Hello readers and welcome back to the Hometown Heritage Blog!
Today I have another interesting photo from our collection for you all! Look at the picture that accompanies this post. What do you think it is? The picture itself is from 1885, and as you can see, it depicts a man on a cart drawn by a horse. The cart itself is rather fancy; it has what looks like curtains on the inside. Why does a cart need curtains? This, readers, is part of the answer! Curtains are usually meant to keep people on the outside from seeing the inside of a building or in this case, cart. Perhaps you are thinking that his wagon was used to transport money to and from banks? Unfortunately, if you are you will have to guess again! I imagine that someone transferring money would have a guard or two with him, and this man is clearly alone, so I doubt that he would be moving money. If you need another hint, I can tell you that the purpose of this cart was rather morbid. Let us put these two clues together: the cart wants to stop people from seeing inside it, and its purpose is rather morbid. Do you have another guess?
If you guessed that this cart was a hearse, then you would be correct! This picture is of the first hearse in Perry in 1885, driven by Dave Willis. The hearse itself was by Carpenter and Son. The curtains on the inside are clearly used to hide the coffin from citizens the hearse might pass on the way to the cemetery. It makes me wonder if Dave Willis was also the undertaker or if he was simply the driver of the hearse. Unfortunately, our collection does not have any more information about this hearse or about how long it was in use. It is interesting, however, to see one of Perry’s firsts! Are you interested in seeing more of Perry’s firsts? Then swing by the Carnegie Library, the first library in Perry, and come back next week for another blog post!