The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Robert Wilkerson came to St. Louis between 1834 and the early 1840s from Cincinnati. His first few years in St. Louis were marked by legal trouble as he had failed to purchase a license to be in the state. He soon moved past his legal troubles, and on October 20, 1842, he married Julia Ann Spears. Together they had eight children. He established a barbershop which first appears in the St. Louis directory in 1848 at 38 Vine. He moved from that location in 1852 to a new location at 4th and Pine and then to another location on Olive St. The 1860 census indicates tragedy for the family in the death of their daughter Georgianna. Wilkerson's business survived the Civil War and continued to prosper, and by 1871, his estate was valued at $25,000. Wilkerson died in 1880.