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Prince Honeycutt and his family
*Prince Honeycutt was born on this date in 1852. He was a Black barber and semi-pro baseball player.
Prince Albert Honeycutt was born a slave in Tennessee. He ran away during the American Civil War when he was 10 years old. He joined a unit from the Union Army wanting to serve as a drummer boy, but he was too young, so he worked as a mess boy for Union soldier James Compton.
It was that connection with Compton that eventually led Honeycutt to Fergus Falls, MN. When the Civil War ended, Honeycutt went back to Tennessee but found the Klu Klux Klan was gaining strength. He then made his way to Compton’s home in Pennsylvania. Honeycutt worked for Compton for several years, and when Compton moved to Fergus Falls in July 1872, Honeycutt came along. In 1873, Honeycutt helped found the Fergus Falls North Star Baseball Club and played left field for the team.
Perhaps without even knowing it, Honeycutt established a sporting legacy beyond Fergus Falls. According to baseball historian Steven Hoffbeck, Honeycutt is the first recorded instance of a Black baseball player in Minnesota. Honeycutt continued to play outfield for many years, as the city and surrounding areas saw the formation of teams like the Young Americans, Hoss Marines, Ancient Americans and the Musculars.
He worked a variety of odd jobs during his first few years in Fergus Falls. His first wife died while giving birth to their second child. Honeycutt remarried in 1878 and had another two children. In 1882 Honeycutt opened a barber shop on Lincoln Avenue in Fergus Falls and he ran for mayor and lost in 1896. Both of his daughters graduated high school in the 1800’s and became teachers and taught in country schools in Otter Tail County.
Prince Albert Honeycutt died on January 29, 1924 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.
Missy Hermes, Otter Tail Historical Society.