Iveson Funeral Original Photos

Iveson Funeral Original Photos

​From the Iveson Photo Collection

The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
09 Nov 1910, Wed  •  Page 2

I have an idea where the funeral was for the Iveson child– but it was not in Strangfield. Because Tillbury, Ontario was 8 km from Comber/ Strangfield, Ontario, I assume that is where these photos are from. These were given to me to some research by a local Lanark County family.

Name:William Robert Iveson
Birth Date:1909
Death Date:1910

Until the 1900s, folks were buried only in a shroud (aka winding sheet) or in a 6-sided coffin. The casket, that rectangle we think of today, was late to show up on the scene. The 6-sided coffin was favored because its special shape kept the body snugly in place, minimizing the problem of shifting weight. Perhaps more importantly, the 6-sided coffin (also called a “toe pincher”) allowed the family to literally cut corners by tapering the rectangle at both ends. This means the box took up less area than a rectangle so there was less dirt to move when hand digging the grave. Since one cubic foot of loose top soil weighs about 60 pounds, every shovel full counted.


From the Iveson Photo Collection

Family and friends cared for the body and kept it laid out at home for as many days as it took to build, dig, and in some cases, wait for signs of decomposition to ensure no one was being buried alive (a popular fear for many years). Economic resources, immigrant status, and religion all influenced what folks did during the viewing, but vigiling the body was common. Death care was a personal, handcrafted endeavor, and involvement in the process was a demonstration of compassion and emotional investment in town, village or prairie life.

The change from community-led funerals to the use of hired help was a change that rolled out very slowly and unevenly across the US as towns grew into cities, and community gave way to anonymity. Even close friends might not be able take time off from their new city-styled employment to personally assist in the potentially multi-day vigil, funeral and burial.

Miasma theory was finding a home in the public consciousness, supporting the idea that the essence of death which was present in air that surrounds cemeteries was dangerous. To counter this bad air, cemeteries were being moved to rural, bucolic spaces where the fresh air of the countryside could exert a cleansing quality on this dangerous miasma-filled cemetery air. City center burial grounds  were getting full, some as early as the late 1700’s following Philadelphia’s yellow fever epidemic, and by 1831 the town-centered burial grounds of big cities were being moved to the outskirts. The famous Mt. Auburn Cemetery, 4 miles outside the city of Boston, is the first cemetery built addressing the new sensibility: it was designed to be a magnificent park and garden, conducive to picnics, Sunday strolls, away from the heart of town and in fresh, flower scented air.

​From the Iveson Photo Collection

By the end of the 19th Century, the job of Undertaker was a trade which was regularly seen on census records, even in rural areas. Though transportation and coffin building were being outsourced in cities, dying at home and caring for the dead was still a community and family affair in rural areas, remaining common through the 1940s. In many rural areas of the country, family and community funerals never ceased.

Comber & District Historical Society Museum

How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

The Young Funeral Home Part 2- The Buchanan Scrapbook

Also read-The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

William Patterson — Patterson’s Funeral Home

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place

How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

The Last Man to Let you Down? Political Leanings at Local Funeral Homes?

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

Cemetery or Funeral Cake

The Woman Who Got the Dead End Sign Removed in Carleton Place

Ed Fleming — The First Funeral Parlour in Carleton Place

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Blast From the Past–Remembering Alan Barker– July 4 1979

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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