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Traverse Benjamin Pinn 1842 - 1897

By Lionel Francis Pinn {Edited by Mary Bellis]

Traverse Benjamin Pinn - Patent Drawing

Traverse Benjamin Pinn - Patent Drawing For An Improved File Holder

Traverse Benjamin Pinn - Inventor

Traverse Benjamin Pinn received a US patent number 231,355 for an improved "File Holder" on August 17, 1880.

Traverse Benjamin Pinn - Biography

Traverse Benjamin Pinn was born in 1842 in Prince William County, Virginia. After leaving the homestead in Manassas, Pinn went on to establish a legacy of service for Virginia and the family. After the Civil War, Pinn worked for a few years as a laborer on the military railroads, turnpikes, camps, and forts that surrounded the Alexandria, VA area. At the age of 26, he was a successful barber in Alexandria when he met and married Susan E. Beckley.

Traverse Benjamin Pinn - Public Service

The Alexandria City Officialdom directory lists Traverse Benjamin Pinn as the first African-American member of the Common Council representing the city’s Fourth Ward from 1871 to 1872. An news article in The Alexandria Gazette dated October 10, 1872 describes a speech given by Pinn while serving as council member. "A radical "Jollification" meeting was held last night in front of their headquarters, at the Marshall House. A speech was given by Mr. T. B. Pinn predicting a radical triumph in November [1872] and looking forward to the re-election of President Grant as the greatest blessing that could be vouchsafed to mortals."

Another entry in the 1876-77 Officialdom lists Pinn as the "Publisher and Business Manager of The People’s Advocate" and "US Storekeeper." The People's Advocate was the first African-American newspaper in the region.

He served as County Supervisor of the Jefferson District of Alexandria County from July 1, 1879 until his resignation in 1881. Pinn was also elected Magistrate during the elections of May 25, 1780. Thanks given in large part to the Alexandria Library for providing information used in this article.

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