Several early barbers in Clay County started out working in J. D. Pollom’s barber shop before moving on, sometimes to operating their own barber shops. Joseph Daniel Pollom was born in Emporia, Kansas, on March 9, 1869. His parents were Martin Luther and Emma (Boone) Pollom. Dan is the name he went by. He was the second oldest child of his parents. His parents moved the family to Putnam County, Indiana. When he was eighteen, he opened a barber shop in Harmony, Clay County. He was there for about three years; then he went to Knightsville and opened “Pollom Barber Shop.” In 1894 he came to Brazil and opened J. D. Pollom Barber Shop.
Dan was a sharp and classy man. He had established the finest barber shop of the day. Jim Haney, a barber that had worked for Dan when he came to Brazil in 1917, said, “Dan had a lot of showman in his makeup, and this was demonstrated by his having seven silver dollars placed in the floor of his shop around the wash basin in the center of the room.” He also went on to tell the story, “I had occasion to compliment Dan on the fine team of horses he drove at the time. Dan had remarked that he had been prompted to procure a smart team because it had been suggested to him that this would be good advertising.” Haney said that in 1917 the J.D. Pollom Barber Shop was located where the National Drug Store lunch counter was located in 1962.
In the “good old days” they would begin work at 7:00 in the morning and closed at 7:00 at night most days. Barbers always worked late on Wednesday each week and also on the 10th and 25th of each month when the miners got paid.
One barber, W. A. Baldridge, started working at the Dan Pollom Barber Shop in 1924; Baldridge was the first in the area to graduate from a barbering school. After four years he left Pollom Barber Shop and moved into a partnership with E. O. “Jum” Lister. Later Baldridge was a successful barber with his son, William Jr., in downtown Brazil.
For a time “Blondie” Summers was the head barber at the Pollom Barber Shop. Later Blondie went to barbering at Fred Groth’s Shop. Another barber that worked for Pollom was Will Scott. Will purchased the H. J. Cory’s Barber Shop on West National Avenue on January 6, 1915. In 1962 William Scott joined with Jim Haney and Charles All to barber at the Central Barber Shop located at 1 West National Avenue.
Dan Pollom married Margaret “Maggie” Houk, and they were the parents of a son, Roy Luther Pollom. Maggie died April 14, 1901. Dan married Lena Tevis on July 10, 1902. Lena was very active in civic activities and charitable work. Lena died September 29, 1927.
Dan partnered with his son, Roy, and they operated an auto dealership. Dan died October 27, 1934. J. ‘Dan’ Pollom, Lena, and Roy are buried at Cottage Hill Cemetery.
Submitted by Rhonda Tincher, Clay County Genealogy Society, Center Point, Indiana
Sources: Find-a-grave from Cliff Blanchard; Brazil Daily Times, January 7, 1915; June 17, 1925; Oct. 25, 1943; July 9, 1960; April 7, 1962; Sept. 30, 1927; and Oct. 1, 1927; Clay County Genealogy Society Family Files.