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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Barbers in the County


Bill's Barber Shop on Jefferson, mid 1940s, David Daush is the young man sitting patiently.

In an earlier post we asked for memories of barbers in the county. Rodney Stevens said that the barber on 12th Street in the basement next to Woolworths was Joe LeGrand. He had the best comics. Rodney went to Joe while he was in Parkview. Then he went to Max's for a while and Harvey Hensley cut hair with Max. Then Don Porter came in with Max until Max retired. Don went to a shop next to Roscoe's Law office. Then Don moved his shop to his home on Eighth Street. Matt Ashbrook said he went to Max Morey for most of his life. But, for awhile he went to where his best friend, Ken Bland went. That was the barber in the basement on the SW corner of the square, Joe Legrand.


When you are in the History Center look for the Barber Shop Glass Display Case, 24 ¾” wide x 39” high x 13 ½” deep with glass shelves and 2 sliding doors, used in Hersh’s Barber Shop on Lexington St. in Lawrenceville. Hershel B Beoughter (1918-2014) owned Hersh’s Barber Shop for 40 years. He was a veteran, having served with the US Army in WWII. He served in the “Hell on Wheels” 2nd Armored Calvary Division for General Patton and was his personal driver on numerous occasions. This display case is currently being used to hold a collection of toys from the 60's and 70's.


Fred Lytle learned the barber trade as a young man and worked at that trade in Lawrenceville and Bridgeport for many years. He was part owner of the Becker and Lytle shop in Lawrenceville. The partners moved to Bridgeport and later Mr. Lytle operated the shop alone.


At one time there were 4 barber shops in the St Francisville: Barnett's, George Hart's, Merl Brooke's and Dopey Mallots. Truman Barnett at 89 was the oldest active barber in the state of Illinois according to the St Francisville Sesquicentennial booklet published in 1962. He had four sons – Clarence, Bryan, Dexter, and Gilbert -who followed in his footsteps as barbers. The 5th and youngest son, Eldon was a foreman in the steel mill at Hammond Indiana. Mr. Barnett worked at his profession for 71 years, and recalled that haircuts once were ten cents and shaves five cents. During his lifetime he had only one vacation and that was forced on him by major surgery. Mr. Barnett had no special formula for longevity, but said that he quit smoking early in his long life. He recalled vividly the boom times in his shop, when Irish workmen laid the track of the Big Four, and gave him their patronage.


Here is a list of Barbers in Lawrenceville in 1941: Big 4 Barber Shop 1315 Lexington (Virgil R Theriac); Campbell Barber Shop 807 11th (Noah T Campbell); Campbells Barber Shop 2202 15th (Chas J Campbell); Cochran Pryor 1208 State; Harts Barber Shop 812 12th (Forrest E Hart); Hotel Lawrence Barber Shop --Mark Shepard 1013 State; LeGrand Barber Shop basement 721 12th (Jos H LeGrand); McNary Barber Shop 1320 State (James D McNary); North Side Barber Shop 1119 State (W. Roy McNeil)


Lawrenceville barbers agreed to raise the price of hair cuts and shaves effective April 1, 1920. A shave would cost 25 cents and a hair cut was 50 cents. Beginning that fall on September 1st, 1920 all barber shops in Lawrenceville would open at 8 am and close at 7 pm except for Saturdays when the closing hour would be 10 pm.


For a few years around 1910 James Eugene "Gene" Dale's barbershop in Bridgeport was never locked. Barbers in his shop were available 24 hours a day to take care of the oil workers during the oil boom.


The Sumner Press reported on December 22, 1887 that John Nance, the black barber in Sumner in defiance of the Sunday law recently proclaimed by the town board, opened his shop and waited on his Sunday customers as usual. For this offense he was ordered to answer the charge of having willfully violated said law. Much interest was manifested in this test case. (Unfortunately, no report was published in the Sumner Press as to the outcome.)




Both of the two photographs above are of Campbell's Barber Shops. Albert Sturgeon is in the photograph below shown on the left. He was better known as Irish Sturgeon and was a barber is Lawrenceille for many years. He learned his trade under the direction of his older brother, George Sturgeon and worked with him for some time. Later he operated his own shop. Shown with Mr. Sturgeon is one of his barbers, Chig Tracy. This picture was taken about 1908 on the east side of the square; the building was located where the garden created by Golden Rule, is now.



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