Yesterday, I asked the question, “Who cuts a barber’s hair?” It took me just one day to find a possible answer. An answer in the case of the village of Longtown is that you train your nephew to be a barber and let him cut your hair.
Today’s story begins with the birthday of the sister of Emanuel Hacker, the barber of Longtown. Her name was Clara Hacker, and she was born on June 14, 1877. That made her two years younger than her brother. Even though she was younger, she would get married before her older brother. Clara married Adolph Funke in 1898. Clara, like her brother, was one of the charter members of Zion Lutheran Church in Uniontown. That church began in 1897, so this marriage between Clara and Adolph must have been one of the first marriages performed in that congregation. Adolph was a carpenter. Here is their marriage license.
The first of this couple’s eight children was Ludwig, born in 1899. It was Ludwig that became a barber. In the 1920 census, we find him still single and living with his parents, and it states that he was a barber with his own shop.
Yesterday, the post about Emanuel Hacker indicated that there was once an establishment in Longtown called the Hacker and Funke General Store and Barbershop. I have to think that Ludwig’s Uncle Emanuel must have played a part in teaching him the barber’s trade.
Just a silly sidelight: I decided to do a search on Bing Images for “funky men’s haircuts” and a page showed up filled with images like this:
I daresay that the Funke haircuts men received in Longtown looked nothing like this.
Let me say a few things about barbering during this era. One must remember that during this time in history several things were happening with men’s grooming. A barber shop was not just a place to get a haircut. It was also a place to get a shave, have your beard trimmed, or get your mustache groomed. I discovered that World War I was a pivotal event that impacted beards. Young soldiers who went to war would have beards shaved regardless of their desire to keep them. The gas masks they were required to wear because of chemical warfare did not seal properly when someone was not clean shaven. After the war, beards went out of style.
However, mustaches, especially handlebar mustaches, remained in style for a while yet. Of course, after World War II, the Hitler toothbrush mustache fell into disrepute. Handlebar mustaches take special care and some men may have gone to a barber to keep them in good shape. In Altenburg, there was a barber by the name of Oswald Schade who was about the same age as Emanuel Hacker. Here is an early photo of him.
As you can see, he sported quite a magnificent handlebar mustache. I wish I had a photo of Ludwig Funke. I would be curious to see whether he had a beard or mustache. We do know that Emanuel was wearing a nice mustache when he married his second wife in 1912.
Styles in men’s grooming come and go. It once again appears that more men are wearing beards these days. We go through periods when short hair is in style; some periods when long hair comes back. One thing is true. Barber shops are quite rare nowadays. Most people, men and women, go to some sort of hair salon to get their hair “done”. I will go on record saying that I wish the old fashioned barber shop would make a comeback. I think America could stand more scenes like we used to see on the old Andy Griffith Show where men would gather around a guy like Floyd the Barber to tell stories and have fun.
Adolph died in 1925; Clara died in 1934. Their son, Ludwig, died in 1966. All of them, including Ludwig’s wife, Oneida (Bingenheimer) Funke, are buried in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Longtown.
Now I have another question: Were there enough barbers in the Longtown area to form a Barbershop Quartet?