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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Barbers of Lawrence County

One of our readers had a cutting edge idea.. . . An article on the history of Lawrence County Barbers.

When was he growing up in Lawrenceville, he remembered three barbers: Reynolds Barber shop on South Twelfth street, his barber until he entered high school and he switched to Max Morey’s shop on North Twelfth street. He remembered one more on twelfth street. It was in the basement of the SW corner building. The barber shop had a shoe shine person in his shop.

The 1960s and 1970s were a hard time for barbers. Long- haired hippies didn’t cut their hair. Still the barber profession persevered. If you had or have a favorite barber and would like to tell us about him/her, send an email to lawrencelore@gmail.com.

While we are combing through your stories and memories of barbers, we will share a little “tonsorial” history before 1890 in Lawrence County.


Lawrenceville: In May 1881 the newspaper reported that tonsorial artist, Logan Harmon had purchased a new barber chair containing a great many improvements over the old- style chair. Peter Dale sold his barber shop to W D Morris in December 1887. Hiram Cusic of St Francisville opened a barber shop next door to the Post Office in Lawrenceville in 1889. Ed Kitchen had materially bettered the looks of his barber shop by papering it and hanging a fine lamp in it. J E Kitchens had a tonsorial parlor in Lawrenceville northeast of the Lawrenceville Bank that same year and advertised a shampoo was twenty -five cents and a shave ten cents. Also in 1889 Chas. Brown, a black barber in Lawrenceville who had been there for some time, moved to Vincennes.


Bridgeport: In 1878 Bridgeport reported that that the city had two barbers but by 1881 they had none. By 1882 Al Wolfe moved his barber shop upstairs over L R Schmaihausens’ Drug Store. In 1885, Ed Smith was learning the barber trade from Henry Rose before Mr. Rose and his mother left for Wilmot Wisconsin to open another shop, and Mr. Williamson had opened a barber shop in the room formerly occupied by Mr. Rose. In 1886 John Nance had a barber shop in the hotel building.


Birds: 1885 Elmer Hentz’s barber shop was open.


We even found an article in the Rural Republican Friday July 20, 1883 that wherein the reporter stated: ““Women are now tackling every profession and style of business. There is hardly a path of life adown whose shaded paths we do not find a young lady sauntering in her charmingly careless manner. Many of them are becoming barbers and successful ones too.” To which the editor replied “If a female barber is handsome, she can shave her customers with a bed slat and powder their faces with Cayenne pepper. . . and he will think he is having a chunk of luxury ladled out to him such as no other living man ever got.”


And remember you read it first here in the Rural Republican published in Lawrenceville in 1887 so it has to be true…. "An Albany barber says that there’s not half the danger is being shaved from a public cup in a barber shop as being brushed with a public hair brush. He says: Half of the baldness in the world is caused by the indiscriminate use of brushes in barber shops. Baldness is usually preceded by a scaling of the head. This is a sort of disease. When a barber brushes a man’s hair whose scalp is diseased and uses the same brush on a healthy scalp what can you expect? That is why so few women are bald. They never go a barber shop.” And there you have it…. Don’t forget to send us your memories of barber shops in Lawrence County.

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