Days Gone By - stories from the past

Gerrard Hansford, Barber in 1825 – a free-colored person

Transcribed from The Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 01, Spring Issue 1956


Montgomery, Alabama 1825

Gerrard Hansford, a free colored person, well remembered in Montgomery, was married on the 15th of December, 1825, by William Maxey, Esqr., to Maria George, daughter of Buckner and Elizabeth George, of Montgomery County.

General Marquis de Lafayette’s room at the Lucas Tavern Montgomery, Alabama

ca. 1825

Advertisement in Montgomery newspaper in 1825

This man sometime later located in Montgomery and ran the following advertisement:

“GERRARD HANSFORD, the first and stationary barber of the city of Wetumpka, grateful to the citizens thereof for their unmerited goodness toward him, and to his patrons, particularly those who have during a residence of five years, more liberal supplied him than any means of accommodation in his power could ever have justified.

He would here for faults apologize, were he not writing to the wise.

Suffice it to say that now this difficulty is obviated through the goodness of Dr. H. N. Morris, who has erected for him a permanent and very commodious stand, in the rear of his dwelling, lower story of his medical office, in the pass from the American hotel to the Wetumpka Exchange, where more successful efforts will be made to serve such as may call upon him.

Rules for service

The following rules his rates display;

Twelve and a half for shaving,

For trimming hair ’tis twice that pay

His charge is nought for laving.


To set two Razors thrice the shave,

Except blunt edge or gappy,

Which if insured four Bits to have,

Your servant would be happy


All of which when done by candle light,

(Let this be recollected),

To add one half for work by night,

Will surely be expected.


The same holds good on holidays,

But not “till past eleven;

The Scriptures bid and he obeys,

“Prepare for Church and Heaven.”


In all the past nothing is said

About a monthly dressing;

The which if in advance is paid,

Shall not be found distressing.


And since non-payment’s “but a match,

For payment in shin-plaster,

Good payment then may well attach,

E’en to a Poetaster.”

(Some years later, or until 1847-48, according to Blue’s History of Montgomery, he was “still knocking about this section”. He emigrated to Liberia, in 1848, and died there a short time after his arrival. One of his sons, born in Montgomery County, was the Secretary of State of Monrovia. The former barber was born in the North and received a fair education there. Ed.)


ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories Once Alabama was admitted as a state of the United States of America on December 4, 1819, a great wave of immigrants from other states and countries came by flat-boats, pack-horses, covered wagons and ships to become the first citizens of the state.

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!

One comment

  1. Neeley Campbell

    Wow! What an interesting life he led.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.