Inventory

A. O. Gillis Funeral Home Records
Dates: 1916-1981
Accession Number: 910524C
Donor: Callahan Funeral Home, Inc.
Description: One flat storage box, 12 document cases, and 14 card file boxes


History

Born in Illinois on November 27, 1875, Arthur O. Gillis moved to Terre Haute at the age of nine. Gillis first learned the funeral trade as an assistant in the Stees & Nisbet firm around 1895. By 1910, Gillis had worked his way up from assistant undertaker to secretary and member of the H. L. Stees-Gillis Co. In 1915, Gillis dissolved his partnership with Stees and established his own business at 647 Cherry Street.

By 1924, Gillis's two sons, Chase H. and Kenneth J., assisted their father at the A. O. Gillis Funeral Home. The firm moved to a new site at 400 N. 7th Street the following year and in the mid-1930s became known as A. O. Gillis & Sons. In 1940, the funeral home moved again to a more spacious location at 802 Chestnut, was called the Gillis Memory Chapel, and advertised lady attendants and an ambulance service.

When A. O. Gillis died on April 4, 1941, his son Kenneth became funeral director. By 1954, Kenneth's own son, Michael C. Gillis, joined the family business as assistant director and eventually became president of the firm when his father retired in 1966. The Gillis Memory Chapel moved to a new building at 4201 S. 7th Street in January 1974. In 1981, the Gillis Memory Chapel was acquired by Callahan Funeral Home, Inc. and the name changed to the Callahan-Gillis Funeral Home, South Chapel, for a short transitional period between ownership. By 1982, the name Gillis was dropped and 4201 S. 7th Street property was owned by Callahan Funeral Home (South Chapel).


Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains nearly a complete set of funeral registers from the A. O. Gillis Funeral Home from its inception in 1916, when Gillis left the H. L. Stees firm, to the time when the Callahan Funeral Home, Inc. acquired the Gillis property in 1981.

The collection is arranged in two segments. The first half includes twenty funeral register books in which funeral records were generally recorded in chronological order (1916-1938). At the front of each ledger book there is an alphabetical name index of the deceased registered. Information recorded includes all or part of the following: name of deceased, residence, age at death, date of death, cause of death, date of burial, place of burial and description of funeral arrangements and cost. Beginning around 1928, obituaries were clipped from the local newspaper and attached to the individual's funeral record.

Many loose, miscellaneous items were found in between pages of most of the ledger books. These items were removed and placed in corresponding acid-free folders. They include either general correspondence and financial statements regarding the operations of the funeral home or direct references and records pertaining to individual funerals.

The second half of the collection contains funeral registers on 5" x 8" index cards. They are arranged in alphabetical order by name of the deceased and cover the years 1938-1981. The cards contain information on funeral arrangements and cost and a copy of the death certificate (which includes name and address of deceased; date, place, and cause of death; spouse; date and place of birth; names of father and mother and their birthplaces; list of survivors). Sometimes other items regarding the death, funeral or burial will be clipped to the card or an obituary will be glued to it.

 ITEM

DATE

LOCATION

Funeral Register Book #1

1916-May 1919

Document Case 2

Funeral Register Book #2

April 1919 -
Jan. 4, 1921

Document Case 2

Funeral Register Book #3

Jan. 4, 1921-
June 25, 1922

Document Case 2

Funeral Register Book #4

June 25, 1922-
Oct. 15, 1923

Document Case 3

Funeral Register Book #5

Oct. 17, 1923-
Dec. 1924

Document Case 3

Funeral Register Book #6

Jan. 3, 1925 -
Dec. 31, 1925

Document Case 4

Funeral Register Book #7

Jan. 1, 1926 -
Aug. 16, 1926

Flat Storage

Funeral Register Book #8

Aug. 21, 1926 -
May 6, 1927

Document Case 4

Funeral Register Book #9

Aug. 21, 1926 -
March 4, 1927;
Dec. 14-30, 1929

Document Case 4

Funeral Register Book #10

May 6, 1927 -
Jan. 2, 1928

Document Case 5

Funeral Register Book #11

Jan. 1, 1928 -
Dec. 31, 1928

Document Case 6

Funeral Register Book #12

Jan. 1, 1929 -
Dec 14, 1929
(continued in Book 9)

Document Case 5

Funeral Register Book #13

Jan. 1, 1930 -
Jan. 9, 1931

Document Case 6

Funeral Register Book #14

Jan. 1, 1931 -
Dec. 31, 1931

Document Case 7

Funeral Register Book #15

Jan. 1, 1932 -
Jan. 14, 1933

Document Case 8

Funeral Register Book #16

Jan. 1, 1933 -
Dec. 31, 1933

Document Case 9

Funeral Register Book #17

Jan. 2, 1934-
Jan. 31, 1935

Document Case 9

Funeral Register Book #18

Feb. 6, 1935 -
June 19, 1936

Document Case 10

Funeral Register Book #19

June 21, 1936 -
Jan. 4, 1938

Document Case 11

Funeral Register Book #20

Jan. 3, 1938 -
May 25, 1938

Document Case 12

 

Flat Storage Box Years Spanned
Folder 1 Items from Ledger Book 2 1919-1921
Folder 2 Items from Ledger Book 3 1921-1922
Folder 3 Items from Ledger Book 4 1922
Folder 4 Items from Ledger Book 5 1923-1924
Folder 5 Items from Ledger Book 6 1925
Folder 6 Items from Ledger Book 7 1926
Folder 7 Items from Ledger Book 8 1926-1927
Folder 8 Items from Ledger Book 9 1926-1927;
1929
Folder 9 Items from Ledger Book 10 1927-1928
Folder 10 Items from Ledger Book 11 1928
Folder 11 Items from Ledger Book 12 1929
Folder 12 Items from Ledger Book 13 1930-1931
Folder 13 Items from Ledger Book 14 1931
Folder 14 Items from Ledger Book 15 1932-1933
Folder 15 Items from Ledger Book 16 1933
Folder 16 Items from Ledger Book 17 1934-1935
Folder 17 Items from Ledger Book 18 1936-1936
Folder 18 Items from Ledger Book 19 1936-1938
Folder 19 Items from Ledger Book 20 1938
CARD FILE BOXES
Card File Box 1 A-Bov 1938-1981
Card File Box 2 Bow-Cl 1938-1981
Card File Box 3 Cm-Di 1938-1981
Card File Box 4 Do-F 1938-1981
Card File Box 5 G-Ha 1938-1981
Card File Box 6 He-Ji 1938-1981
Card File Box 7 Jo-Le 1938-1981
Card File Box 8 Li-Mez 1938-1981
Card File Box 9 Mi-Pan 1938-1981
Card File Box 10 Par-Ri 1938-1981
Card File Box 11 Ro-Si 1938-1981
Card File Box 12 Sk-Ta 1938-1981
Card File Box 13 Te-We 1938-1981
Card File Box 14 Wh-Z 1938-1981