Tag Archives: funerals

Iveson Funeral Original Photos

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Iveson Funeral Original Photos

​From the Iveson Photo Collection

CLIPPED FROM
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.

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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

Things Under the Floorboards — Warning– Sensitive Matter

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Things Under the Floorboards — Warning– Sensitive Matter

Every building carries history within its walls, ceilings, floors and foundations. “The practice of burying or concealing items in the structure of a house a window frame, a player-piano roll in a ceiling,  or a granite name under the floorboards. Or concealed shoes in your walls or chimneys- What’s in Your Walls? A Concealed Shoe?

In 1842 London was the modern mega city of the world. For some of her 2.5 million inhabitants it was an exciting, fashionable and thriving metropolis. For many it was a city of squalor, decay, epidemics and early death and the disposal of the dead was becoming an increasing problem for the living.

London’s population had exploded but the authorities did not plan for the increasing numbers of the dead. Burial grounds and churchyards were filled beyond capacity with coffins stacked on top of each other in deep shafts. Open graves sat just feet from the living world.

At a time when there was little to no standards for sanitation, the burial of the deceased occurred in churchyards many of which in were in the middle of small towns. Over time the churchyards became so overflowing with dead bodies that the surrounding neighborhoods became decidedly unhealthy.

The bodies were usually buried in shallow pits beneath the floorboards of chapels and schools.

enonchapel

Enon Chapel was opened in April 1822 by a corrupt and greedy Baptist minister, Mr W. Howse. The chapel was built over an open sewer in Clements Lane, close to the Strand. The local residents suffered from appalling smells, vast numbers of rats and an atmosphere so putrid that it rotted exposed meat within hours. The local children noted the insects and flies crawling out of the coffins and vaults and nicknamed them ‘body bugs’. It wasn’t much better for the congregation either, who regularly passed out during services.

The cause lay under the flimsy floorboards but it was only discovered in 1839 when the authorities wanted to replace the open sewer. They made a grim discovery. The chapel was a charnel house that defied sanity. Offering far cheaper services than his rivals, Howse had over the years buried an estimated 12,000 bodies in a space fifty-nine feet by twelve. Vast numbers of decomposing bodies were separated from the living by a few inches of earth and some flimsy floorboards. To pack-in more bodies Howse emptied the coffins and burnt them for firewood. He dowsed bodies in quicklime for quicker decomposition, dumped human remains to fester in the sewer and loaded carts to discard into the Thames and landfill at Waterloo Bridge. He had got away with it by exploiting the fear many had of body snatchers removing their loved ones. They believed that the churchyards were more secure than more open burial grounds and cemeteries.

The authorities closed the chapel and vaulted over the sewer but, unbelievably, did not remove the bodies. The chapel was renamed Clare Market Chapel and let to a teetotaller sect who exploited the macabre history of the chapel for tea dances, fancy dress balls and gambling. ‘Dances on the dead’ went the advert, which also insisted that lady and gentlemen must wear shoes and stockings for admittance.

Another addition to the coffin’s interior was usually a bell of some sort. Due to the contagious nature of diseases like small pox, cholera and diphtheria as well as the misdiagnosis of comas for death, unfortunately many people were actually buried alive in the Victorian age. Therefore, as a means of forestalling a not quite dead person’s burial, the installation of bells in coffins became de rigeuer.

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LIPPED FROM
The Vancouver Sun
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
26 Jul 2007, Thu  •  Page 7

What’s in Your Walls? A Concealed Shoe?

How Heavenly Funeral Potatoes Got Their Name

How Religion Came to Richmond and the First Masonic Funeral

The Young Family Funeral Home Lanark County

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

Dead Ringers –To Live and Die in Morbid Times

The Ashton Funeral to end all Funerals

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

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report

What was one of the Largest Funerals in Lanark County?

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place

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

Embalming 1891 – A Local Report