by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
If the calendar on the wall is correct, this photograph was taken in April, 1924. The barber is Charlie Johnson. He was the son of Harvey and Permelia Johnson, born on April 13, 1896.
A World War I veteran, Charlie enlisting on June 5, 1917 in Battery E, 129th field artillery, 35th division and was discharged on June 6, 1919 having fought on the front lines for 89 days.
When he returned home he married Ruby Huff on September 15, 1919. That same year he opened the barber shop which he ran for 16 years. I remember a barber shop in the basement of the old Sni-A-Bar Bank building, but I have no idea where this shop may have been located.
In 1935, Charlie became the acting postmaster of Grain Valley. Four years later on January 1, 1940 he became the postmaster, third class, where he served until transferring to rural carrier on Route 1 in August of 1944. He retired in 1957, having served as the rural carrier for 13-years under 2 different postmasters, Iva Gosney and Ruth Fine.
I remember Mr. Johnson and his wife Ruby from the 1950s when they had a basement filled with over 400 boxes of red wiggler worms. They began raising worms as a hobby to keep them busy after retirement. The worms were sold to fishermen and to individuals for composting and soil conservation.
Mr. Johnson died in 1971. His wife, Ruby was the 1978 Centennial Queen. Both were life-long residents of Grain Valley and they are buried in the Perdee Chapel Cemetery south of town.
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