52 West Main Street
Taylorsville, KY 40071
1185 Main Street
Shelbyville, KY 40065
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The history of Hall-Taylor Funeral Home is richly and inexorably intertwined with the history of Shelby and Spencer Counties. The old adage that the "past is prologue" is evident in the chronicle of this Shelby County firm. The present Hall-Taylor Funeral Home firm was formed on February 1, 1949, by Everett L. Hall and James B. Taylor who purchased the Weaver Funeral Home located at what was then 1105 West Main Street in Shelbyville, in a two-story white frame house owned by Mrs. Sam Skinner. When Everett and Mary Hall and Jim and Nancye Taylor purchased the Weaver Funeral Home, they were unwittingly becoming the legatees of an old and regionally famed tradition of funeral service that dated back to 1833.
The Weaver Funeral Home was operated by Alvin B. Weaver and his wife, Ruth Durham Weaver. A. B. Weaver, as he was known, was born in Spencer County on November 5, 1886 to J. Thomas and Nannie Grigsby Weaver. He met and married Miss Ruth Durham, who was a native of Bell County, having been born in that Eastern Kentucky area on June 11, 1890 to William and Easter Carolyn Miracle Durham. A. B. and Ruth Weaver were the parents of William T. Weaver and Nancye Weaver Bloom. Mr. and Mrs. Weaver were members of the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville, where he was a deacon and where Mrs. Weaver was fondly remembered as a Sunday school teacher, having taught for over forty years. Mr. Weaver was a former business associate and partner of Guy S. Wells.
Guy Smith Wells was born in Nelson County on March 24, 1863, the son of Yelverton Payton and Elizabeth Margaret Beard Wells. He married Shelby County native Susan K. Alexander, the daughter of Dr. Samuel S. and Frances Malone Alexander. Dr. Alexander came to Shelby County from Louisville and settled in the Christiansburg community where he practiced medicine. In the 1870's he moved to Finchville where he continued his medical practice until his death. Guy and Susie Alexander Wells were the parents of Bland Wells who married Mary K. Long, Roy Wells who married Louise Foreman, and Margaret Wells who married first, Walter Williams and Secondly, Frank Allen.
Guy Wells entered the undertaking business in Spencer County as a partner to Robert Barker. Barker and Wells Undertakers and Embalmers were located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Main and Washington Streets in Taylorsville across the street from the Spencer House, the local hotel. Guy Wells and his family lived in a two-story home on the southwest corner of the same intersection. Robert Barker had come into the funeral business as a partner to George Kurtz. Mr. Kurtz at one time owned the Spencer House, then a flourishing hotel in Taylorsville, and was engaged in the funeral business and making and selling caskets. George Kurtz was a native of Nelson County where he was born on December 8, 1809. He moved to Taylorsville and began his career as an undertaker in 1833. George Kurtz married Elizabeth Y. Wood. Mr. Kurtz died on June 11, 1885. His wife continued to own a one half interest in the business and his son, L. R. Kurtz continued to operate the establishment. It was during this period of time that Guy Wells began his career in the funeral industry.
In those days, most of the undertaking was done in the home. The undertaker would be notified by the county coroner, doctor, family member or friend. The embalmer would take all equipment and essentials necessary to prepare the body at the home. If no embalming was done, the body would be bathed, dressed and placed in a casket. The body would then lie in state in the house or church and the funeral would be held in the church or at home. It later became customary to take the body back to the "shop" or undertaking establishment for embalming, after which the body was placed in the casket and usually returned to the family residence or church. Funeral homes as we know them today are relatively new institutions, it's becoming the prevailing custom to remove the body from the home or hospital and to attend to all the details, visitation, and funeral in the funeral home in the 1940's. So, Mr. Well's profession required his providing his services in the homes of the families who called upon him.
From all accounts, Mr. Wells was very well-liked and respected gentleman and businessman. Widely known as a funeral director, around 1906 he expanded his business to Shelbyville, where he had a funeral home at 616 Main Street, remembered by older residents as a "very nice" place. His residence was on Henry Clay Street. While his business grew in Shelby County, he also continued to serve the families of Spencer County. The business in those days was known as Guy Wells and Sons. Y. Bland Wells, his affable and popular son, was his partner and the heir apparent to his undertaking business in Shelbyville. He married Mary Keziah Long, the daughter of Samuel Monroe and Minnie Webber Long. Sadly, Bland Wells, while active in assisting soldiers returning from World War I and families stricken by the influenza epidemic of 1918, was stricken with that illness and died suddenly on November 9, 1918.
Guy Wells continued to operate the business and in 1928, formed a partnership with Alvin B. Weaver. Wells and Weaver served Shelby and Spencer Counties as funeral directors and also operated the Nash Car dealership in Shelbyville and sold picture frames and glass.
