Explore Oxford Libraries, museums, and archives Archives Exhibits Movember Exhibit Mustaches
Menu

The Walrus

True to its name, the “Walrus” mustache resembles the whiskers of a walrus. It was common for the wearers of this style to have the mustache completely cover their mouths, thus creating difficulties when eating; men often had to move aside their mustache hairs to eat properly. Its popularity peaked in the late 1800s. Similar to the Chevron mustache, it was a favourite of European and North American military officers. Historically, facial hair has often been a symbol of strength and authority, the bushier the mustache the “manlier the man”. Famous wearers of this mustache include author Mark Twain, American President Theodore Roosevelt, and during the First World War French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and UK Prime Minister David Lloyd George both wore their own versions. In more recent times, actor Sam Elliott famously wears a Walrus mustache.

Ebenezer L. Sutherland – 1892 (West Zorra Township)

Ebenezer L. Sutherland served as Reeve for the Township of West Zorra from 1890 to 1892 and was elected Warden in 1892. He would also serve as Reeve for the Village of Embro in 1914. From 1894 to 1909, Mr. Sutherland serve as Clerk for the Township of West Zorra.

He was also associated with the Western Farmer’s Insurance Company, and was the captain of the Zorra tug-o-war team that pulled itself into world fame in Chicago in 1893. Affectionately known as “Little Abe”, he was more than six feet tall.

Van Dyke

Is it a beard? Is it a goatee? Is it mainly a mustache with a bit of added chin hair? There may not be a correct answer but the star of the show in the Van Dyke facial hair style is definitely the mustache. As seen here on Warden Kaufmann, the Van Dyke includes a mustache with a bit of disconnected chin hair. The mustache was occasionally left to droop naturally or styled upwards with wax, the chin hair often shaped into a round or point oval. This ‘stache style is often associated with the “Wild West” due to its popularity among gamblers and gunslingers like Doc Holliday and Buffalo Bill Cody during that period of history. However, its origins can be attributed to Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck, who is it namesake. He became the leading court painter in England during the 1630s.

Louis Kaufmann – 1897 (East Zorra, East Oxford Townships)

Born on October 8, 1854, in Cassel Ontario, Louis Kaufmann lived on the 16th Concession East Zorra Township where he worked as a saw-miller and lumberman. Affectionately known as Big Louie, for many years, he was also associated with his brother, John P., in a lumber business in Parry Sound. He first served on County Council in 1886 as 2nd Deputy Reeve for East Zorra Township. From 1887 to 1892 he served as First Deputy Reeve and then Reeve from 1893 to 1896. From 1897 to 1900 he would serve as a County Councillor for Council Division No. 7 consisting of the Townships of East Zorra and East Oxford. In 1897, he was elected Warden. He married Caroline Ede in 1877 and passed away April 28, 1942 at the age of 87.

The English

The English is a wide and thick style of mustache similar to the handlebar mustache but instead of curling at the ends the mustache is waxed at the sides, so the tips point straight out. As suggested by its name, the English mustache was popular among Englishmen in the late 1800s to early 1900s. One famous wearer was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the world-famous Sherlock Holmes stories. It had broken through to the mainstream in recent years thanks to its popularity among “hipsters” who can often be seen sporting this style of ‘stache.

John Youngs – 2nd of 1901 (East Nissouri, West Zorra, Embro)

The County Councils Act, 1896 divided the County into seven district or divisions known as “County Council Divisions”. In 1901, S.J. Cole of Woodstock was elected Warden. However, on July 1st of that year the Town of Woodstock became a City and Council appointed John Youngs of West Zorra to complete the term of office.

Lamp Shade

The Lamp Shade is part of a group of mustache styles known for their “pyramidal” shape. The Lamp Shade typically resembles a trapezoid with the edges hanging over the corners of the mouth. While some men were wearing this style of mustache in the early 1900s, it did not become trendy until the 1920s (Warden Carroll was a trendsetter in his time!). The popularity of the style did not stick around however, by the 1940s men were donning thinner mustaches above their upper lips. In the current day the style is popular among African-American entertainers who wear it shortly trimmed and neatly outlined, seen in recent times on the faces of Eddie Murphy and Steve Harvey.

Charles W. Carroll – 1906 (Norwich, North Norwich & South Norwich)

Charles W. Carroll was born April 29, 1858 and lived on the Carroll homestead south and east of Norwich for some years. He received his education at Norwich and Woodstock College. He farmed for a number of years, before moving to the Village of Norwich where he conducted a lumber business. Mr. Carroll first entered municipal politics in 1896 and would serve as Reeve from 1901 to 1907 and from 1913 to 1916. In 1906 he was elected Warden. He was also a staunch Liberal and was chairman of the local organization for years.

A member of the United Church, he was a chairman of the board of stewards. In addition, He was a past president of the North Norwich Agricultural Society and a director for almost 60 years. Mr. Carroll was also a past president of the Otter Fire Insurance Co. and an inspector and valuator, spanning four decades. At the time of his death, he was president of the Western Farmers Weather Insurance Mutual Company. He passed away at home on April 7, 1944 at the age of 85.

