A History of Funeral Services in the United States

Posted on December 3, 2018 by Cameron Naugle under Funeral Planning
Leave a comment

Funeral services in Orange Park, FL and the rest of the country seem to be an integral, unchanging part of our culture. However, has this always been the case?  Where did funeral homes come from, and where are they going?  


Funeral services in Orange Park, FL

The funeral service story begins with embalming. Before the mid 1800s, the dead were never that far from home when they passed. So, the bodies were displayed in the family home’s front room, or the parlor, immediately after death and before burial. Therefore, funerals took place quickly and in the home.   

Then, in 1865 President Lincoln was assassinated. This shook the country, and people all around the States wanted to pay their respects. His body was embalmed to prevent decomposition during the resulting nationwide funeral train. People around the country began to accept the idea of embalming bodies as commonplace.   

The Funeral Home Business  

As embalming became more popular, families were able to expand the funeral services beyond the home. As the bodies were able to be transported and displayed, more neutral settings grew in popularity as families could invite more people to celebrate the deceased and host more formal events.   

The Bucktrout family in Virginia saw a growing market, and rose to the occasion. Originally coffin and cabinet manufacturers, the family grew their business to include funeral home services similar to those we have today, becoming the country’s first funeral home.   

The funeral home market grew, and businesses continued to expand. However, they were still all family owned and operated. In fact, most undertakers (as they were called then) used their home to run their funeral business. This is most likely where the name “funeral home” comes from.   

Funeral Services as a Profession  

More and more funeral homes were established in the 1900s all across the country. With this expansion, formal training for undertakers became crucial. The conversation changed a bit, and they began to be known as funeral directors and morticians. The National Funeral Directors Association was formed in the early 1900s to help consumers view the members as professionals.   

Coffin makers, florists, life insurance agencies and other connected fields followed suit, and the funeral services business continued to blossom into what it is today. By 1920, there were around 24,469 funeral homes in the United States, showing a 100% growth in less than 80 years.   

Funeral Home Diversity   

Like other United States institutions, funeral homes grew out of Christian backgrounds. However with the relaxation of immigration laws in the 1960s, there was an influx of new beliefs and cultures. Funeral homes rose to the occasion, and began offering services for other ethnic and religious groups from Vietnamese and Eastern European to Buddhism and Hinduism.   

Naugle Funeral Home & Cremation Services, located at 808 Margaret St Jacksonville, FL 32204, continues this long funeral home tradition by offering compassionate Orange Park, FL funeral services. We would be honored to serve you and your loved ones during your time of loss. Please give us a call at (904) 683-9288 to learn more about what we can do for you.  

Cameron Naugle

Paul (Cameron) Naugle, Jr., a fourth generation funeral director was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from Wolfson High School and then went on to graduate from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Services in Atlanta, Georgia where he was part of the National Mortuary Honor Society (Phi Sigma Eta). He then graduated from The University of North Florida with a degree in Business Administration. He is a licensed funeral director as well as a licensed embalmer. He took over the position of President and CEO of Naugle Funeral Home and Cremation Services in 2012, following in his father’s, grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s footsteps. Cameron is married to Katherine Schnauss Naugle, an estate planning, probate and elder law attorney in Jacksonville and has two amazing children. He enjoys spending time with his family. He also enjoys his hobby of restoring and showing his antique cars. Cameron is a member of the Southside Businessmen’s Club of Jacksonville, as well as a member of the Florida Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association (FCCFA).

Facebook Google Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *