19th Century African-American Barbers & Hairdressers of Carlisle

Scan of Webb's Advertisement in the Carlisle Herald, June 6, 1847
Scan of Burgess’s advertisement in the Carlisle Herald, January 31, 1855.

Top: Webb's Advertisement in the Carlisle Herald, June 6, 1847;

Bottom: Burgess’s advertisement in the Carlisle Herald, January 31, 1855.

In June 1847, William Webb advertised in the Carlisle Herald that he had just returned from the city “with a large and very superior lot of Metallic wigs, three quarter wigs, ladies plain Frizettes or front braids; also a small assortment of Ladies curls.”  He also had “hair, tooth, nail and clothes brushes; English and Buffalo horn combs, dressing and pocket combs.”

The 1850 U.S. Census of Carlisle listed Webb as a 39-year-old mulatto barber, born in Pennsylvania, with real estate valued at $2,000.  His wife Agnes was 39, and they had seven children ranging in age from three to 17.  Their 17-year old daughter Mary was also a barber.  By 1860, the family was living in Detroit where Webb died about 1869.

William Burgess, born in Maryland in 1825, was living and working as a barber in Newville, Cumberland County in 1850.  By 1854, he had moved to Carlisle and established his hair dressing and shaving rooms on West Street.

Burgess’s attention-getting advertisement, showing the image of a beautiful woman, described his products and services. He had an “elegant assortment of ladies braids and gentlemen’s wigs…of the best quality.”  He informed his customers that  he kept "constantly on hand a supply of “Shemansangner," an admirable wash to rid the hair of dandruff, and manufactured by himself." He also manufactured a hair restorative called “Corasheenum,” that gives new growth to the hair of bald heads. Burgess also provided “shaving, hair dressing, cutting and shampooing attended to in the best style as usual at his old rooms on West Main Street, near Marion Hall.”

Burgess and his family were still living in Carlisle when the 1860 U. S. Census was taken. Burgess was listed as a 35-year-old mulatto born in Maryland. His 34-year-old wife Susanna was a washerwoman, born in Pennsylvania as were their three children, William, James and Sarah.  Also living with them was 56-year-old Catharine Haines.

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