Early newspapers carry advertisement for cabinet makers. John and Thomas Deatherage, John C. Hicks, Samuel C. Robertson, Joseph Ward, Samuel G. Cheatham, Joseph Ward and James B. McCombs are among those whose names are found before 1825.
|Elias Dobson, Coffins made on the shortes notice... Nashville_Whig_Mon__Nov_8__1824|
After Nashville was occupied by Union troops in 1862, W. R. Cornelius became the undertaker for the U.S. Government. In 1863 he partnered with Dr. E. H. Lewis of New York. De. Lewis brought with him the practice of embalming.
Undertakers did not begin to offer rooms or parlors for the viewing of bodies and funeral services until the 1880's. These parlors were usually just store front rooms in a commercial building or in a warehouse. In 1902 Mr. Finley Dorris brought change to Nashville's undertaking business by opening a funeral parlor in a residence. Mr. Dorris renovated the old John Hill Eakin home on Church Street. He combined the double parlors and furnished them as a chapel where funeral service could be held. Mr. Dorris had been in the funeral business since 1880. He got the idea for his funeral home after visiting similar establishements in the northeastern United States.
Old homes converted into funeral parlors became common. Over one hundred years after Mr. Dorris opened his funeral home, there are still many funeral businesses occupying old homes in Nashville. Metro Nashville Archives has a collection of rotogravure prints that were in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. One Sunday the rotogravure section featured images of Nashville Funeral Homes.
|The National Funeral Home, 209 Woodland Street, Mrs. Letty Sweeney, Metro Nashville Archives|
|Sweeny Funeral Home, 321 Woodland Street, Metro Nashville Archives|
|Wiles Bros Funeral Home, 129 8th Ave. So., Metro Nashville Archives|
|Dorris, Karsch & Co., 129-131 9th Ave. No., Metro Nashville Archives|
|Crafton & Co., 610 Russell Street, Metro Nashville Archives|
|Gupton Undertaking Co., 215 8th Ave. So., Metro Nashville Archives|
|Rain, Pettus, Burnett, 2101 Church Street, Metro Nashville Archives|
|Davis, Austin & Co., 1607 Broadway, Metro Nashville Archives|
|M. S. Combs, 201 25th Ave. No., Metro Nashville Archives|
In 1931 there were 22 undertaking businesses listed in the Nashville City Directory.
1. Austin, Charles K. Co. 1621 Broadway
2. Combs, M. S. & Co. 201 25th Ave. No.
3. Crafton & Co. 625 Cedar St.
4. Crowder, Charles L. 709 Cedar St.
5. Dorris, Karsch & Co. 129-131 9th Ave. No.
6. Gardner, K. Funeral Co. 1511 Jefferson St.
7. Gupton Undertaking Co. 215 8th Ave. So.
8. Hill, Zema 1306 South St.
9. Hockett, William 1207 Edgefield Ave.
10. Irving A. M. Murray Co. 921 Main St.
11. Johnson-Brown Co. 172 Lafayette St.
12. Martin & Rollow 1715 Broadway
13. McGavock, Wm. H. 422 4th Ave. No.
14. Moore & Crowder 314 Cedar St.
15. Rains, Pettus & Edmondson 2101 Church St.
16. Ransom & Morris 1602 Cedar St.
17. Roesch, Johnson & Charlton 1529 Broadway
18. Sweeney, Mrs. Letty 209 Woodland St.
19. Sweeney Funeral Home 321 Woodland St.
20. Taylor & Co. 449 4th Ave. No.
21. Wiles, Bracey & Marshall 129 8th Ave. So.
22. Wilkerson Co. 124 7th Ave. No.