Saturday, June 13, 2015

Young's Funeral Home -- Lady Attendant

I found some interesting facts while I was looking up the history of an abandoned building.

Until the mid 1800s, caring for their dead was a family event. The body was washed by the women of the family and placed into a casket made by the men which was given a place of honor in the best room of the house, the front parlor.

Embalming wasn't invented until the Civil War when preserving the body made it possible for a soldier to be transported from the battle field home to his family for burial.

The process caught on after President Abraham Lincoln was

assassinated and his body taken on a posthumous tour of the country.

The wake continued to be held in the family home and the embalmer came to the house to prepare the body. He came to be called "the undertaker" because he undertook the duties that used to belong to the family of the deceased.

Within decades people found it inconvenient to have a body taking up the family's front parlor and a funeral parlor, in a funeral home, was built for that purpose In the community.

Apparently having a "lady attendant" gave a bit of extra class and decorum to the occasion. Young's Funeral Home in Ridgeland, SC served the community in the 1960s and until Mr Young died in the early 1970s.

There is a gentle and peaceful feeling surrounding the old building that is slowly being consumed

by Lowcountry sand, vines, and its own living roof. Much like the bodies cared for there 50 years ago.

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Thought for the day:

 

14 comments:

  1. Loved the marketing message on the poster board. Your post about funeral practices was interesting. I still remember family types funerals which occurred until I was in my late teens. We sat with the bodies in homes and community centres for 3 days. In smaller communities, the women still prepared the bodies. This hasn't gone on for the years due to laws impacting all of it. It is too bad as these kinds of funerals were often far more personal and also far less expensive.

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  2. Good grief - morbid a little bit, eh?

    Hilarious sign.
    Well I do love the steak and mushroom pies made at the bakery,
    so I won't have the skinny worry much to the displeasure of my
    darn sisters!!!

    Cheers
    Colin (Brisbane. Australia)

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  3. Sometimes moving away from customs is a bad thing. I remember visiting homes where in the front parlor there was the deceased, you said your goodbyes and then had lunch. Could be there was a service too...sometimes I think that was a graveside service. I enjoyed your photos...maybe the Lady Attendant made all those widows feel welcome:)

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  4. Great sign! Braham, MN could use that for their annual Pie Day, right? Interesting post about the funeral home. I had never heard of a lady attendant. My childhood home was built just before the turn of the 20th century and it included a door from the outside directly into the parlor/ living room. It was for bringing a casket into the home for viewing and mourning - before undertakers stepped into the picture.

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  5. This was so very interesting. I have wondered how they came up with the name Undertaker. I figured it had something to do with taking someone to the underworld (as in Greek mythology) or something like that. Thank you for this interesting post.

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  6. Cynthia your post is very interesting. In Poland funeral customs have changed currently funeals are very expensive especialaly in big cities in small communities is better. The last ads is great and so funny

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  7. Interesting post, I have never come across a Lady attendant. Your sign certainly lifted the spirits, it made me howl with laughter. Have a great day.

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  8. This was so interesting, Cynthia...how things evolved into the practices etc that we have today...I'd previously not given it any thought, so its great to know. Love the sign too :-)

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  9. Interesting as similar happened here as my late father told me his grandfather was placed in the best room of his house when he died...

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  10. So that's where "undertaker" came from - learned something today. We have female undertakers here in NZ.
    Maori families here in new Zealand take their family member home - usually to the Marae (tribal meeting place), where the body is never left alone.
    Interesting post thanks Cynthia.

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  11. So that's where "undertaker" came from - learned something today. We have female undertakers here in NZ.
    Maori families here in new Zealand take their family member home - usually to the Marae (tribal meeting place), where the body is never left alone.
    Interesting post thanks Cynthia.

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  12. This is so interesting! I was very young but I remember when my Grandma died and was in the casket in the front room or living room. The big house was quiet and the living room door was kept closed.

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  13. Cynthia, we moved here from southern California where it was hot and dry. You never get use to the humidity here, you just endure or find some place to go in the summer, we usually go to England.

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  14. You have "dug up" some interesting facts about the old place and its occupation.

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