Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: barber

His razors are of the first quality.

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Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 10 January 1827.

New Barber Shop.

“Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”

HORACE HENDERSON respectfully informs the gentlemen of Fayetteville, and the public generally, that he has taken the shop on Gillespie street formerly occupied by D. Ochiltree, Esq. and nearly opposite the State Bank, where the above business will be carried on in all its various branches. He flatters himself that from the circumstance of his having been born and raised in Fayetteville, his known habits of industry and sobriety, to merit and receive a liberal share of patronage. His Razors and other materials are of the first quality and shall always be kept int he best order.

Fayetteville, January 10, 1827.


Horace Henderson was enslaved, though he lived much like a free man. His wife Lovedy Henderson  petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly for his freedom in 1832.

Hat tip to Gabby Faith for the clipping.

Well-known and respected.

“E-1 William Valentine

A free man of color, William Valentine was a well-known and respected barber in the 1850s. While his whereabouts during the Civil War are unclear, he was open for business again by 1869.”

Description of a bronze historical marker placed at East Innes and North Main Streets on Salisbury’s History and Art Trail,

In the 1860 census of Salisbury, Rowan County: William Valentine, 35, Rebecca, 25, Louis C., 8, and Horace R. Valentine, 10 months; all mulatto.


Carolina Watchman, 22 April 1870.

He flatters himself that he can shave and trim hair easily and fashionably.

The North Carolina Legislature freed Joseph Hostler during its 1833-1834 session. He did not waste time:ImageFayetteville Weekly Observer, 27 January 1835.

Image Fayetteville Weekly Observer, 15 May 1839.

ImageThe North-Carolinian (Fayetteville), 16 February 1850.

Striebinger House.

Image“For many years he was proprietor of the barber shop under the Striebinger House and also of one on Ontario street.”

Obituary of Moses Simmons, Cleveland Leader, 29 January 1900.

The old reliable.


The Old Reliable Barber.

May always be found at his shop on Tarboro Street, where he will be pleased [to] serve his friends and former patrons.

Shaving 10 cts; shaving and cutting hair 30 cents.

The Wilson Advance, 20 February 1880.

Miles Howard.

Miles Howard was born enslaved and, when he was about 11 years old, was brought to Halifax and sold to Thomas Burgess, a prominent attorney in the Halifax area. Burgess evidently took a liking to the young Miles and made sure that he learned a trade as a barber. Around 1818, Howard took a wife by consent of both his and her masters. Howard was emancipated very shortly afterwards. Burgess sold him property in Halifax in 1825 and more property later. In 1832, Burgess wrote to Senator Mangum regarding a free man of color who was a barber and a musician. The free man had purchased children from a former master. He had not been able to free them due to a law prohibiting this. He wished to move his family to a state where they could be freed and not held as his slaves. Evidently, nothing came from this request, as Howard later died in Halifax.

Burgess, in his will, gave “his worthy and excellent friend Miles Howard the Barber two lots in Halifax, now occupied by said Miles.” In 1838, in an act of emancipation the four children and slaves of Miles Howard were set free, and the family was baptized by a Catholic priest in Halifax. Between 1842 and 1846, Matilda died, and Howard married Caroline Valentine. The two had children who were also baptized Catholic. Howard handled various land transactions and was a sound businessman in Halifax. He died in 1857 without leaving a will. A lawsuit ensued, with the children of his first marriage seeking a share of his property and the children of his second marriage fighting them. The case went to North Carolina Superior Court, which ruled in favor of the children of the second marriage, because the first marriage was a slave marriage and not legal in the eyes of the law.

Adapted from

Freedman’s Bank depositor, no. 2.

No. 5467. Record for Geo. Hostler.  Date January 6, 1872. Where born: Fayetteville. Where brought up: ditto. Residence: Chestnut between 5th and 6th Streets. Age 35. Complexion: light brown. Occupation: barber. Works for self. Wife: Marie. Children: None. Father: Joe, dead. Mother: Hannah, dead. Brothers and Sisters: (6) Susie, Mary, Mary Isabella, Caroline, Henry [sic].

