The Undertaker’s Wife

bHOLDER Maggie
Found in a shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana

In 1896, Maggie Estella Holder, 17, married Charles Luther Thornburg, 21, and the couple settled in Farmland, Randolph County, Indiana.  Luther, as he was best known, was a farmer, but had a “hankering” to become an undertaker.  In 1904, he bought the undertaking business of W.B. Meeks, and thus began Thornburg’s career as a mortician.  I’m curious if the following event gave Maggie second thoughts about her husband’s chosen profession.  It seems undertaking could be a dangerous vocation.

1905 Dec 15 THORNBURG chased off The Star Press Muncie IN
The Star Press (Muncie, IN) – Dec. 15, 1905

On the 1930 census, Maggie was listed as working as a beautician in her own shop.  This made me wonder how involved she was in the undertaking business.  Had she helped her husband prepare bodies, by styling their hair?  After all, for some years, the business was operated in the Thornburg home, so Maggie would not have been removed from the day to day operations.

Disappointingly, although her husband received a large newspaper write up upon his death, Maggie’s obituary did not offer much information about her life, other than she was the wife of a well known undertaker, and a member of the Society of Friends, a Quaker (religious) organization.  Maggie died August 22, 1932, at the age of 54, from complications after gallbladder surgery.

Find A Grave
Census records
The Muncie Press, Muncie, Indiana – Feb. 26, 1954
The Richmond Item, Richmond, Indiana – Aug. 24, 1932
The Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Indiana – Aug. 22, 1932
Indiana birth records
Indiana death records

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