Sanderson Funeral Home, located at 901 Main Street North in Carthage, Tennessee, is the fourth location of a funeral home company which was founded in Pleasant Shade, Tennessee, in 1904 by the late Thomas David (Mr. Tommy) Sanderson. In its beginning the funeral home was part of the Sanderson General Merchandise Store at Pleasant Shade, which in addition to selling caskets, was the home of the Post Office, sold farm equipment, Chevrolet cars, clothes, groceries, had a milliner, and also contained a drug store whose druggist was the late Clayton Hesson.
In this setting and time when a person died, the relatives would call the store, state the event, and buy the casket over the phone. Neighbors would first bathe and dress the body and help in any way before the undertaker came. Neighbors would also dig the grave and bring food for the grieving family. The carriage, of course, was black and horse drawn.
In November 1923, the casket and funeral operation came to Carthage. Mr. Sanderson rented a building from the late Fred Myers directly across the street from the site of the present Carthage Post Office. This building served as a temporary home until the new facility could be built on North Main Street in 1924; this is the house behind the former Norma’s Restaurant, presently occupied by Randy Dixon & his mother Mrs. Charles Dixon.
In 1931, because of significant growth and increased opportunities to serve more and more families, a new funeral home was constructed on West College Avenue directly behind the Sanderson family’s home. This larger building, serving as Sanderson Funeral Home for twenty-five years, had a chapel and showrooms for caskets and clothing, besides supplies. It was for a funeral service occasionally, but most people still preferred to have the deceased family member to be at their homes or church. Mrs. Mabel K. Sanderson took orders for funeral flowers (to be fixed in Lebanon) as there was no florist in Carthage at this time.
On September 1, 1956, another more spacious facility was opened at 901 Main Street North, Carthage, the present home of Sanderson Funeral Homes, Inc. The present facility was enlarged in 1978, 1986 and 1999 and in February of 2000 the late Harvey & Jessie Knight was converted to become the arrangements center and monument office thus freeing up 1500 square feet in the main building for a larger visitation room and library.
M. Draper Jenkins, beginning work with Mr. Sanderson on September 1, 1923, later attended Gupton Jones School of Embalming in Nashville and graduated in 1932. Mr. Sanderson also graduated from Gupton-Jones in 1924, and his only son, Glenn Sanderson, graduated there in 1935. Mr. Jenkin’s license number with the State of Tennessee as a funeral director was 100.
The first motorized hearse bought by the funeral home in 1921, while the business was still at Pleasant Shade, was a wood hearse body built by Mr. Lon Phillips on a 1921 Ford chassis. The first commercially-built funeral car they used was a 1923 A.J. Miller Dodge hearse. Sanderson’s first ambulance-hearse combination car was a 1928 A. J. Miller. Thus, ambulance service began in Smith County. Since there was no hospital closer than Lebanon, many patients called the funeral home for an ambulance.
From its beginnings, Sanderson Funeral Home has continued to grow and change with the ever-changing society, has kept its facilities and motor equipment up to date, and has continued to offer to the public in a family-oriented, homelike atmosphere, the type of services which they expect and deserve.
On September 1, 1971, Sanderson Funeral Home acquired the Hackett Funeral Home in Kempville from Mrs. Willie B. Hackett and Clyde B. Reece. This facility is located on Highway 85 North, half-way between Carthage and Gainesboro. It is called the “Hackett Chapel”. That same year Sanderson Funeral home purchased an existing cemetery and additional land from the late Willie Kemp, establishing Defeated Creek Memorial Gardens. This is a trend that has proven to be very popular in the funeral industry with the combination ownership of funeral home and cemetery.
In October, 1980, Sanderson Funeral Home purchased from the Bass family the Smith County Memorial Gardens and immediately began development of new gardens and upgrading and improving the entire cemetery property. These acquisitions continued with the August, 1985, purchase of Dixon Springs Cemetery from the Beasley family and with the purchase of additional land for the future expansion of that cemetery.
In 1981, Sanderson Funeral Homes were incorporated with Jacky E. Carver Sr., an employee since June 1, 1962, serving as President, Glenn Sanderson as Vice President, Edward Stallings, who began with the organization on July 1, 1957, serving as Secretary, and M. Draper Jenkins serving as Treasurer.
Mr. Tommy Sanderson, the founder, died at the age of 80 on May 5, 1960, Mr. Jenkins died at the age of 95 on January 13, 2000, Glenn Sanderson died at the age of 87 on December 8, 2000 and Ed Stallings died at the age of 71 on August 1, 2004 from injuries received as Carthage Fire Chief when the former Carthage Christian Church brick wall collapsed on him while the building was on fire
Sanderson Funeral Home has been and will continue to be committed to providing the caring, personal type of funeral services which families we serve expect and deserve under the ownership of the Carvers; Jacky Sr., Miss Jackie and Jacky Jr.
Sanderson Funeral Homes
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