barbershop

Hines brothers’ barber shops.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1947.

In addition to his business and real estate interests, William Hines for decades served as secretary-treasurer and general administrator of Mercy Hospital. This photograph, which probably dates from the mid-1950s, depicts Hines flanked by Helen James, nursing director, and Anna Burgess Johnson, hospital board member. Photo courtesy of O.N. Freeman Round House and Museum.

An afternoon with Mr. Lathan.

Samuel Caswell Lathan sat in the front row during my presentation at Wilson County Public Library last week, making me a little nervous. This extraordinary musician, who once played drums for James Brown, was especially interested in the topic — he grew up on the 500 block of East Nash Street in the 1930s and ’40s. I visited with Mr. Lathan the next afternoon, soaking up his memories of the people and businesses of the block, whom he credits for setting him on his path as a drummer. He urged me to continue my documentation of East Wilson and expressed appreciation for and satisfaction with my work thus far.

Mr. Lathan also shared with me some extraordinary photographs of pre-World War II East Nash Street. Here he is as a toddler, circa 1931.

This stunning image depicts Neal’s Barbershop, with three of its barbers, circa 1935. Mr. Lathan is the boy leaning against the window, and Walter Sanders is seated in the chair awaiting a cut. “Billy Jr.” stands to his left in the photo, and an unidentified boy to the right.

African-American photographer John H. Baker took this family portrait of an adolescent Sam Lathan with his mother Christine Barnes Collins, grandmother Jeanette Barnes Plummer, and aunt Irene Plummer Dew in the late 1930s.

And this Baker portrait depicts Mr. Lathan’s beloved late wife, Mary Magdelene Knight Lathan.

Sam Lathan has graciously agreed to meet with me again to further explore his recollection of Black Wilson. I thank him for his interest, his time, and his generosity.

Photos courtesy of Samuel C. Lathan, please do not reproduce without permission.

The old reliable barber.

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Wilson Blade, 20 November 1897.

Only one issue of the Wilson Blade, a short-lived African-American newspaper, is known to exist.

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In the 1900 census of the Town of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer James Farmer, 22, and his siblings Rosa, 17, Freeda, 10, Robert, 7, Richard, 5, Mark, 2, and Erickers, 7 months, plus boarder Tobias Farmer, 47, a barber.

In the 1908 city directory, Tobias Farmer is listed as a barber living at 203 Manchester Street.

In the 1912 city directory, Tobias Farmer is listed as a barber working for Austin Neal and residing at 121 Ashe Street.

Tobias Farmer died in Wilson on 17 May 1914. Per his death certificate, he was born 5 January 1854 in North Carolina to Elija Farmer and Rosa Barnes; was a widower; and worked as a barber. Rosa Crank was informant.

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Cuts and cooks.

African-Americans dominated certain trades in early twentieth-century Wilson, including barbering and operating eating houses. Here, in their entireties, are the entries for these vocations in the 1908 Wilson city directory. “Colored” people were designated with asterisks.

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  • James Austin — In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 506 Green Street, railroad laborer James Austin, 54; wife Martha, 49, washing and ironing; cousin Neicy Edmundson, 39, cook; and son Charles Austin, 23. In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: 507 East Green, widower James Austin, 61, cousin Mac Edmonson, 37, niece Annie Wright, 35, and great-niece Dorthy Brown, 5.
  • S.W. Barnes —Short William Barnes was a carpenter. However, in the 1910 census of  Wilson, Wilson County: Short Barnes, 50, wife Frances, 50, daughter Maggie, 16, and boarder Mark Ellis, 25. Maggie was a barber and Mark, a minister.
  • Jno. Blount — On 4 March 1886, John Blount, 24, married Jane Bryant, 21, at Caroline Vick‘s house in Wilson. Witnesses were Caroline Vick, Julius Watkins and Bettie Rountree. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber John Blount, 48, wife Mary J., 44, and son Walter, 9. John Blount died 29 October 1917 in Wilson. He had been born in 1863 in Greene County to Right and H. Blount. Informant was J.M. Blount.
  • Wm. Hines — William Hines.
  • Henry C. Holden — On 4 January 1904, Henry C. Holden, 23, son of Wm. and H. Holden, married Lila Tomlin, 19, daughter of L[emon] and E. Tabron, at Edmonia Taborn‘s in Wilson. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony. In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Henry C. Holden’s workplace was listed as Mayflower Barber Shop and his home address as “Daniel nr N S Ry.”  On 12 September 1918, Henry Clay Holden of 309 South Street, Wilson, registered for the World War I draft. He reported that he was born 15 April 1876, that he was a barber for Bill Hines at 119 South Tarboro Street, and that his nearest relative was his mother Hawkins Holden, who lived in Smithfield, Johnston County. In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Henry Holden, 43, and Virginia-born wife Mamie, 27, at 309 South Street.
  • Levi Jones — Levi Hunter Jones.
  • A.N. Neal — In the 1900 census of Freeman township, Franklin County: widower Austin Neal, 30, and children Bryant, 3, and Bertha, 1, plus brother Abram, 17, and sisters Tabitha, 19, and Bessie, 21. In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Austin Neal was listed as a barber at 409 East Nash. His home address was “Wainwright av for Freeman.” In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 105 Wainwright, widowed barber Austin Neal, 42, with children Bryant, 21, also a barber, Daisy, 16, Annie, 13, Samuel, 7, and Ruth, 5. In the 1930 census, Wilson, Wilson County: at 1214 Wainright Avenue, barber Austin Neal, 61, wife Lizzie, 38, servant for a private family, and son Samuel, 18, a hotel bell hop. Austin N. Neal died 14 February 1949 at Mercy Hospital of terminal uremia. He was born 11 November 1878 in Franklinton, North Carolina, to Abron Neal and Louise Brodie. He was buried in Rountree cemetery. Mrs. Lizzie H. Neal was informant.
  • Richard Renfrow — On 12 November 1895, Richard Renfrow, 35, son of Julia Gay, married Victoria Knight, 28, daughter of Harriet Knight in Wilson. W.T.H. Woodard performed the ceremony in the presence of Levi Jones, H.T. Ransom and Maggie Ransom. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Richard Renfrow, 38, wife Victora, 35, her mother Harriet Knight, 61, and Harriet’s grandchildren Hattie, 16, Andrew, 14, and Alis Knight, 12.
  • Tate & Hines — Noah John Tate and Walter Scott Hines. On 24 November 1904, Walter S. Hines applied for a marriage license for Noah J. Tate, 28, son of Hardy and Mary Tate, and Hattie Pearce, 20, daughter of Andrew and Alice Pearce. Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at the home of Richard Renfrow in Wilson. Witnesses were S.H. Vick, W.H. Simms, and J.D. Reid. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Noah Tate, 28, wife Hattie, 24, and children John P., 3, and Helen, 2. (On one side of the family lived John Blount; on the other, Austin Neal.) Noah J. Tate of 307 North Pender Street, 50, died 3 January 1926 in Wilson of pulmonary tuberculosis. He was married to Hattie Tate and worked as a barber. He was born in Grimesland, North Carolina, to Hardy Tate of Wayne County and Mary Jane Dawson of Pitt County. He was buried in Rountree cemetery.
  • Sidney Wheeler — On 23 December 1896, Sidney Wheeler, 24, married Lou Armstrong, 20, in Wilson. Witnesses were Richard Renfrow, S.A. Smith, and Janie Booth. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: barber Sidney Wheeler, 40; wife Lou, 30, cook; Sidney, 9, Dave, 7, Floyd, 4, and Emma, 2. On 8 March 1912, Sidney Wheeler of 710 Vance Street, age 35, died in Wilson of acute gastritis. Dr. W.A. Mitchner certified his death. He was born in Nash County to Richard and Annie Wheeler, and Lula Wheeler served as informant.

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  • Annie Best
  • Moses Bradon — Moses Brandon.
  • Manda Bynum — Wright Bynum married Amanda Hargrove on 2 January 1890. A.M.E. Zion minister J.H. Mattocks performed the ceremony, and O.L.W. Smith, John Ellis and Haywood Foreman stood as witnesses. In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Wright Bynum, 37, servant, with wife Amanda, 30, and four lodgers, including Jonas Gay, 36.
  • Adelaide Farrell — Adelaide Farrell seems to have lived in Wilson only a short time. In the 1910 census of Snow Hill, Greene County: she was a 55 year-old widowed private cook listed in the household of her son-in-law and daughter, Allen and Mary Barfield. She may have been the Adelaide Farrell, 26, listed with husband Wesley and children in the 1880 census of Center, Chatham County, North Carolina.
  • Sarah Gaither — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Rufus Gaither, 57, wife Sarah, 56, and children Julius, 22, Mandy, 18, Aaron, 17, and Clarence, 15. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Gaither Sarah eating house 418 e Nash h 401 Stantonsburg rd.
  • E.S. Hargrove — In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: widowed laundress Adeline Hargrove, 60, with sons Esau, 20, and Douglas Hargrove, 18, and two lodgers. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Vance Street, D. John Hargrove, 28, wife Vina, 25, and children D[illegible], 8, Willie, 6, Jacob, 4, and John Ben, 2, plus mother Adline, 50, brother Esias, 30, and niece Melia A., 15. In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Hargrove Esau S, gen mdse Viola nr Vick. On 20 July 1912, E.S. Hargrove, 40, married Annie Thomas, 20, in Wilson. In the 1930 census, at 803 Viola Street, Esis Hargrove, 51, wife Annie, 38, and children William, 15, and Maggie, 8. “Esis” was a Baptist clergyman and owned his home, valued at $2000.
  • J. Thomas Teachey — On 12 January 1880, James T. Teacher, 21, son of Andrew J. and Nancy J. Teacher, married Betsey J. Musgrove, 20, daughter of Hay’d and Penny Musgrove, at the Wayne County courthouse. In the 1900 census of Dudley, Wayne County: farmer James T. Teachie, 41, wife Betsey, 37, and children Jhon H.M., 19, Lu V.J., 17, Hareward T., 15, Ann L.J., 13, Betsey J., 10, Julia A., 6, Louis J.E., 3, Susan A.L.B., 11 months. In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Nash Road, house carpenter James Teachee, 53, wife Betsey, 48, and children Haywood, 22, Julia, 18, Louis J., 14, Susie L., 12, and Chas., 10; plus Garfield Granton, 30, Betsey, 23, and son John, 2.  James Thomas Teachey died 27 December 1944 in Wilson, probably of a heart attack. He was a widower and had worked as a contractor and builder. He was 86 years old and had been born in Duplin County to Nancy Teachey. He was buried at Rountree cemetery. Daughter Luvicy Wynn, who resided at 402 North Vick with Teachey, was informant.
  • Sidney Wheeler — Wheeler had a finger in many pots. See above.
  • Isaac Whittaker — In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Isaac Whitaker operated an eating house at 504 Smith Street. Issac Whitaker, single, died 29 April 1915 in Wilson. He was 70 years old and worked as a cook. Leah Whitaker of Enfield, North Carolina, reported that Isaac was the son of Bob and Clara Whitaker.  He was buried in Enfield.

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Sanborn Fire Map of Wilson, N.C., 1908.

 (Click to enlarge.) In eating houses in red: (1) Annie Best, 121 South Goldsboro; (2) Moses Brandon, 127 South Goldsboro. Four other eating houses were three blocks southeast in the 400 block of Nash Street, which straddled the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. Barbershops in blue: (1) S.W. Barnes, 123 South Goldsboro; (2) Richard Renfrow, 126 South Goldsboro, (3) A.N. Neal, 109 East Nash; (4) Henry C. Holden, Branch Bank, 125 East Nash; (5) Tate & Hines, New Briggs Hotel, 209 East Nash Street; (6) Levi Jones, 105 North Goldsboro; (7) William Hines, 119 South Tarboro.

All census and vital records found at http://www.ancestry.com.