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ALFRED E. GOODWYN


Mr. Alfred Earnest Goodwyn, of Bluefield, is well known as a business man and as a leader in the Masonic order. In his struggle up from poverty and obscurity to a position of success and large usefulness, Mr. Goodwyn has not always had an easy time. In fact, the way has been beset with many difficulties, and at times, with a plenty of fighting along the way. It must be said, however, that Mr. Goodwyn has not permitted these struggles, and even an occasional set-back, to discourage or embitter him. Always a hard worker, he is withal a cheerful soul, and radiates good cheer wherever he goes. He is a native of Virginia, having having been born in Richmond, Va., on December 6, 1875. His parents were Geo. T. Rhodes, Roanoke, Va., and Maggie Payne, Richmond, Va. Maggie Payne was the daughter of Virginia Payne and John Goodwyn. The boy took the name of his grandfather Goodwyn. He grew up in the city of Richmond and went to the Old Valley School, taught by Prof. H. W. Flournoy. From childhood he was self-reliant and self-supporting. He cleaned offices, shined shoes, sold newspapers or did whatever offered an opportunity to earn a livelihood.

He served his apprenticeship as a barber at the historic old Ballard & Exchange Hotel, under Wm. Ferguson in Richmond. From that time forward his rise was rapid. In the early nineties he went to the growing city of Roanoke where he remained till 1895. In that year he removed to what was then the small town of Bluefield. With practically no capital he launched the barber business at Bluefield. It grew from a small beginning by leaps and bounds till he was employing 55 barbers and had an income of a thousand dollars a week. Then like a bolt out of the clear sky came the panic of 1907, and it did to him what it did tom many another. He lost forty-five thousand dollars, more than a third of which was for endorsements. But he did not whine, nor stop, rather he set to work to do what he had done before. He had lost money and lost heavily, but he had not lost courage nor the confidence of his friends, white and colored.

On December 2, 1897, he married Miss Lettie Warren of Tazewell, Va. She is an accomplished woman and has herself, built a ladies hair dressing business of fine proportions. She is one of the most enterprising women of the race, and has the oldest and largest hairdressing establishment in West Virginia.

In politics Mr. Goodwyn is independent. He is a member of the Methodist church, in which he has been a trustee for more than a quarter of a century. Among the secret orders he is identified with the Masons, and it is in this connection that he is most widely known. He has belonged to the order for a number of years and has been Grand Master since 1917. At this time (1922) he is Grand High Priest, Grand Chapter, Royal Arch (Prince Hall) Masons of West Virginia. He is also a member of the Committee on the Suppression of Clandestine Masonry of International Conference of Grand Masters.

At times the storms have raged about his head as the chief officer of the order, but in the lodge, in the Grand Lodge, and in the courts of law he has made his fight and has won. So today it can be said that he stands high and his order in greater favor than at any time in the past. Mr. Goodwyn has done some things which make him an asset to the race and to the community in which he lives. He has succeeded in the face of difficulties, and that is worthy. He has set a good example as a citizen and as a business man and has pointed the way to every struggling youth.


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