Isham Smith, Goldsboro NC – husband of Nancy Henderson Smith; undertaker, circa 1900-1914.
William T. Abrams Jr., Union SC — husband of Mamie Aldridge Abrams Rochelle; undertaker in family business, circa 1930.
William J. Allen, Newport News VA – embalmer, 1930s-1970s?
James N. Guess Sr., Goldsboro NC — husband of Annie Smith Guess; owner and operator of funeral home, Pine between James and Center Streets, 1910s-1950s.
The Afro-American, 22 June 1940.
James N. Guess, Jr., Goldsboro NC – worked for father’s funeral business.
Columbus E. Artis, Wilson NC – owner and operator of Artis & Freeman Funeral Home, 1920s; C.E. Artis Funeral Home, 1920s-1950s.
Concord Daily Tribune, 24 May 1921.
The twelfth in an occasional series exploring the ways in which my kinfolk made their livings in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
3 thoughts on “Where we worked: morticians and embalmers.”
Hello Lisa my name is Jacqueline Hunt and James Guess provided funeral services for my grandmother Mary Eady in 1950. He removed the body from state hospital in Goldsboro on August 9 1950. Do you think there are any records left, obituary, burial site or picture of my grandmother. No one has a picture of her in the family.
Hi, Jacqueline. As far as I know, no records survive for Guess’ funeral business. Even if they did, I doubt they’d include a photo. Few black people had obituaries in that era, but you might check for digitized Robeson County newspapers. Guess removed the body, which means he transported her to Robeson, but likely was not involved in the burial. Have you tried to obtain your grandmother’s medical records from Cherry? I don’t know if the state has kept them, but if so, they should provide considerable info. Best of luck. — Lisa
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