Saturday, March 27

Sepia Saturday: Shear Coincidence?

Both my grandfather's brothers, their older
half-brother, and one nephew were barbers.
As in...'Shave and a haircut, two bits' barbers.

Why three brothers and a nephew took up the
same profession is lost in the mists of time.
But it made Grandpa Bert the "odd" one
for becoming a carpenter like his father.

The dapper fellow above is the half-brother, George Washington Hanson, only child of Great-grandma Zerilda's brief first marriage. We suspect George's father died toward the end of the Civil War, but can't verify it because we don't know his first name, and therefore have no clue which of the dozens of Hanson men in Indiana at the time might be him.

At any rate, we're certain the mysterious Mr. Hanson had no other children because when George died a widower, intestate and childless, his entire estate was distributed among Grandma Zerilda's other children (or if deceased, their offspring), each of whom received $1500. Not chicken feed in 1945.

The photo above was taken around 1899 at the A.P. Martin Photographic Studio in Victor, Teller Co, Colorado.

At that time Victor was a gold rush boom town, its mines containing more gold than the more famous Cripple Creek up the road. Victor residents liked to boast that "Cripple Creek may have the glory, but Victor has the gold!".

Thirty-something and still single, George appears to have been the first brother to leave Kansas for the Colorado gold fields.

But instead of filing on a claim, he opened a barber shop. Why get dirty and sweaty searching for gold all day when those who did were more than happy to part with some of it for a shave and a haircut when they came to town!

~~ * ~~ * ~~ * ~~ * ~~ * ~~

The next family members to move to Victor were George's half-brother and barber, Edward E. "Ed" Sack, wife Katie, and daughter Viola, 7 years old.

By the spring of 1900, their mother Zerilda had joined George and Ed et al, for health reasons according to her obituary. I can't fathom how the thin air at 9700 feet was supposed to help a 59-yr-old woman already in poor health, but that's what the obit says.


Which leaves, besides my grandfather, the
youngest brother, Frank Leland Sack.


Frank apparently never caught gold fever.
He stayed behind in Douglas Co, KS,
to clerk in a grocery store and court
future wife Lucy "Orrel" Jones.

Frank and Orrel (Jones) Sack circa 1902

Sometime after their marriage in August 1902 but before 1910, they moved to Coffeyville, Montgomery Co, KS, where Frank opened a barbershop. By 1918, they were back in Ottawa and Frank was driving a truck for Standard Oil.

Meanwhile, by 1903 all of the gold in Colorado that could be extracted by current methods had been depleted.

Ed, Katie and Viola Sack moved back to Kansas, to Larned, where Ed opened the barber shop he would run until he retired, a shop he possibly sold to nephew Chester Toops around 1930.

ED & FAMILY 10 YEARS AFTER THE GOLD RUSH
Ed, Viola, now 17, and Katie on the porch of their home (below)
in Larned, Pawnee Co, KS, a few blocks from Ed's barber shop.


In November 1904, Zerilda, whose health had gotten worse, left Colorado and returned home to husband John in Baldwin City, KS, where she died the following Valentine's Day.

That same year, George Hanson married Ida A. Byers, moved to Los Angeles, and by 1910 was the proprietor of a cigar store. By 1920, they lived in Long Beach and he was barbering once again.

Frank and Orrel followed George and Ida to California, and by 1924 were registered voters in Inglewood, LA Co. Frank, too, took up barbering again until at least 1934.

Frank & Orrel in the 1930s on the porch of
(according to the caption) "our little cabin".

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
In 1921, George Hanson gave up barbering for good.

He and Ida moved to Alhambra CA...

...and started a very successful chicken ranch!

From 3-piece suits and bowler hats to farmer overalls.
Go figure!


More about Victor, Colorado's history and heydey as a mining town:


Hope you're having a great weekend!

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Check out other Sepia Saturday entries

16 comments:

Martin H. said...

Wonderful tales of people who actually lived their lives.

steviewren said...

Orrel was quite a pretty woman. I love the picture of her and Frank in front of their little cabin. They look delighted with it. I suppose barbering was one of those fall back professions that one can use wherever one moves to. Great family post!

Vicki Lane said...

Love this history! Very often it was the merchants and such who did better out of the gold rush than the miners -- think of Levi Strauss.

JamaGenie said...

Martin, I never thought of it that way, but yes they *did live* their lives. As we all should!

steviewren, Orrel visited my parents in Kansas a few times, and from those pictures and the two pics here I sense she was something of a Bohemian. But she and Frank obviously adored and enjoyed each other. She was the executor of George's estate, and in a letter to my grandmother, she said (rather sadly) that "George was such a *good* brother". But then I suspect she brought out the goodness in everyone she met. My dad always spoke of her as one would of a princess.

willow said...

I would love to hang around in the old barber shop, watch the shaves and haircuts and listen to the latest town gossip.

(love the Burke quote in your header)

JamaGenie said...

Vicki, yes they did! And Levi's legacy lives on today!

JamaGenie said...

willow, so would I!

Barbara said...

From a barber to a chicken rancher! I'm going to tell this story to my brother "Bob, the Barber" who just retired from almost 50 years of barbering in North Hollywood, CA.

Christine H. said...

That picture of Frank and Orrel in front of the cabin is absolutely precious. Great story too.

pinkpackrat said...

These folks sure moved around--barbering wherever they went, and taking pictures too, fortunately. love the story and love the pix. There's gold in them thar hills for sure.

Barry said...

What a life. George certainly saw a great deal of the country. And here I always thought of barbers as leading quiet and unassuming lives!

Frieda Babbley said...

I love love love these photos. Especially the last ones. The photo of Frank & Orrel on the front porch is going to stick in my head for a very long time.

Dave has loads of stories to tell about Victor and Cripple Creek. Lots of family photos too at the cabin in albums tucked away safely on the shelves of the middle bedroom in the family cabin up in Green Mountain Falls. One year when we were visiting, we took a trip up to Cripple Creek and stayed in one of the hotels. I forgot the name of it.

JamaGenie said...

Frieda, it's a small world, isn't it? I'd LOVE to hear any and all stories Dave has about Victor and Cripple Creek. Is his family from there?

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful post - like spending a warm evening chatting and exchanging stories with friends. For genealogical mysteries to exist within your family means that there must be some mysteries which can never be solved.

JamaGenie said...

Yes, Alan, there ARE some mysteries within my family which I fear will never be solved. The trick is in knowing which ones or the goose egg from banging one's head against the brick wall will never heal. ;)

btw, Nicola (Fred Beckett's 1C3R) and I are having great fun solving some of the mysteries in *that* family! Stay tuned for an update.

A rootdigger said...

Your so creative in your pics and such, loved reading your blog.