As part of “First Friday,” the Lynchburg Museum at 901 Court Street will have extended hours on Friday, October 6th from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. This month, the Museum will exhibit artifacts commemorating the 200th Anniversary of Diuguid Funeral Service and Crematory. Admission to the Museum is FREE.
Founded in 1817 by Sampson Diuguid, the company originally started out making hand carved furniture. From his reputation as a fine furniture maker, he began to receive commissions to make caskets. In 1820, he conducted 20 funerals and in 1827 he purchased the lot at 616 Main Street which became the home of Diuguid Funeral Service until 1933.
The firm buried many notable Lynchburg residents over the years including baseball star Al Orth, Senator Carter Glass, Ota Benga, General Jubal Early, and Blind Billy, the African American musician.
The business stayed in the family until 1948 when Sampson’s great-granddaughter Mary Diuguid sold it to John C. and W. Ford McKee. It remains the oldest funeral home in Virginia and the second oldest in the United States. Diuguid’s legacy lives on in their burial records which have been digitized and provide a wealth of information for researchers and genealogists.
Included in the display will be a church trunk, reposing table, embalming kit, historic photographs, and paintings by Mary Diuguid among other items. The items will remain on display throughout the weekend. A wardrobe made by Sampson Diuguid is also on permanent display in the Art & Artisans Gallery of the Museum. The Museum is open Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sunday noon - 4 p.m.