Jim Borren (1897 - 1984)





Cause of death: Murdered. See related story.

Cause of death

Murdered. See related story.


Last Known Residence

Woodbury, Cannon County, Tennessee


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Shepard Humphries I lived near Woodbury when I was in 5th grade, approximately 1984. I went to a Mennonite school and lived with my single mother. We had never had television and I had never observed "french kissing." One day, in Woodbury, on a side street, we saw a small barber shop that advertised very inexpensive haircuts. We went inside where a nice very old man greeted us. Sure enough, hair cuts were as advertised; ridiculously low priced. My mother was usually very protective of me, but an old man in a public barber shop could not be a threat, could he?

Mom left to walk downtown on other errands and I began getting my hair cut. I remember I never left the main customer area. The barber paused in cutting my hair and asked me for "some sugar" which I knew meant kissing. Older women would sometimes ask for some sugar and would then give a peck on the lips. I recall thinking it strange, but he leaned down and I puckered up to give the nice old man a peck. To my surprise he put his tongue in my mouth, I still remember the taste of chewing tobacco. He resumed cutting my hair, and soon thereafter my mother returned and he finished the haircut. I recall him showing us some pictures of children at his counter, which was to the right of the chair when walking in the doorway. Straight ahead was a curtain that at some point he showed us was his living quarters.

After leaving, I told my mother what had happened, and she immediately took me to the police who tried to say, "He is just an old man" but upon my mother's insistence took me to a child welfare office of some sort where I told someone (a man) about what had happened ... I think I drew a picture of the barber shop. I don't recall any followup, and we moved away from the area. Later we heard from our friend (whom we had told about my incident) that the barber had been beaten to death, I think with a frying pan? She didn't say so, but it was our impression that it was likelihood a brother, uncle, dad or similar had a family member that had been molested by the barber, and had sought justice. No proof, but that was our suspicion.

I later went on to become a police officer in Wyoming and was for a time assigned to work as a Crimes Against Children Detective. I don't feel like "my life was ruined" by the dirty old man, but when a former 5th grade classmate contacted me this evening and reminded me of my time in Woodbury, I did a Google search and found the article which referred to an old Woodbury barber's murder as a "mystifying tragedy." I feel I must speak out. I am aware of many cases of a much more serious nature when adults sexually molest children, but if a former cop and a recognized shooting instructor and security consultant can't speak out, how can I expect other folks to speak up when abused?

Was there another old man in Woodbury that worked in a one-room barber shop in 1984 that offered ridiculously low-priced haircuts and really liked children? if so, I apologize for casting dispersions on Jim Borren. I wish deceased people to be "accurately" remembered. - Shepard Humphries
Feb 05, 2013 · Reply

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