing African-American barber shops. Hair-cutting had  long been dominated by black men, and white barbers keenly felt the loss of caste that their trade entailed. After chastising “the public” for going to “dark skin shops,” they shook a challenging finger: “Ladies and gentlemen, we believe when you see the thing the way we do you will be a full blooded Southerner, and join the ranks of a true born American citizen.”

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Wilson Daily Times, 5 September 1924.

We are what you should be.

In early 1928, a group of young African-American men — friends and neighbors and almost all barbers or porters at barber shops — founded a social club in East Wilson.

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Baltimore Afro-American, 11 February 1928.

WILSON, NORTH CAROLINA

WILSON, N.C. On Tuesday evening, January 31st, the following young men of this city organized a club to be known as the Klondike Club. Bill Bryant, William Brown, Woodie Farmer, Freeman Ennis, John Love, Golden Venters, Oscar Hicks, George E. Brodie, Rufus Speight and George H. DuBose. The meeting was held at the Hotel Whitby and the following officers elected: B. Bryant, president; Freeman Ennis, vice president; Golden Venters, secretary; G.E. Brodie, treasurer; John Love, sergeant-at-arms, and George H. DuBose, journalist. On February 2nd, the club met at the home of the present and the following members initiated, Murphy Richardson, Jerval Barnes and Ossie Edwards. Club motto is, “We are what you should be.”

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  • Bill Bryant
  • William Brown —  In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Brown Wm (c; Eva L) barber Bonnie Reid h 202 S Vick
  • Woodie Farmer — William Woody Farmer. In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Farmer Woody (c) porter Wm Hines h 706 E Green. On 13 January 1929, Woody Farmer, 22, son of John Wash Farmer and Edmonia [no maiden name], married Savannah Powell, 21, daughter of Wiley Powell, in Wilson. Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of Emma Farmer, Rufus E. Speight and Theodore Speight. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 706 East Green, plasterer John A. Farmer, 60; wife Nona, 61; sons James E., 17, and Woodie, 22, barber; and daughter-in-law Savana, 22, lodge bookkeeper.
  • Freeman Ennis — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Ennis Freeman (c) barber W S Hines h 904 Viola. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 904 Viola, rented for $15/month, Maggie Ennis, 45, and children Freeman, 22, barbershop bootblack, Earl, 12, and Hennie, 10, and roomer Julus Barnes, 27, laborer at Hackney body plant. Freeman Ennis died 5 January 1938 at Mercy Hospital. Per his death certificate, he was 29 years old; single; worked as a bell boy; and was born in Wilson to Samuel Ennis of Smithfield and Maggie Taylor of Wilson. Informant was Earl Ennis, 904 Viola.
  • John Love
  • Golden Venters — Golden T. Venters married Ethel P. Lane in Philadelphia in 1925. In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Venters Golden T (c; Ethel) porter Wm Hines h 902 Viola
  • Oscar Hicks — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hicks H O (c) barber Levi’s Barber Shop h 812 E Green
  • George E. Brodie — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Brodie Geo (c) student h 903 E Green. In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 311 Pender, Lawrence Hardy, 39, pantry(?) servant at college; brother James Hardy, 39, presser at cleaning works; and George Brodie, 33, barber.
  • Rufus Speight — in the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Speight Rufus (c) porter Wm Hines h 624 Viola. In 1940, Rufus Edward Speight registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he lived at 624 East Viola; was born 4 October 1907 in Whitaker, North Carolina; his contact was brother Theodore Speight; and he worked for Bill Hines at 130 South Goldsboro Street.
  • George H. DuBose
  • Murphy Richardson — On 8 June 1927, Murphy Richardson, 20, and Laura Martin, 22, both of Nash County were married in Wilson County by minister Charles T. Jones in the presence of Levi Jones, W.H. Phillips and Laura Graves. In the 1928 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Richardson Murphy (c) barber Levi’s Barber Shop h 116 Pender
  • Jerval Barnes — probably, Jerrell Randolph Barnes, who died 14 December 1929 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 7 May 1909; was single; worked as a common laborer; and was born to Ned Barnes and Louisa Gay. Informant was Alice Bryant, Wilson.
  • Ossie Edwards

A barbershop for sale.

In March 1906, Noah J. Tate, Walter S. Hines and Joshua L. Tabron executed a lease-purchase agreement with Richard Renfrow for the entire contents of a barber shop, including four “hydrantic” chairs, four mirrored cabinets, a barber pole and eight water bottles. These items were “packed in R.E. Hagan’s Shop on Barnes Street,” which Tate, Hines and Tabron had purchased. Renfrow agreed to pay three dollars a week, plus insurance and taxes on the property. After 132 payments, Renfrow would own the barber shop. He paid at an accelerated rate, and the debt was cancelled before the end of the year.

Snaps, no. 34: Charles William Hagans.

Charles Hagans 2

Charles Hagans

Charles William Hagans (1883-1949), son of Lawrence and Mary Etta Pender Hagans.

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In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice Hagans, 70.

In the 1920 census of Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pennsylvania: at 1315 Seventh Avenue, Charles Hagen, 35, self-employed barber; wife Gertrude, 36; lodger London Broady, 32, barber; and nephew Raymond Hartzell, 30, garage mechanic. Charles was born in North Carolina; Gertrude and Raymond in Ohio; and London in Virginia.

Report to the 1920 census notwithstanding, C. William Hagans and Amanda G. Nichols were not married until 25 January 1921, when they wed in Summit County. Ohio. Per their marriage license, Hagans was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson County, N.C., to Lawrence Hagans and Mary Gray; worked as a barber; and lived at 28 Arch Street, Barberton, Ohio. Amanda G. Nichols was born 23 November 1883 in Chillicothe, Ohio, to Robert R. Hackley and Julia Adams, and had been married once before.

In 1921, Gertrude Hagans purchased an ad in The Tiger, the Beaver Falls High School yearbook:

On 1 July 1927, Charles W. Hagans was sentenced to serve one year in the Allegheny County Workhouse on a conviction for unspecified liquor law violations. A register shows that he reported 7 July 1927; was 43 years old; was born in North Carolina; was of medium complexion with black hair and brown eyes; was 5’8″, weighed 160 pounds at entry at 174 at release; was a barber (and worked as same while incarcerated); and was a Methodist. He was released early — on 30 April 1928.

In the 1930 census of Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan: at 148 Roseneath, rented for $35/month, barber Charles W. Hagans, 45, born in North Carolina; wife Gertrude M., 46, born in Ohio; and lodgers John Young, 30, drugstore porter, born in Pennsylvania; and Harry Godbolt, 46, barber, born in South Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan:  at 101 Glenurban Avenue, barber Charles W. Hagans, 56, born in North Carolina; wife Gertrude, 56, born in Ohio; and lodgers Taswell Buckner, 50, insect and rodent exterminator, born in Alabama, and Harry Godbolt, 55, laborer on city streets, born in South Carolina.

In 1942, Charles William Hagans registered for the World War II draft in Calhoun County, Michigan. Per his registration card, he was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson County, North Carolina; resided at 36 North Wood, Battle Creek, Calhoun County; and his contact and employer was George Anderson, 56 1/2 Capital S.W., Battle Creek.

Charles W. Hagans died 11 November 1943 in Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Lawrence W. Hagans.

Gertrude Marie Hagans died 5 October 1948 in Battle Creek. Per her death certificate, she was born 1891 in Chillicithe, Ohio, to James Hockley.

Charles and Gertrude Hagans are buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user TeiaHarper1; U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900-1990, database on-line at Ancestry.com; Allegheny County Workhouse, Pennsylvania Prison, Reformatory and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971, database on-line at Ancestry.com.

Studio shots, no. 53: Willie G. Reid Sr.

Willie G. Reid, circa 1920, with what appears to be the one-armed chair.

Willie G. Reid (1903-1963), son of William and Elizabeth Wilson Reid, was one of several members of a large Wayne County who made their way to Wilson. Brothers J.D. and Elijah Reid were his father’s first cousins, and Allen T. Reid, his nephew.

In the 1910 census of Nahunta township, Wayne County: farmer William Reid, 59; wife Bettie, 54; and children Hattie, 23, Milton, 19, Iantha, 16, Council, 15, Vestus, 13, Loumisa, 11, Ghorom, 8, and Madie, 5.

