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Campbell County, Virginia History 1782-1926

Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches

By R. H. Early, J. P. Bell Company
Lynchburg, Virginia 1927

William S. Diuguid, first of the name found in Campbell was a neighbor of Archibald Bolling, and was appointed in 1811, by Bolling, one of his executors together with Blair Bolling, one of Archibald's sons, and another neighbor, William Ferbush. In 1817 Wm. Diuguid of Campbell county bought, of Jesse Thornhill of Buckingham, 236 acres on Buck creek, a branch of Rock Island creek; it appears that Diuguid's land laid partly in a portion of the county which was given in 1845 to Appomattox. George Diuguid was a Revolutionary War Pensioner in 1835, age 72 years.

Sampson Diuguid, brother of William, moved to Lynchburg and in 1817 established what is now known as the Diuguid Funeral Directing Establishment, second oldest of the kind in the United States. He combined cabinet making with his other occupation, supplying many persons of the community with fine durable furniture. His familiar association with scenes of distress, as undertaker, did not blunt his susceptibilities and, it is told, that at the grave it was often with difficulty that he controlled his feelings. He died in 1856, aged 62 years, and his remains were carried to Appomattox for interment at his former home. Diuguid was succeeded in undertaking business by his son, George A. Diuguid, who lived to the age of 72 years when his son, William D. Diuguid, became head of the establishment.

Perhaps, in its records, no line of business carries so full a history, as this firm, of what transpired contemporaneously at Lynchburg during its century progress, in its silent reflection of epidemics, wars, crises, depressions, etc., as well as of the march of science in tempering the ills to which flesh is heir. These records give accurate roll call of citizens in their passing, of the heavy toll in war victims,—of the gradual dismemberment of households.

Embalming was practiced in primitive custom before the War Between the States, and during that crucial period of 1861-65 the method of preservation of bodies for transportation, as found necessary in the case of soldiers sent to their homes, was by packing the outer casing with charcoal. A later day provided precautions in the use of chemical preservatives, and for this in 1894 Virginia Legislature passed a law requiring the embalming of bodies and licensing of embalmers. This law was sponsored by Virginia Funeral Directors' Association of which Wm. D. Diuguid was president, and Virginia was the first state in the Union to adopt the law.

George A. Diuguid had anticipated the requirement of a doctor's certificate of death, first enforced in 1873, by the use of a peculiar mark of his own selection, to indicate on his books that the certificate had been secured.

The present improved church truck, used for the conveyance of bodies in the building, grew out of the idea suggested to Wm. D. Diuguid at seeing a picture of the catafalque used for the remains of President Garfield after his assassination. Diuguid conceived the idea of placing wheels on such a car and using it in churches; his suggestion became universally adopted and is now considered an essential accessory.

There are four cemeteries in Lynchburg:

  • The Methodist, established in 18O6, (an older one on Court House Hill having been abandoned) used later as a reservation for soldier interments;
  • The Presbyterian, established in 1824;
  • The Spring Hill, established in 1855, with violent opposition, causing the first funeral procession to go heavily armed against possible interruption; and
  • The Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, established in 1874.

A Jewish cemetery was established on the Amherst Heights and one for use of colored residents has recently been established near the city.

In former years slaves were interred in old Methodist cemetery and plot reservations in the portion divided off from that for soldiers, are still held by their descendants.

Public domain content from the US GenWeb Archives.