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The Spear's Family Merts and Riddle Hearse


1. Keith Spear adjusting his father's Merts and Riddle Hearse. Found in a
barn where it had been put in 1903 in Brandonville WVA, this hearse is "as
it was" . It was recently purchased by Carl Spear owner of Spear Funeral
Home in Bruceton Mills WVA.
2. The Merts and Riddle name plate was found at the bottom of each side
window. Merts sold out to Riddle in 1891, helping us to date this vehicle.
3.The elegant hand carved pillar appears on all 4 corners. These were
fashioned from a solid block of wood.
4. The roof, showing its age, was covered with a type of canvas and then
layered with several coats of paint and varnish to preserve it.
5. The back door glass shows the lovely gold corner designs. One window glass has been replaced. 6. This shows the bier plate table inside the hearse. The bier pins went
into holes in the plate to adjust to the size of the casket. The large
wooden roller at the back, as well as the small rollers on the plate eased
the casket inside.
7. This large tassel with a hand carved bead at the top is made of gold
bullion fringe.
8.The brake is shown against the wheel. A lever in front of the driver's
seat controlled the brake. These were added to vehicles by request and
usually only used in hilly areas.
9.This shows the padded pole bar in front of the hearse. It was stuffed
with dried grasses which were beginning to come out. The padding protected
the horse.
10 Six beautiful hand carved urns, 15" high adorned the roof of the hearse.
This hearse is similar to #215 in the Merts and Riddle Catalog, found on the
CD. There are many more photographs of this hearse as well as others on the
CD,2001 edition.