Florville's Barber Shop

Florville's Barber Shop (HM12RR)

Location: Springfield, IL 10014 Sangamon County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 47.967', W 89° 38.733'

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William Florville was Lincoln's barber for twenty-four years.
Florville, or de Fleurville ("Billy the Barber" to his white customers), was born in Haiti of French ancestry. He came to America at age fifteen and was a barber's apprentice in Baltimore.He moved to new Orleans, but left in fear that he might be illegally enslaved. While traveling along Illinois' Sangamon River in 1831 he met an axe-wielding young man in a red flannel shirt emerging from the woods—-22-year-old Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln took Florville to New Salem for overnight lodging and saw him off to Springfield the next day. Here Florville opened the city's first barber shop, its first laundry, and over time became an affluent resident. Lincoln was his attorney. Florville was the father of five, a devoted Catholic,supported local charities, and was a popular musician. He was invited to join Springfield's dignitaries at the front of Lincoln's funeral procession. He chose instead to march at the rear where Springfield's African American delegation was assigned.

Barbering was closely identified with African Americans in Lincoln's era. In 1850 Springfield had no white barbers, yet almost a quarter of the men who headed the city's 27 black families were barbers. They lived in small clusters throughout the city. More than 20 lived within three blocks of Lincoln's home. Opportunities were severely limited. Most were employed as domestic servants or in servile trades. The 1850s were difficult years for Springfield's black community. Hardening racial attitudes and intimidation caused many to leave. European immigrants competed for menial jobs. By 1860 there were three German barbers in town.

Florville composed this witty advertisement in 1841, before he moved his shop to this location. Lincoln enjoyed loitering about the shop, sometimes forgetfully leaving law books here for days.

HM NumberHM12RR
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 6:14am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 273502 N 4408846
Decimal Degrees39.79945000, -89.64555000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 47.967', W 89° 38.733'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 47' 58.02" N, 89° 38' 43.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)646, 917, 212, 347, 718
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 701-799 E Monroe St, Springfield IL 10014, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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