This partnership was dissolved in 1936, and Guy Wells died soon thereafter on July 19, 1936, and was buried in Valley Cemetery at Taylorsville. Mrs. Frank Allen, Mr. Well's daughter, continued briefly to engage in the funeral business.
Alvin Weaver remained active in the funeral industry. He moved his establishment to 111 East Main Street, next to the Church of the Annunciation and from there to 1105 West Main Street. In 1949, he sold it to Everett L. Hall and James B. Taylor. They changed the name of the business operation to Hall-Taylor Funeral Home. Mr. Weaver then engaged in the making of furniture for the Wakefield-Scearce Galleries and he served on the Shelby County Fiscal Court as Shelbyville magistrate for eight years. As magistrate, he was an advocate of the preservation of the Shelbyville Fountain and instrumental in the formation of the Fountain Committee, which still oversees the maintenance of this Shelby County landmark. He was a member of the Old Fairfield and Solomon Masonic lodges and a member of Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Weaver died on March 18, 1970 and Mrs. Weaver died on November 4, 1974. Both are buried in the graveyard at Little Union Baptist Church in Spencer County.
The new owners of the funeral home, Everett and Mary Hall and Jim and Nancye Taylor, redecorated and refurbished the house at 1105 West Main Street and continued providing funeral and ambulance services to the community.
Everett Hall was born on June 29, 1909 to Lee and Verna Davis Traylor Hall, in Owen County, Kentucky. During his youth, Everett Hall remembered his father keeping a store in which he sold caskets. This was his first association with an aspect of funeral service. He was educated at Georgetown College and came to Bagdad, Kentucky, upon an offer by Superintendent of Shelby County Schools, E. J. Paxton, to teach and coach basketball at Bagdad High School. There he met Mary Lorena Taylor, a senior and member of the girl's basketball team. Mary Taylor was born in Spencer County, Kentucky, the daughter of James Pruitt and Alma Jane Goodwin Taylor. Mr. Taylor had moved his family to Christiansburg where he farmed the Raymond Thomas farm. Mr. Taylor was a descendant of the Taylor family of Virginia, his great-grandfather being a cousin of President Zachary Taylor. His great-grandmother, Susan Hume Taylor was a native of Culpeper County, Virginia, and a descendant of the Hume family of Wedderburn in Scotland. Mary Taylor's mother, Alma Goodwin Taylor was a descendant of Thomas Goodwine, Sr., who came to Shelby County in the 1790's, settled on the Salt River, and was one of the founders of the Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Everett Hall's first experience in the funeral business in Shelby County came through assisting Bagdad's funeral director, Russell E. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was a successor to Mr. Louis Sacrey, the former Bagdad funeral director. Russell was a native of Shelby County, the son of Charles Austin and Charity Frances Cox Rogers. He married Miss Blanche Roberts, the daughter of Robert Allen and Mary Ellen White Roberts. Mr. Roberts, known as "Dink", was for many years a barber at Bagdad. Russell and Blanche Rogers moved to Belfry, Kentucky, where they opened the R. E. Rogers Funeral Home, which is still operated by their grandchildren, Michael Hall and Connie Caines.
Everett Hall married Mary Taylor on August 19, 1932, after her graduation from Bagdad High School. They became the parents of Martha Layne Hall who grew up in Bagdad, later married Dr. Bill Collins, and became the first woman elected Governor of Kentucky.
James B Taylor married Nancye Waters, the daughter of John Nathan Waters and Kitty Lee Watts Waters. Mr. Waters, a native of Mount Eden, was an eminent tobacco warehouseman. Jim and Nancye had one son, John Scott Taylor who was born on March 4, 1953 and died on March 11, 1981.
In 1960, James B. Taylor sold his interest in the funeral home to his sister, Mary Taylor Hall. The firm continued to provide personal, caring service to its client families and prompt ambulance service to anyone who called. Although home visitations or wakes, and home or church funerals were still occasional practices, the process of funeralization had gradually moved more and more into the funeral home. Hall-Taylor Funeral Home was operated at 1105 West Main Street until 1961 at which time the business was moved to 1185 West Main Street, the former home of J. Hayden Igleheart and his wife, Gladys.
The house, which is the Shelby County home of Hall-Taylor Funeral Home, at 1185 West Main Street in Shelbyville, is an imposing structure, resembles a Mediterranean-style villa. Constructed in the 1920's, the legend is that it was built by a Robert A. Long, a native of Shelby County, who moved out west and amassed a fortune in lumber and other interests. He wanted his sister to have the largest house in Shelbyville. It is designed and constructed in the Italian Renaissance style, of dark red brick with a limestone belt under the second story windows and a terra cotta tile roof.
Mr. Long lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and he sent the well-seasoned lumber, fireplace mantles, marble and pottery tiles, and other appointments and embellishments from his Long-Bell Lumber Company lumberyards to Shelbyville by rail to erect this house. Mr. Long's sister was Millie Long Slater, the widow of Phillip Slater. She occupied the house inter her death in 1940 and it then became the home of her daughter, Bessie Slater McKee and her husband Joe McKee. Stories of black tie dinners and orchestra music were lore of this house during the time that it was the home of Mrs. Slater and of the McKee family. The McKees lived in the house until 1943 at which time the home was sold to Mr. and Mrs. J. Hayden Igleheart.
