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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Efird, Joseph Bivens

by Frank P. Cauble, 1986

13 May 1883–11 Jan. 1966

A photograph of Joseph Bivens Efird published in 1949. Image from the North Carolina Digital Collections.Joseph Bivens Efird, department store executive, was born in Anson County, near Wadesboro. A descendant of early German settlers, he was a son of John Emory and Anna Maria Turner Efird. After attending Wingate Junior College, he began his mercantile career at Charlotte in 1902 and eventually established more than fifty Efird department stores in the Carolinas and Virginia. There were seven Efird brothers, Hugh Martin, Samuel Morton, Edmund Lilly, John Ray, Joseph Bivens, Paul Haywood, and Jasper Wilson. All of them except Samuel Morton participated in the management and operation of the Efird stores. J. B. Efird, who always maintained his office at Charlotte, served as president and directing manager of the Efird stores until they were sold to the Belk Department Stores in 1956. He was a pioneer in the operation of one-price cash stores and in providing insurance and pension benefits for his employees.

Efird was a member of the board of trustees of Queens College, Wingate Junior College, the North Carolina Baptist Hospital, and the Charlotte YMCA and YWCA. An active member of the Baptist church, he donated the site for the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte.

On 8 May 1917 Efird married Margaret Elizabeth Withers. They had three children: Elizabeth Withers, Joseph Bivens, Jr., and Hugh Martin II. He was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte.


Charlotte Observer, 21 Oct. 1923, 26 July 1936, 15 Jan. 1966.

O. O. Efird, The History and Genealogy of the Efird Family (1964).

Raleigh News and Observer, 22 Sept. 1956, 13 Jan. 1966.

Who's Who in Commerce and Industry (1959).

Additional Resources:

"Efird's Department Stores." The E.S.C. Quarterly 7. No. 3-4. Summer-Fall 1949. p.92-94. (accessed September 25, 2012).

Wright, Christina A. "SURVEY AND RESEARCH REPORT WITHERS-EFIRD HOUSE." Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. 30 June 2000. October 10, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Four N. C. Natives Achieve Fame As Merchandising Leaders: Paul H. Rose." Photograph. The E.S.C. Quarterly 7. No. 3-4. Summer-Fall 1949. p.94. (accessed October 10, 2013).

Origin - location: