Northampton Press

Friday, November 16, 2018
Above: The former Swallow Funeral Home was also located in the borough.Photos courtesy of Larry Oberly AND “IMAGES OF AMERICA: NORTHAMPTON” Above: The former Swallow Funeral Home was also located in the borough.Photos courtesy of Larry Oberly AND “IMAGES OF AMERICA: NORTHAMPTON”
Left: Schisler Funeral Home was located on Washington Avenue in this 1929 photo. Left: Schisler Funeral Home was located on Washington Avenue in this 1929 photo.

Bills and invoices of the past

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Columns

A few years ago, I visited my friend Mrs. Grace Bonser in Moore Township. Grace had a long career in banking and was very active with the Northampton High School Band Boosters. Besides being a banker, she is an excellent seamstress and made many uniforms for band members.

She had a wealth of historical information, which she has graciously shared with me over the years. As I am interested in everything, she had a treasure of old bills and invoices, giving us a picture of a bygone era.

Of particular interest to me are bills that I hope will interest many of our loyal readers. Do you recall some of the old funeral directors in the area? Remember Harold Schisler, John Swallow, William Swallow, W.E. Newhard and A.S. Miller in Northampton? And over in Coplay, Bob Hauke Sr.? R.P. Haas in Fullerton? J.S. Burkholder and Brubaker in Catasauqua?

In Bath, Bartholomew and Son were furniture dealers and funeral directors. One of the Bartholomews operates a funeral home in the borough. Grace shared a bill from 1915 on the burial of Grace Herd, one of Mrs. Bonser’s relatives. It is very interesting.

Here is a 1915 invoice from Mr. Bartholomew: white casket, $87; outside case for grave, $7; body embalming, $5; hearse, $5; dress, $6.50; slippers, $2; floral design, $5; spray roses, $1.50; pillow, $5; two teams, $4; grave, $19; conveyance of flowers, $2; two team/3-seated, $8. Total — $157

Funerals show a slight increase in 1926: casket, $170; outside case, $11; hearse, $12; notice, $1; lilies, $5; grave opening, $36; shirt collar, $2; slippers, $3; card of thanks, 75 cents; embalming, $15. Total — $255.75

Her grandfather operated a farm and paid William for farm chores in 1926: nine hours hauling manure, $6.30; nine hours labor, $2.70; four hours plowing, $2.80; nine hours plowing, $6.30; nine hours harrowing, $6.30. Forty hours — $18.10

In 1930, Mr. Hugo paid Dr. Hahn, M.D., in Bath, $23.50 for a number of home and office visits.

Did you have a fainting spell when you paid last year’s school tax?

In 1943, William Hugo (remember, he owned a farm) paid a school tax of $14 and a per capita tax of $4 for a total of $18. Even a 1951 electric bill from the Metropolitan Edison Company was surprising — from a period of Dec. 4, 1950, to Feb. 2, 1951, a total of $5.70.

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Much more in two weeks!