1 September 2018
by Don Taylor
Today, in recognition of World Beard Day, I’m recognizing some of my ancestral beards. I’ve had a beard most of my life. I didn’t have a beard for the first few years in the Navy, but while Admiral Zumwalt was the Chief of Naval Operations and beards were allowed, I too had one. I grew a full beard again after I got out of the service. I shaved it off for a short time while I ran for City Council in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, but promptly grew it back after I failed to win. My wife has never seen me without a beard except in photos and we’ve been together since 1991. She says shaving it off would be grounds for separation.
My Maternal Side – Mannin & Parsons
My 3rd great-grandfather, Enoch Mannin had the most amazing chin-curtains ever. I find chin-curtains to be beards without the benefit of not shaving. Chin-curtains require daily shaving of the face. Mustache area, cheeks, and chin are all shaved daily. Only the area under the jawline is left to grow. I find shaving under the jawline and shaving the neck to be the easiest part of shaving, so leaving that natural and shaving the more difficult areas seems odd to me.
My 4th great-grandfather, Chester Parsons also had interesting chin-curtains as well. In The History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, Page 437, a drawing of Chester Parsons shows his chin-curtains were gray in the center under his chin and dark on the sides.
My Paternal Side –
Although he was clearly a working man, my 2nd great-grandfather, Samuel Vaden Scott, had a nice, well-groomed beard (at least when the photo was taken).
His father, my 3rd great-grandfather, William Hunter Scott had a full beard. The photo I have of him shows a beard much like mine was several years ago – white on the sides with salt & pepper on the chin and mustache. He had an interesting face.
Although not related directly to me Henry Conn, Sr., the 3rd great-grandfather of my nephews Mike & Luke, had wild hair, a full beard, and a twisted bar mustache. He was an Oregon pioneer.
Some years ago, I worked for a military organization as a civilian. Some of the leadership there were active duty officers. When one of the majors came on board and was introduced to the employees. When he was introduced to me the first words he had for me weren’t, “Hello, nice to meet you” or anything similar. Rather his first words were, “When are you going to get a shave and a haircut?” A couple weeks later, I was in the cafeteria with a couple other bearded employees. I saw that Major A. was coming over to our table. Upon his arrival, I segued the conversation to beards. I asked the table if they knew how shaving became popular in Western Culture. When no one knew the answer, I said it came from “the Greeks, some of whom wanted to keep their boyish appearance for their men lovers.” Major A. never again suggested I shave.
Today, on World Beard Day, I remember all my ancestors who had beards.