Coleman, Warren Clay
- Loren Schweninger
Coleman, Warren Clay (25 March 1849–31 March 1904), businessman, was born a slave in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, the son of Rufus C. Barringer, a white lawyer and politician, and Roxanna Coleman. Little is known about his parents, but as a youngster he learned the shoemaker’s trade and also barbering. After the Civil War he briefly attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., paying for his board and room by hawking jewelry. He also worked as an itinerant salesman in North Carolina; he saved his earnings, and in 1869 he purchased a 130-acre farm in Cabarrus County, paying $600 for the well-timbered land. In 1870 he was listed in the census as the proprietor of a small grocery store in the town of Concord, North Carolina, with a total estate of $800 in real and personal property. During the same period he also began purchasing low-priced rental houses in and around Concord, paying between $125 and $300, and renting them for between $.50 and $1.25 per week. He continued this real estate activity for many years, and according to one estimate he eventually owned nearly 100 rental houses. In 1873 he married Jane E. Jones, a native of Alabama, in a church wedding; the couple had no children. He later became a trustee of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church....