Florida Stories

Carey Hand

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Carey Hand

The Carey Hand mortuary business began when Elijah Hand moved to Orlando, Florida from Indiana in 1885. Hand was the young city's first embalmer. Hand formed a partnership with E. A. Richard's, the city's first undertaker. Richards & Hand combined Richards' furniture business and Hand's embalming. When Richards left the partnership in 1890, the business was renamed Elijah Hand's furniture, undertaking and livery stable. The business was located on Pine Street in downtown Orlando.

In 1907, Hand's son Carey, a trained embalmer, moved to Orlando and joined his father's business, buying out his father in 1914. He continued to run the business until his death in 1947. His wife sold the business the following year, and subsequent owners have kept the Carey Hand name. In 1969, the Carey Hand and Cox-Parker Funeral Homes merged. The company is still in operation.

During the first half of the twentieth century, the Carey Hand funeral home was the largest in Central Florida, serving a five-county area, including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk and Hillsborough. The modernized funeral home built by the company in 1918 now houses the University of Central Florida's Downtown Campus, located at 39 West Pine Street. It was the first funeral home in Florida to have a chapel, and housed the first crematorium built south of Cincinnati and Washington, DC.

In these records, you can discover new details of your ancestors' lives, as in the examples of Undertakerís Memoranda featured here. Perhaps you did not know that there was another child who died as an infant, as did Annie P. Pillans, who died September 12, 1891, in Orlando, at the age of 6 months, and who is buried in Orlando Cemetery Section B Lot 58 #4. Or perhaps you cannot find a cemetery record for an ancestor you have evidence of having died in Orlando. Perhaps your ancestor had a similar story to W. I. McKee, resident of Orlando, who died October 28, 1891 but whose body was shipped to Danville, Kentucky for burial in the Danville Cemetery.

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