Saturday, January 24, 2009

Taking care of the dead

Hello Dear Reader,
Have you ever wondered what people did before there were undertakers? Actually, there were some undertakers in the 1700s but it was an obscure profession. In small towns they had no undertakers or morticians. Annie Ferguson Burch (Grandma Hall's sister) wrote a sketch entitled, "Funerals of Long Ago." Annie was born in 1885 and recalled the way funerals were conducted when she was young: "There were no undertakers at that time and when a person died, everyone knew just what had to be done. A silver dollar was placed on each eye lid so the eyes would be tightly closed when the muscles became set. For the same reason, a bandage was put under the chin and tied on top of the head to keep the mouth closed." Annie described how the Bishop and Relief Society President took care of the body and dressed it for burial. She never saw flowers at a funeral until after she married in 1906.

For a humorous look at how people dealt with dead bodies "in the olden days," you might want to read Mark Twain's short story, The Invalid's Story. (Scroll through the alphabetical list to "The Invalid's Story.) It makes me laugh every time I read it.
Aunt Genni

1 comment:

Inkgenious said...

This is really interesting. The story is definitely worth reading. It made me laugh out loud a few times. :)