Freedman’s Bank Records, National Archives and Records Administration.

James, an industrious, sober and honest barber and hairdresser.

State of North Carolina, Chowan County  }   June Term 1795

To the worshipful the County Clerk of Please and Quarter Sessions for the County of Chowan the petition of John Cunningham Humbly Sheweth that your petitioners Father died when he was very Young leaving a Valuable but unproductive Estate for the Support of your Petitioner and his Mother, consisting principally of Young Slaves, among whom is a Mulatto Male Slave by the Name of James, the profits of whose labour, has greatly if not principally contributed to the Maintenance & Support of your Petitioner thru a long Minority and an expensive course of Education. Your petitioner further Sheweth that the great profit which he has derived from the labour of the said Slave James has been owing as well to the great assiduity and attention of the said James in acquiring & presenting himself in the Trade of Mystery of a Barber & Hair Dresser as to his Industry sobriety and honesty Your petitioner further Sheweth that during a very dangerous and lingering Sickness last Spring (1794) the attention of the said James was such as cannot fail to inspire the highest gratitude in him in consideration whereof and as a reward for the past faithful Services of the said James, your Petitioner is willing and desirous to Manumit or set him free conceiving that no less a reward will be commiserate to the Services rendered, but as to guard against the great injuries & inconvenienced which might result from the indiscriminate Manumission of Slaves the legislature have Wisely provided that no Slave shall be manumitted except for Meritorious services to be approved of by the County Court, your petitioner is prevented from effecting his intentions without the aid and assistance of your Worships. May it thereof please your Worships taking the past character and faithful and meritorious Services of the said James into consideration to order & Decree that he may be Manumitted & Set free agreeable to the Directions of the act of the General Assembly in Such Cases Made and provided And your petitioner as in Duty bound shall ever pray &c.     John Cunningham

Miscellaneous Slave Records, Chowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

Apprentice barber runs away.

DESERTED From my service on the night of the 24th inst. a free man of color named WILLIE ROD, bound to me as an apprentice to the Barbers trade.  He is about five feet six inches high, of a pleasing countenance, and about 24 or 25 years old.  I will give Five Dollars Reward and pay all expense for his delivery to me in Fayetteville or committed to Raleigh Jail. I expect he is lurking about Raleigh.  — EPHRAIM HAMMONS, Fayetteville, Oct. 26, 1814.

The Star, Raleigh, 28 October 1814.

He followed the barber business.

One of my earliest acquaintances in Goldsboro was a negro.  This was about 1848.  He continued to live in Goldsboro until his death, some fifteen or twenty years ago.  This was Bill Burnett.  He was at one time worth considerable property.  He followed the barber business.  His skin was black, it is true, but I believe that Bill Burnett was as honest and upright in his dealings as any man, white or black.  I never heard in all his long life one word against his character.  He was always polite to the white people.  He was for many years the only barber in the town.  Everyone liked and respected him.  He was an old-time free negro.  He had the right of suffrage before 1835.  I don’t know whether he ever exercised it or not, but after the war, when the right to vote came to him again, he never registered nor voted.  He told me not long before his death that he had no desire to vote; that it would do him no good, and that he believed the enfranchisement of the colored people of the South immediately upon their emancipation was the most unwise thing that could have been done for them.  He had a brother, Micajah Burnett, who was raised here, but some time about 1850 he became implicated some way with some white men in stealing and running off and selling slaves, and he skipped to New York and never came back.

“Some Early Recollections of Wayne County – But More Particularly of Goldsboro: War-Time Reminiscences and Other Selections,” by J. M. Hollowell, published in The Goldsboro Herald, June 1939. 

In the 1850 census of the North Side of Neuse, Wayne County: Cuzzy Green, 40, and William Burnett, 35, barber, who claimed $300 property.