Handlebar Mustache

The Handlebar Mustache is arguably one of the most iconic mustache styles in Western society. This mustache style is typically full and thick with the ends grown much longer and curled upwards, occasionally forming elaborate loops. Smaller versions of this mustache are known as the “petit handlebar”. A larger more elaborate version of the handlebar is known as the “Hungarian” style. The handlebar style dates back to the European Iron Age from 500 – 322 BC but did not become a common facial hair style until the late 1800s. Many men in Europe donned this mustache as a symbol of their higher social status. Famous wearers of this style include Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Joseph Stalin, and U.S. President William H. Taft. It is now a favourite of the modern day “hipster”.

William Holmes – 1907 (South Norwich Township)

William Holmes was born on January 21, 1857 in East Zorra Township, to Donald and Christina Holmes. In 1879, he married Janet Murray. For many years, Mr. Holmes was a farmer on Lot 13, Concession 8 Township of South Norwich before becoming Postmaster of Otterville (a position he held for 19 years). A prominent Liberal, he served as Reeve for the Township of South Norwich for 5 years, trustee for 20 years and as a village trustee for several years. In 1907, he was elected Warden.

He was one of the oldest members of Tecumseh Lodge, I.O.O.F., of which he was a member for more than 40 years. He was also an active member of the United Church and was an elder for the last few years of his life. He passed away at his home, in his 83rd year, on August 10, 1940.

The Gunslinger

The Gunslinger is just a larger, more relaxed version of the handlebar mustache. It is named after the famous (and sometimes infamous) gunslingers who donned this mustache style in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Wyatt Earp in particular made this mustache style very popular, being a symbol of masculinity and authority himself, his mustache style of choice became representative of the same qualities.

William McGhee – 1911 (North Oxford Township)

Elected Warden in 1911, he served on County Council as Reeve of North Oxford Township from 1909 to 1911.

The Chevron

The Chevron mustache is full and dips slightly below the upper lip on either side of the mouth. Despite the mustache truly having its heyday in the 1980s thanks to actor Tom Selleck, men were wearing the style 70 years earlier, as seen here on Warden Denton. This style of mustache was popular among military men in the early 1900s, and soon became a symbol of masculinity and authority, leading to its popularity among North American police officers in the 1970s.

C.H. Denton – 1913 (Tillsonburg)

Charles Hamilton Denton was born in 1861 on the Denton homestead in the Township of Blenheim. As a young man, he clerked at a general store in Aylmer, before purchasing the hardware business of R.R. Goulding, in Tillsonburg with his brother. Two years later he sold his business and accepted a position for the Hamilton firm Adam Hope & Co. After a short period he again entered the hardware business in Tillsonburg. In 1892, he founded a well-known insurance company.

Mr. Denton was extremely active in municipal affairs, having been first elected to the town council in 1898. He served in the capacity of reeve on many occasions, and as mayor for three terms in 1904, 1910 and 1917. Upon his election as Warden, in 1913, the Woodstock Express stated: “The new warden, C.H. Denton, is 52, but he doesn’t look it. It might also be mentioned that he is generally considered to be the handsomest man in the Council.”

He was very active in his community, serving as chairman of the Tillsonburg Public Utilities Commission for more than 10 years, and was a charter member of the Lions Club. He also served as president of the Tillsonburg and Dereham Agricultural Society, as well as an honorary president of the Tillsonburg Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Denton was always very much interested in fraternal and service club organizations.He was a life member and past master of King Hiram Lodge, No. 78, A.F. & A.M. At the time of his passing he was the treasurer of the lodge. He was a past Noble Grand of Otter Lodge, No. 50, I.O.O.F., a member of Lisgar Encampment, No. 87, I.O.O.F., the Ancient Order of Foresters, and the Woodmen of the World. He was a life member of the Rose Croix, Scottish Rite Masons. He also acted as secretary and grand master of the Canadian Home Circle and the Canadian Order of Odd Fellows.

He was active in the Ontario Motor League for many years, being one of the members of its board of directors. From the time the Tillsonburg Motor Club was organized until three or four years prior to its disbanding, he served as its secretary-treasurer, afterwards as a director. He was also a member of the Ontario Fire and Casualty Insurance Agents’ Association and was on the advisory council of that organization at the time of his passing on April 7, 1940.

The Professor

The Professor style seems to have been named after the old English style of mustache adopted by professors at universities throughout the West in the early 1900s. A thick mustache, with long wiry hair extending below the lip seems to be the staple “professor” look in many movies historically and in modern day film. The centre of the mustache is often narrowed so the shape resembles a bowtie, which sets it apart from the similar “Walrus” style. It’s a mustache style that represents maturity and intellect.