In the 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: tenant farmer William Reid, 63; wife Bettie, 52; and children Iantha M., 25, Council, 23, Vester, 21, and his wife Hattie, 19, Gorum, 17, Mater, 14, [granddaughter?] Marain, 7, and [grandson?] Melab, 15 months.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek, Wilson County: farmer Willie Gorham [sic], 27; mother Bettie Reid, 65; niece Marion, 17; and nephew Abraham, 11.

On 30 October 1933, Gorham Reid, 30, of Greene County, son of Bill and Bettie Reid, married Ada Harriss, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Leander and Rosa Harriss. Primitive Baptist elder Paul Bunch performed the ceremony at L.H. Harriss’ in Black Creek in the presence of David Bynum, G.S. Woodard, and S.L. Woodard.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1013 East Nash Street, Willie Reid, 36, and wife Ada, 31. Willie reported that he had been living in Fremont [Wayne County] in 1935 and owned a barber shop. Ada was a teacher at “Farmer’s School.”

Willie Gorham Reid registered for the World War II draft in Wilson County in 1942. Per his registration card, he resided at 1013 East Nash Street; was born 12 August 1903 in Wayne County; his contact person was Mary Artist, 1013 East Nash; and he was self-employed barber working on Main Street, Black Creek.

Willie Ghorum Reid died 28 February 1963 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 August 1902 in Wayne County to William Reid and Bettie Wilson; was married to Ada Reid; resided at 1013 East Nash; and was a barber at William Hines Barber Shop.

Photograph courtesy of Adventures in Faith: The Church at Prayer, Study and Service, the 100th anniversary commemorative booklet of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Fake news (and other stories.)

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Wilson Advance, 14 October 1887.

Wilson Advance, 8 July 1897.

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On 21 November 1895, Richard Renfrow, 35, son of Julia Gay, married Victoria Knight, 28, daughter of Harriet Knight. Baptist minister W.T.H. Woodward performed the service, and Levi Jones, H.T. Ransom and Maggie Ransom witnessed.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Richard Renfrow, 38; wife Victora, 35; her widowed mother Harriet Knight, 61; and Harriet’s grandchildren Hattie, 16, Andrew, 17, barber, and Alis, 12.

In the 1901 Hill’s Directory of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Berkley, Virginia: Renfrow Richard barber 311 Queen.

In the 1908 Hill’s Directory of Wilson, N.C.: Renfrow Richard barber 544 E Nash.

In the 1914 Hill’s Directory of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia: Renfrow Richard barber 417 E Bute.

On 26 December 1916, Richard Renfrow, 50, married Matilda Taylor, 50, in Wilson. Hood Phillips applied for the license, and Missionary Baptist minister A.L.E. Weeks performed the ceremony in the presence of Boston Griffin, J.E. Farmer and Henry Lucas.

Matilda Renfrow died 2 June 1918 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was about 50 years old; was married; and worked as a cook. Informant was Richard Renfrow, 900 Queen Street, Norfolk.

In the 1923 Hill’s Directory of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia: Renfrow Richard barber 628 E Charlotte.

 

Obituary of Roderick “Mike” Taylor, Sr.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 August 1947.

In the 1900 census, Wilson, Wilson County: Mike Taylor, 36, a drayman; wife Rachel, 36; and children Roderick, 17, Maggie, 14, Mattie, 13, Maddie, 12, Bertha E., 8, and Hennie G., 6.  Rachel and daughters Maggie, Mattie and Maddie were occupied at washing.  Roderick and the youngest girls “go to school.”

On 16 May 1906, W.T. Taylor applied to the Wilson County Register of Deeds for a marriage license for Roddrick Taylor of Wilson, 23, son of Mike Taylor and Rachel Taylor, both living, and Mary J. Pender of Wilson, 18. Fred M. Davis, Baptist Minister, performed the ceremony the same day at Mike Taylor’s in Wilson, with witnesses W.T. Taylor and Addie Rauls.

In the 1912-13 Wilson NC city directory, there is this listing: Taylor Roderick barber Paragon Shaving Parlor h 114 W Lee.

In the 1916-17 Wilson NC city directory, there is this listing: Mount Hebron Lodge #42, Roderick Taylor SW. Also, Taylor Roderick barber h 611 E Green.

