The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 331
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
in 1851. During the sixteen years of the diary, 1835-1851, Johnson
operated the most reputable barber shop in the best business
area of Natchez. The barber shop was a source of income for his
various business ventures and it provided also a ringside view
of the scenes and events of Old Natchez-from the life in the
stately white houses on the "bluff" to the rolling river-front
Johnson was most remarkable for his affinity with the white
planter aristocracy and his emulation of every aspect of its cul-
ture. He lived in a three-story brick house in a good white sec-
tion of Natchez. His children studied art, he served rare wines
at dinner, he owned and raced horses, traveled in style, attended
the theater, wore elegant clothes, left the city for the country to
escape yellow fever, and he had the typical attitude toward mere
"darkeys" and poor "white trash." He owned a plantation and
slaves and had the outlook and even the noblesse oblige of a
Quitman, a Prentiss, or a Bingaman, all of whom he knew and
who were at times his patrons.
Johnson's town blended the classic features of the heartland
of ante-bellum slave-planter economy and society with the brawl-
ing get-rich-quick atmosphere of a heterogeneous river front port.
Half of the 4,600 inhabitants were foreign-born. There were
Italians, Dutch, Greeks, "wild" Irishmen, Germans, French, and
many "yankees." Elsewhere, above the rowdyism of trade and
traffic, Natchez and Adams County represented the flowering of
Southern culture and boasted certainly the bluest blood south of
Through a fabric of narratives, these skilled writers have re-
created the action and the spirit of Old Natchez. In final ap-
praisal, Johnson was both the hero and victim of the order in
which he lived. He did head the social register of free Negro
society in Natchez and he was the confidant, to a point, of the
leading business and professional white men, but he could never
cross the chasm of color and really be a civic associate of the
class to which he was mentally and spiritually akin. Despite
prosecution by the great attorney W. T. Martin, his assassin
went free largely because the testimony of a Negro against a
white was not allowed in a Southern court. The Barber of
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/360/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.