Pioneer Woman Assists With Caring for a Corpse

Unusual treatment of "sitting up" near the coffin was common practice; just another common occurrence for a pioneer woman.

| Good Old Days


In the early part of the century, when a person died, the country undertaker might prepare the corpse in a shed at his residence. And when the body had been made ready for burial, it often looked as well cared for as if it had been embalmed in a city mortuary.

The body of the deceased was brought home for perhaps two nights before the funeral. Usually two or three friends would "sit up" near the coffin after the family retired.

One night my brother and mother were sitting up at a friend's house. While the undertaker was in attendance, he would wring soft cloths taken from a pan of salt water and place them on the dead woman's face, neck and hands. As he left he asked Mother if she would continue the treatment every two hours. "That way, Phoebe's face and hands will not turn so dark," he explained.

With my brother beside her, Mother carried on. This pioneer woman had never done such a task before, but she added it to a long list of unusual jobs she had learned to do since coming from Ohio to Kansas to marry before her nineteenth birthday. 



Thelma Blosser Loucks
Canton, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE







Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds