In March and April of 1860, Lincoln was in Chicago attending sessions of the United States District Court, as counsel for the defendants in the "Sand Bar" case, which involved rights over sand bars along the Lake Michigan coast. By then, Lincoln was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the presidency, and it was thought he would be nominated at the Republican convention in May.
Philip Brand, circa 1860. Miltimore family photo.
Brand (1840-1914) was a German immigrant from the Hesse region, and came to Waukegan in 1859. His sense for business, and a visit by Lincoln did a good deal to making his clientele grow. In the years to come, Brand's shop served Waukegan's elite businessmen. He eventually built a three-story building for his business interests, which included a bath house complete with bathtubs, shaving and hairdressing facilities.
Brand was rightfully proud that Abraham Lincoln had come to him for a shave. Brand even stated that he was the last man to shave Lincoln. It would've been more accurate had Brand said he was one of the last to shave him, since Lincoln grew his famous beard months after his visit to Waukegan.
That evening, hundreds of Waukeganites attended Lincoln's speech at Dickinson's Hall, including Philip Brand, William Besley (brewer), and George Lyon (store clerk). Lincoln spoke of the wrong of slavery, and that the country was half slavery and half freedom, and no government divided against itself in such manner could stand.
J.W. Hull, also in attendance, recalled that "While [Lincoln] was speaking, such was the sledge-hammer force of his logic, that we forgot the humble appearance and the squeaky voice, and were carried away by the man's simple eloquence, his power of reasoning...."
Twenty minutes into the speech, word came that there was a fire at the Case Warehouse at the North Pier. Elisha Ferry rose and said that he believed the alarm was a Democratic plot to break up the meeting. Lincoln in turn said, "Well, gentlemen, let us all go, as there really seems to be a fire, and help put it out." Local legend states that indeed, Lincoln helped to extinguish the blaze, ruining his suit in the process.
It has also been said that Lincoln promised to come back to finish his speech another time, but he never made it back to Waukegan.
A white-haired Philip Brand standing at the front of his shop on Genesee Street, circa 1895.
Dunn Museum 2010.24
Philip Brand continued as a barber until his retirement about 1900.
Though it seemed Brand's barber shop was lost to time, in the spring of 1964, the shop was re-discovered during excavation work on Genesee Street. J.W. Peterson plumbers were digging a hole under the street and unexpectedly found barber mugs, bearing the names of former citizens.
Brand barber mug for G.P. Fleming, circa 1890. Note the cement inside the mug. Dunn Museum 70.83.6
Brand barber mug for Chase E. Webb, circa 1890. Webb was a Civil War veteran, Lake County Sheriff from 1886 - 1890, and Chief of Police in Waukegan from 1891-1897. Dunn Museum 70.83.1
- Currey, J. Seymour. “Mr Lincoln’s Visit to Waukegan in 1860.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1911): 178-183.
- "Unearth Shop of Man Who Shaved Lincoln," Chicago Tribune, May 24, 1964.
- Collections of the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County.