Mr. Igleheart was a native of Hardin County, the son of Colonel H. L. and Lucie Rush Igleheart. Mrs. Hayden Igleheart was a native of Boston in Nelson Counry and was before her marriage Miss Gladys Houtchens, the daughter of Thomas Elliott and Irma Smith Houtchens. J. Hayden Igleheart was a prominent real estate and tobacco auctioneer and antiques dealer. A well-known authority on antiques, Mr. Igleheart's collection of Wedgewood was of museum quality. Mr. and Mrs. James Hayden Igleheart had five sons, Hayden Jr., Elliott, Willard, Ted and Julian. The house was a lively home to the Igleheart family and a center for Mr. Iglehart's business interests until 1960, when the sold the building to Everett and Mary Hall.
The Halls began the transformation of the residence into a functional funeral home. Fortunately for the building, the necessary changes did not involve a structural change to the original floor plan. Its size and architectural uniqueness being unparalleled at the time, advertisements from this period dub the newly acquired facility the "funeral home beautiful."
Mr. Igleheart retained the garden on the north side of the original lot upon which he and Mrs. Igleheart built a beautiful federal-style house facing Washington Street, now the home of Senator and Mrs. Marshall Long.
Everett Hall was a member and deacon of First Baptist Church, having moved his letter there from the Bagdad Baptist Church. He was a past president of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, one of the founders of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation, charter member and past president of the Shelbyville Kiwanis club, Civil Defense Director, and Director of the Shelbyville Housing Authority, to which he was appointed by former Mayor Jess Puckett, and a member of the Wingate Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons at Simpsonville. In addition to teaching and coaching at Bagdad High School, Mr. Hall also taught and served as principal of the Croppper School. He died on July 11, 1991 and is buried in Bagdad Cemetery.
Mary Hall, also an active member and former Sunday School teacher of the First Baptist Church, assisted her husband in the operation of the funeral home and ambulance service. She is a past Worthy Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star No. 170. Mrs. Hall is past president of the Shelbyville Business and Professional Women's Club, one of the first female directors of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, and the former chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party.
Hall-Taylor Funeral Home has operated at 1185 West Main Street since 1961. It remains the home of Mary Taylor Hall and the operation of the business is under the direction of the Hall's grandson, Stephen L. Collins, a funeral director and attorney. Steve Collins married Mary Diane Spalding, a native of Nelson County, on June 16, 1984, at the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort, the first such wedding of the child of a Governor at the present Mansion. Steve and Diane Collins are the parents of two children, John Goodwin Taylor Collins, born at Lexington on August 7, 1988, and Catherine Spalding Collins, born at Shelbyville on May 11, 1995. Steve Collins is a member and past President of the Shelbyville Kiwanis Club, past President of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, past secretary of the Shelby Development Corporation, member, deacon and past Moderator of the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville, member and Vice Chairman of the Kentucky Heritage Council, member of the Kentucky Bicentennial Commission and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky in 1991 and for Mayor of Shelbyville in 1995.
In September of 1996, Hall-Taylor Funeral Home, Inc., purchased the Spencer House at 52 West Main Street in Taylorsville. Built in 1836 by Frederick Mathis as a stage coach stop and later owned by George Kurtz, an early Spencer County undertaker, this venerable old place served as a hotel until the early 1930's when it was purchased by Charles Beard Foreman, and became the home of Foreman and Greenwell Funeral Home. Mr. Foreman had purchased the funeral establishment run by Guy Wells' son Roy who had married his sister, Louise Foreman. Foreman and Greenwell Funeral Home was dissolved in 1939. A. D. Greenwell and Irl Greenwell opened Greenwell Funeral Home on Reasor Avenue, several years later. Foreman Funeral continued to operate out of the Spencer House until March of 1977, when the Foreman family sold the funeral home to Roy Lutz and Guy Shelburne who operated Lutz-Shelburne Funeral Home. In the 1980's , Guy Shelburne left the business and Thomas Snider, Jr., became Roy Lutz's partner. Roy Lutz sold his interest to the Snider family in 1988, and the funeral home continued as Snider Funeral Home until 1993, when it officially closed.
After extensive restoration and remodeling, the Spencer House became the official home of Hall-Taylor Funeral Home, Inc., in Taylorsville. Once owned by undertaker cabinet maker, George Kurtz, and located across the street from the old undertaking establishment of Barker and Wells, credible reinforcement is given to the theory the "past is prologue," Hall-Taylor Funeral Home, having come full circle, serving both Shelby and Spencer Counties, like its one of its predecessors, Guy S. Wells.