Roderick Taylor registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he resided at 611 Green Street and worked as a barber for Tate & Hines, Nash Street. His nearest relative was Mary J. Taylor, and he was described as tall and slender, with dark eyes and black hair.

On 5 July 1923, H.A. [Hiram Abiff] Faulk filed a deed for sale of land to Roddrick Taylor and wife Mary J. Taylor, for $10 and valuable consideration, a house and lot on the north side of East Green Street and known as No. 607 (old city No. 608) E. Green, lot measuring 70′ x 120′.  The lot was bordered on either side by the properties of William Hargrave and Walter Hines.

Taylor briefly owned his own barbershop with a partner. In the 1925 Wilson city directory: Taylor Roderick (Coley & T) h 610 E Green, and Coley & Taylor (DH Coley, Roderick Taylor) barbers 105 S. Goldsboro

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County:  at 610 East Green Street (rented for $20/month), Roderick Taylor, 45, barber, with wife Mary J., 39, and children Edna G., 8, Mary J., 4, and Roderick Jr., 1.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 607 East Green Street, barber Roderick Taylor, 58; wife Mary J., 50; and children Edna G., 18, a college bookstore clerk, Mary J., 14, and Roderick Jr., 12.

Roderick Taylor Sr. died 4 August 1947 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 March 1882 in Wilson to Henry Taylor and Rachel Barnes and worked as a barber.  Informant was Mary J. Taylor, 607 East Green St., City.

Sidney S. Boatwright, “dean of local barbers.”

Wilson Daily Times, 19 January 1950.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 March 1977.

In the 1910 census of Legett, Marion County, South Carolina: laborer Joe Williams, 19; wife Dina, 39; and step-children Lillie, 17, Lida, 14, Sherwood, 9, and Mizoula Boatright, 7.

On 5 June 1917, Sid Boatwright registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 16 June 1896 in Mullins, South Carolina; lived on Green Street; worked for Mrs. J.C. Williams as a hotel porter; and supported his mother and sister.

In the 1920 Wilson city directory, Sidney Boatwright is listed as a factory hand residing at 123 Pender Street.

In the 1925 Wilson city directory, Sidney Boatwright is listed as a barber residing on May Street near the city limits.

In the 1928 Wilson city directory, Sidney Boatwright is listed as a barber for W.S. Hines residing at 1001 Lincoln Street.

In the 1930 Wilson city directory, Sidney Boatwright is listed as a barber for Walter S. Hines residing at 418 North Vick Street.

In 1942, Sidney Sherwood Boatwright registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 16 June 1900 in Mullins, South Carolina; resided at 722 East Green Street; worked as a barber at Walter Hines Barber Ship, 208 East Nash Street; and his nearest relative was Mrs. Sidney Sherwood Boatwright. He was described as 5’10 1/2″, 200 pounds.

Sidney Boatwright died 16 March 1977 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 16 June 1900 in South Carolina to Sherwood Boatwright and Dinah (last name unknown); worked as a barber; resided at 722 East Green; and was married to Johnnie Kornegy Boatwright.

 

William Hines, making good.

In March 1913, the Indianapolis Recorder, a nationally focused African-American newspaper, ran a front-page feature on William Hines, a “native of [Wilson] and a forceful character for the intellectual, moral, spiritual, social and economic development of young North Carolinians.”

Citing Samuel H. Vick and Biddle University as Hines’ influences, the article detailed his entry into the real estate business after establishing a successful barber shop. In just five years, Hines had accumulated 11 houses and “a number of very desirable lots.”

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Indy Recorder 3 1 1913

Indianapolis Recorder, 1 March 1913.

Hines’ real estate investments eventually made him one of the largest builder-owners of rental property in east Wilson. His barber shop operated for many decades, and his varied civic involvement included work as leader in the World War I Liberty Loan Campaign, charter investor in the Commercial Bank of Wilson, founding member of the Men’s Civic Clubboard of trustees of the Negro Library, board of directors of the Reid Street Community Center, and administrator of Mercy Hospital.

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William Hines, a little later in life.

William Hines was born 29 October 1883 in Edgecombe County and died 17 October 1981 in Wilson. He is buried in Rest Haven cemetery.

Photo of Hines courtesy of History of Wilson County, North Carolina (1985).