My good friend, Harland Moore, is doing what we all should be doing: writing his memories. Today’s article comes from him.
Daniel Webster Bingham, son of “Buck Snort” Bingham, was married to Mary Brown Bingham who had the cleanest, most weed-free garden in all of Beattie. One time she was teasing Uncle John Kelley about his unkempt garden and asked him if she could pull some hog weeds out of his garden to feed to her pig.
“No! By grabs! If you had of worked your garden like I did mine, you would have had plenty of weeds,” was his reply.
Dan was a barber in Beattie. His shop was a one-room building about 12×16, made of boxing planks. It had one door and one window, and the furnishings consisted of a swivel barber chair, a small coal oil heater with a five-gallon water can on top of it which supplied the warm water to make lather in the shaving mug. (Anyone who came too early got a cold water shave!)
The rest of the furniture was a bench for waiting and for the game of checkers that was always in progress.
Dan Bingham never owned a car; his home was a few hundred yards from the shop, and he walked both ways twice each day. For many years after WWII, he charged only thirty-five cents for a hair cut. His bargain price was three for a dollar, and men with large families brought their boys from far and near to “get their ears lowered.”
Dan was a generous man. If you were broke, he would cut your hair on credit and then loan you a dollar!
The barbershop was the center for political and religious discussions, and Dan had some very firm convictions on both. Sometimes he would get so excited and worked up that he would prance and dance around the shop. He would slap his customers on the back or on the leg, and he would wave his arms about as he loudly proclaimed his convictions.
Often he had an open strait razor in his hand, and when he would wave it around and take a quick scrape at your face or the back of your neck, you would fear that “your time had arrived,” and you would wish that you had never climbed into that chair.
The favorite pastime of some of the old-timers was to get a stranger in the chair and then start a political discussion about W. Lee O’Daniel and his race for Texas Governor. Dan might be worked up for two or three days, and nobody knows how many half-shaved men fled for their lives, taking the hair cloth with them!
Dan Bingham now sleeps in the Sandhill Cemetery.