John H. Lillico – 1919 (Blenheim Township)

Born November 19, 1866 in Blenheim Township, John Hugh Lillico lived his entire life on a farm in the Township. He began his public service as s school trustee in his home section, before being elected to the Township Council in 1909. He would serve as Deputy Reeve on County Council from 1915 to 1917, Reeve in 1918 and was elected Warden in 1919.

In 1921, he was selected as the candidate by the Progressives of North Oxford, and after a stirring campaign was defeated by a narrow margin, running third in a very close contest with M.P. Dr. Sinclair and E.W. Nesbitt.

In addition to his public service, Mr. Lillico was an ardent church worker, serving as a trustee of the Knox Church in Ayr. At the time of his death, he was the chairman of its board of management. Following a horrific farming accident, he died on July 24, 1925 and was interred at the Ayr Cemetery.

The Boxcar

The Boxcar is one of many “pyramidal” style mustaches. It is similar to the “toothbrush” style famously worn by Charlie Chaplin; however, the boxcar extends further out to the corners of the mouth but still retains a rectangular shape and was trimmed shortly. The style first made its appearance on the faces of men in the late 1800s but gained its peak popularity during the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933 due to the style being cheap to obtain at barbershops. It later gained popularity once again in the East as it was worn by Japanese military officers during the Second World War.

J.L. Silcox – 1929 (Blandford Township)

John Lansing Silcox was born on June 16, 1864, to John and Philanda Silcox. The family would eventually move to lot 19 Concession 2 Blandford Township, where he resided for most of his life. He spent 10 years in Oakland California and Spokane Washington where he worked with his brother, Frank, in a construction business. He returned to Woodstock in 1890 and a year later married Sarah Grayson, in Stratford Ontario.

Mr. Silcox was first elected to Blandford Township Council in 1915 and served as Reeve from 1927 to 1929. In 1929, he was elected Warden.

During Word War II, he worked for the Canada Defense Department, as the camp carpenter for Canadian Driving and Maintenance School (C.D. & M.S.), located at the Woodstock Fairgrounds. He would pass away on May 19, 1949 and is buried at Hillview Cemetery, Woodstock.

Pyramid Mustache

The pyramid mustache is a style that loosely resembles the shape of a pyramid, it is neatly trimmed, and its edges do not extend past the corners of the mouth. Pyramidal mustaches were all the rage in the 1920 to the early 1940s. The transition from larger, fuller mustaches to styles such as this is often attributed to the First World War. Soldiers had to be clean shaven or don a small, closely trimmed mustache so that a gas mask could seal properly to their faces. Famously worn by General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistance during the Second World War and President of France in 1958.

Robert Oliver – 1932 (East Nissouri Township)

Born on June 14, 1869 on Lot 12 Concession 9 East Nissouri (Kintore), Robert Oliver was a farmer and contractor. In 1919, he purchased the Kester family hardware store in Thamesford, Ontario. Eventually known as Oliver Brothers Hardware Store, he operated the business for over 30 years before his nephew and brother-in-law took over. Mr. Oliver represented East Nissouri Township on County Council for three years as Deputy Reeve, Reeve and Warden. He would also serve on the Thamesford Village Council.

He was the director of the Thamesford Waterworks, served as a Justice of the Peace, and was Secretary-Treasurer of the East Nissouri Telephone Company. In addition, he was a past master of King Solomon Lodge No. 394, a member of the Canadian Order of Foresters and an ardent member of the Thamesford Bowling Club. He passed away on November 13, 1949.

Pencil Mustache

The pencil mustache, a thin line of hair grown just above the top lip, was symbolic of charm, elegance, and style. It was made famous by actors and musicians in Hollywood during the 1930s and 1940s. Leading men and heartthrobs such as Clark Gable and Errol Flynn were featured on screens with this trendy style and men throughout the Western world were quick to copy these silver screen idols. The style was fleeting for the leading men of Hollywood, but its legacy was carried on by several famous African-American musicians and entertainers. Singer-songwriter Little Richard, famous for laying the foundations of rock and roll in the 1950s and his influence within the genres of funk and soul music, wore a pencil mustache during his time in the limelight. Singer, dancer, actor Sammy Davis Jr. also donned this style in the 1950s and 60s. Famous musician Prince continued on the tradition and wore a mustache in this style for most of his career from the 1970s onward.

J. Winston Nichols – 1946 (North Oxford Township)

Raised on a farm at R.R. 2 Ingersoll, J. Winston Nichols was only 37 when he held the office of Warden in 1946. Previously he had served on the North Oxford Township Council for five years. He was born on May 14, 1908 and received his early schooling at Dunn’s S.S. No. 4. He married Jean Moffat of Ingersoll on April 25, 1931. He was a member of St. James Anglican Church, a member of St. Johns A.F. and A.M. Lodge in Ingersoll and was actively connected with the Rural Hockey League.

Oxford County is taking steps to support our community's response to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and measures taken by Southwestern Public Health. We are monitoring our operations daily to ensure we are taking the right actions to protect our residents, employees and visitors. Get updates at www.oxfordcounty.ca/COVID-19