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Snellville legacy “Peanut” retires after 5 decades

Snellville legacy “Peanut” retires after 5 decades
By Beth Volpert Johansen

Several plaques on the wall proclaim what Snellville has known since Peanut opened his doors in town back in the 1960’s. Named “Best Old-Fashioned Barber” more than once, Peanut has stuck with the formula he established upon giving his first officially licensed cut on Nov. 20, 1959.

“I never had appointments,” says Peanut. “Customers just came in, took a seat, and waited their turn – they’d talk and tell about what was going on around town – it’s been good that way.” 

Judging from the number of heartfelt birthday wishes on a Facebook posting a few months ago, Mr. Kenneth “Peanut” Dalton remains one of the most beloved people of Snellville. The nickname by which most call him came from his size at birth. Weighing just at 3 lbs at birth and dropping to 2.5lbs, his parents called him a peanut. “My mama would wrap me up and put me to bed in a shoebox.”  

After 55+ years of barbering service to the community, Peanut has decided to make 2016 a year of retirement. “I plan to do some traveling with Carol, my wife,” says Peanut. “We are going to go see my sister in Nevada first, I think.” He and Carol live in a two story historic home in Social Circle that once belonged to Nathalie Dupree’s mother-in-law. The facade of the house, built in 1872, can be seen in a few movies including Fighting Temptation. “I am looking forward to tending my yard some,” says Peanut. “Maybe my customers will come by for a cut once in awhile too.”

His customers will be who he misses the most with retirement. “I’ve cut quite a few heads of hair,” says Peanut. “Lots of football players and lots of ‘high and tights’ for the military.” One of those who has kept his hair “high and tight” for as many years as he can remember is Tim Hall who made sure he got his hair cut on the way into town on leave from the Navy and again just before returning from leave. “Peanut has been cutting my hair for 39 years,” says Tim. “I don’t even have to tell him how to cut it – I think the only weeks I’ve missed getting Peanut to cut my hair is when I was in the Navy stationed in Connecticut.” 

peanut1190While thinking out loud about all the heads of hair he has cut, Peanut happened on the situation that gave him his busiest day ever. “The most I ever did in one day was 42 buzz cuts,” laughs Peanut. “All the football players from South came in before camp and I cut them all.”

Aside from football, military, and regulars, Peanut has been the go-to guy for 1st haircuts. Terry Britt recalls Peanut cutting five generations of his family’s hair. “He is a true Snellville tradition-I got my first haircut there,” says Terry.  “His phrase was ‘boy, I am going to cut your ear off if you don’t be still’…He did threaten to cut my ear off numerous times!” 

New Year’s Eve 2015 saw the last of Peanut’s customers enjoying the same camaraderie that has made Dalton’s Barber and Style a tradition in Snellville. “I thank and appreciate all my customers and what they have done for me,” says Peanut. “Most of them have my business card, they can call me, come visit, and maybe get a trim at the house-who knows!”