Frank James’ Dallas Barber Dies

[Transcribed from The Indiana Gazette, Friday Apr. 26, 1957.]

Frank James’ Barber Dies at Age of 89

Dallas (AP) – Barber Johnny Dickson, who used to number outlaw Frank James among his regular customers, died yesterday.

Dickson, who worked at his trade until late last year, said in April 1956 he had cut his smoking down to nine cigars a day and hadn’t had a fist fight in eight years.

The colorful old man started barbering at Paris, Tex. at 14, standing on a box to reach the tops of customers’ heads. He came to Dallas in 1887 when the town was far from tame.

He started working at the Bird Cage Barber Shop, so called because two canaries suspended from guilded cages sang for the customers.

One of the regular clients was a slim blond man with blue-gray eyes, Dickson often related. He would ride up to the shop on a handsome sorrel horse and simply drop the reins. The animal always waited for its owner, Frank James, brother of train robber Jesse.

James was quiet and didn’t have much to say, Dickson remembered.

Barbershops have tamed down some, Dickson used to say. Then he’d relate how he won a horse and buggy in a barbershop crap game just before the turn of the century. “Couldn’t get away with that sort of thing now,” He’d say, with just a suspicion of regret.

Nine (sic) years ago he had his last fist fight. He said a youngster of about 40 spoke disrespectfully to him. They say at the barber shop Dickson knocked his opponent down three times and won the fight.

[The Indiana Gazette, Friday Apr. 26, 1957.]

Johnny Dickson was a barber in Dallas. At the time of his death on April 25, 1957 he was living at 610 1/2 Main Street in Dallas, the current location of the JFK Memorial. He was a widower and was survived by his son Leon Rose Dickson who was an electrician at the old Majestic Theater for 40 years. Both Leon and Johnny and their spouses are buried at Laureland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas.

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