Monday, June 9, 2014

Black Barbers and the 1860 Kentucky Census

Back in April, I provided some findings from the 1850 census on Kentucky's black barbers. Well, I finally wrapped up 1860 and thought I would do the same for it.

There were not a whole lot of surprises, but the analysis was informative nonetheless. One slight surprise was the lack of increase in barbers from 1850 to 1860. In 1850, there were 102 African American barbers listed, and in 1860 there were 109. I suppose I was expecting a larger increase.

The oldest was the well known Lexington barber Samuel A. Oldham, who was 66. Conversely, the youngest was 10 year old John Black in Louisville's 6th Ward. However, the average age was 32, which means that most of the barbers were probably born in the 1820s and 1830s. There were a number of young barbers. For example, in Oldham's Lexington household were: 19 year old Henry Scrogins, 16 year old Diadamus Scrogins, 16 year old John Mason, 15 year old Patrick Mason, and 19 year old Hezekiah Morison. In Lancaster, 17 year old H. M. Morris served patrons. In Henry Simmend's Louisville household, along with the aforementioned youngster John Black, was also Charles Black a 13 year old, and Ed Goins, who was only 12 years old. Surely most of these boys and young men were apprentices, but most all were listed as "barber."

Almost half of Kentucky's black barbers in 1860 worked in Louisville. There were 52 listed living there. Lexington had the next most at 16. Frankfort's total of black barbers dropped from 12 in 1850 to five in 1860. I am not quite sure why for the decrease. Maysville had the same number as Frankfort. Owensboro had four. Other towns included Paris (2), Catlettsburg (1), Danville (2), Princeton (1), Winchester (1), Mayfield (1), Cynthiana (2), Henderson (2), Covington (2), Richmond (1), Lebanon (2), Harrodsburg (1), Bardstown (1), Georgetown (1), Shelbyville (2), Bowling Green (2), and Midway (1). Although none were listed in Paducah in the census, there were two in that city's 1859-60 directory, but perhaps they were enslaved barbers.

A couple of the state's black barbers in 1860 were doing quite well financially. Louisville's well known Washington Spradling had $25,000 in real estate, while also in that city was David Straus, a 60 year old "mulatto," who owned $10,000 in real estate. Peter Smith in Frankfort owned $3700 in real property. Albert Mackey of Richmond owned $3000 in personal property, a great deal of which was 5 slaves, possibly his family. Charles Anderson of Owensboro owned $5000 in personal property.

The barbers owned a total of $27,330 in personal property. Divided among the 109 barbers that is an average personal property wealth of $250.73. If one takes into consideration only the 53 barbers that actually owned personal property, each averaged $515.66. The barbers also owned a total of $55,550 in real estate for an average of $509.63. But only 19 of the 109 barbers actually owned real estate, so if only factoring those, their real estate average rises to $2923.68.

In 1850, 45 barbers were listed mulatto and 57 were black. But in 1860, there was slight reversal of complexion figures with 46 black, 60 mulatto, and 3 with color not noted (but confirmed as African American by city directory). There appeared to be some market mobility from 1850 to 1860. For instance, Wallace Cowan left Danville for Louisville, Q. B. Jones left Frankfort for Louisville, as did Johnson Buckner.

If I had the time, it would be interesting to see how things changed in 1870 (after emancipation), but that's a future project at best.    

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