Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Pet Services

Do funeral homes assist with pet funeral services?

Rosette and I have several pets at our home. Bailey is our cat and she is almost five. We also have mother and daughter Springer Spaniels. Daphne and Millie will greet all visitors to our funeral home with a warm tail wag. We also have four rabbits, and seven baby rabbits that we recently helped find a good home. They are our ‘furry family’.

Having a pet die is painful. We all have feelings for our loved ones, including our pets. Our feelings will be as individual for our pets as they are for our human loved ones. How we will memorialize our pets will be individual as well.

An important consideration when a pet dies is how you are going to feel about the pet’s remembrance. Do you want some token of that pet for your own memory bank? Do you have a place where you go frequently? Will you be ok with the cremation of your pet, or would you like a pet burial? What about any children, and their emotions surrounding the family pet?

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association 75% of all pets are cremated. Your Veterinarian should provide cremation services or be able to recommend one. We provide a selection of pet urns, keepsakes, garden monuments, and even those ‘nose-print’ necklace pieces through our catalogue. Most any funeral home would assist you in making sure you get the proper information to make a decision.

North Carolina Law does not allow pets to be buried in the same cemetery as humans. Some municipalities have local laws that prohibit the burials of any type of animal in most any place within their jurisdiction. Burials that are marked by family members, on ones own property, are done all the time however. A burial on one’s property should be done with consideration of the future sale of that property and the fact you couldn’t easily take ‘Fluffy’ with you when you move.

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Graveyard Shift

Would you know the reason behind the term “graveyard shift”?

This is a question we get asked frequently. It is amazing sometimes to hear responses to how this term got started. Some are funny and some are downright ridiculous. So here goes my “official” response.

“American History of Funeral Directing” available on DVD and paperback chronicles how certain phrases become popular in use. There are many macabre and curious phrases used over the centuries. “Working the graveyard shift” is one.

Modern embalming practices were first used during the Civil War. Embalming during the late 1800’s proved to be crude at best, but was preferred over the ‘direct burials’ that had taken place prior to that time. When the embalming pratice started to improve, the deceased persons actually started to look ‘alive’ so to speak. Procedures used, the dressing of the deceased for burial, the viewing of the body before burial, and the family’s presence all allowed for wonderment. Their ‘wonderment’ was if the person was still alive. They actually feared someone would be buried alive and folks ‘wondered’ so much that some took an additional step for the burial process.

A ‘cemetery attendant’ was hired to watch over the cemetery during the night following the burial of a body. A hole was cut into the top of the casket before the burial took place. A bell was placed on a pole outside the casket at the end of the rope. The rope was lowered into the casket through the opening that had been cut in the casket. The ‘cemetary attendant’ would stand guard and listen for the bell to ring, which would signify the person was still alive. If the bell was heard, the ‘cemetery attendant’ would immediately begin digging the grave open to save the person. Thus ‘Saved by the bell’, working the ‘graveyard shift’ and being at the ‘end of my rope’ phrases all could have been coined.

Remember, stories all get better with time. I lay no claim to the validity of these phrases but they do make for interesting conversation. 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

When did cremation practices start in the USA?

The Lemoyne Crematory was built, and designed, by Dr. Francis Julius Lemoyne of Washington Pennsylvania. In 1876 Dr. Lemoyne was a practicing physician, a father of eight, the founder of Washington’s (PA) Citizens Library, a co-founder of the Washington Female Seminary, a support of abolition and an inventor of sorts.

Residents in Dr. Lemoyne’s Community were continuously getting sick and all had similar symptoms with many dying from their illnesses. Dor. Lemoyne was convinced there was a link between the deceased, and the burial practices used at the time, and the illnesses, which were often fatal. He ascertained contaminated matter from decomposing bodies was running off into the water resources, streams and lakes, within the community. Contaminated water, by his estimation, was the one common source of the illness.

Determined to stop the cycle of the disease, he decided to try and build a crematory. He requested permission from the City of Washington, PA to build the crematory on the site of the town cemetery. He would construct, finance, and operate the crematory at his own expense. The trustees of the cemertary and the town declined to give him permission.

So Dr. Lemoyne built the crematory on his own property, then called Gallows Hill, and now a small lot of S Main Street in Washington. The crematory was simple by today standards and only cost $1500 to build. It was a 30 by 20 foot brick building, which is still in very good condition even today, with a reception room and a furnace room. Washington resident John Dye assisted with the construction using very limited information from one of the world’s first crematories built in Europe. Dr. Lemoyne himself designed the oven, and even built it so the floes would never actually touch the body being cremated.

The first cremation took place on December 6th 1876.  A total of 42 cremations were performed there with the very last one in 1901. Dr. Lemoyne himself, ironically, was the third person cremated in his own crematory. He died in 1879. The Lemoyne crematory is now administered by the Washington County Historical Society and is open for tours.

Dr. LeMoyne’s body was buried, in an urn, under a simple stone monument in front of the crematory. The inscription reads “A fearless Advocate of the Right”.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Blog Page

Hello and welcome to the Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Service blog.

Content coming soon.