Martin-Tearman Funeral Home
Dates: 1910-1964
Accession Number: 20020507
Donor: Callahan Funeral Home, Inc.
Description: 28 document cases


The Martin-Tearman Funeral Home began operating in 1910 as the H. P. Martin Funeral Home under the ownership of Hubert P. Martin at 1261 Lafayette Avenue in the Twelve Points section of Terre Haute. Martin relocated his business to 1258 Lafayette Avenue in 1918 and opened a second funeral home at 405 S. 6th Street in 1924.

H. P. Martin was active in the mortuary field throughout the state and the nation. He was a member and president of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association and a member of the National Funeral Directors Association. Martin also participated in Terre Haute civic and business affairs and was a member of several lodges. By the late 1920s, Martin had suffered a number of heart attacks and decided to scale back his operations, closing up his Twelve Points funeral home in 1929. Sometime during that period Martin transferred ownership of the business to his wife, Carrie Martin, who had been working with her husband since as early as 1919. From 1931 to 1951, the Terre Haute City Directory lists Carrie Martin as the proprietor of the Martin Funeral Home. Her son, Onis, is listed as manager of the funeral home in 1939 and 1940. H. P. Martin had died in September 1932.

It is unclear when William Tearman began his association with the Martin Funeral Home. According to Tearman's obituary (Terre Haute Tribune-Star, Sept. 4, 2000), Tearman graduated from the Indiana Institute of Mortuary Science in 1947 and became owner-operator of the Martin Funeral Home in 1949. In a letter dated August 20, 1954, to Frank Patton, a prospective client who had written Mrs. Martin to prearrange his funeral, Tearman informed Mr. Patton that Mrs. Martin, "some four years ago retired from the active management of the H. P. Martin Funeral Home. Mrs. Martin does have a financial interest in the business as yet."

Even though Tearman acquired the Funeral Home in 1949, he did not change the name of the funeral home to reflect his ownership until 1956. From 1952 to 1955, the Terre Haute City Directory lists the business as the H. P. Martin Funeral Home. The 1956 edition of the Terre Haute City Directory is the first instance of a listing for the Martin-Tearman Funeral Home located at 405 S. 6th Street with William Tearman as director and continues with that name until 1964. According to Tearman's obituary, Tearman owned the funeral home until 1966, but the latest records in the collection are from burials in 1964. There is no listing for the Martin-Tearman Funeral Home in the 1965 edition of the city directory.

Content and Scope of the Collection

This collection consists of funeral ledger books (1910-1915, 1917), chronological files (1911-1950) and alphabetical files (1950-1964) created by the Martin Funeral Home and the Martin-Tearman Funeral Home.

Document Case 1 (Folders 1 to 5) contain 5 ledger books covering the following years: 1910-1912; 1912-1913; 1913-1914; 1914-1915; and 1917. The funeral ledger covering funerals from September 1915 to December 1916 was missing when this collection was processed. Each ledger has an index at the beginning of the volume which indicates the ledger page on which the account of the decedent appears. The ledger page for the decedent provides the name; age at death; death and burial dates; cemetery and burial plot information. The ledger page itemizes the cost of the burial service including embalming expenses, funeral coach, pallbearers and flowers.

Document Case 1 (Folders 6-20) to Document Case 9 contain over 1200 chronological files of single-paged ledger sheets from 1911 to 1950 that were detached from Funeral Ledgers at an unknown date(s). Files are arranged chronologically by calendar year and within each year files for each deceased individual are arranged alphabetically by name of the deceased.

Each folder contains 2 to 4 individual funeral record files. Information includes, but is not limited to, the following data: date of death; age (in years, months, and days); residence at time of death; name of cemetery and location of burial plot; and the location of the funeral services. The funeral home itemized charges (if any) for the following items: casket, clothing provided by the funeral home, slippers, embalming, funeral coach, cars provided for mourners, vault/grave expenses, and flower expenses.

Note to Researcher:  A Microsoft Access database is available for the records in Document Cases 1 through 9 covering the years 1910 to 1950 only.  These records were originally kept in chronological order but have been arranged alphabetically.  Please consult Special Collections or Archives staff for assistance with these records.

Document Case 10 to Document Case 28 contain over 900 alphabetical files created by the Martin Funeral Home and the Martin-Tearman Funeral Home from 1950 to 1964. These files contain extensive information which has been arranged in the following order: (1) biographical information (including data sheets compiled by the funeral home and death certificates from the state where the death occurred); (2) funeral information (including receipts from local cemeteries and an "automobile list" documenting the participants and the cars in the funeral procession); and (3) correspondence with the decedent's family. Correspondence may include some of the following: a detailed list of funeral expenses along with a cover letter; shipping manifests from railroads and airlines; copies of application forms requesting partial reimbursements for burial and headstone expenses from the federal Veterans Administration; correspondence concerning the engraving and installation of headstones; insurance policies; and miscellaneous items such as receipts for long-distance telephone charges.

Document Cases 1-9  (Files Originally Arranged in Chronological Order)

Folder 1

"Funeral Ledger" Book I


Folder 2

"Funeral Ledger" Book II


Folder 3

"Funeral Ledger" Book III


Folder 4

"Funeral Ledger" Book IV


Folder 5

"Funeral Ledger" Book VI


Folder 6

Chronological Files


Folder 7

Chronological Files


Folder 8

Chronological Files


Folder 9

Chronological Files


Folder 10

Chronological Files


Folder 11

Chronological Files


Folders 12-16

Chronological Files


Folders 17-20

Chronological Files


Document Case 2
Folders 1-2 Chronological Files 1919
Folder 3 Chronological Files 1920
Folders 4-5 Chronological Files 1921
Folders 6-7 Chronological Files 1922
Folders 8-10B Chronological Files 1923
Folders 11-14 Chronological Files 1924
Folder 15 List of funerals and bill totals 1925
Folders 16-18 Chronological Files 1925
Folder 19 List of funerals and bill totals 1926
Folders 20-21 Chronological Files 1926
Folder 22 List of funerals and bill totals 1927
Folders 23-26 Chronological Files 1927
Folder 27 List of funerals and bill totals 1928
Folders 28-31 Chronological Files 1928
Folder 32 List of funerals and bill totals 1929-1930
Folders 33-35 Chronological Files 1929
Folder 36 List of funerals and bill totals 1930-1931
Folders 37-39 Chronological Files 1930
Folder 40 List of funerals and bill totals 1931
Folder 41-43 Chronological Files 1931
Folder 44 List of funerals and bill totals 1932
Folders 45-47 Chronological Files 1932
Folder 48 List of funerals and bill totals 1933-1934
Folders 49-52 Chronological Files 1933
Folder 53 List of funerals and bill totals 1934
Accounts with local funeral homes 1934-1941
Folders 54-70 Chronological Files 1934
Document Case 3
Folder 1 List of funerals and bill totals 1935
Folders 2-21 Chronological Files 1935
Folder 22 List of funerals and bill totals 1936
Folders 23-45 Chronological Files 1936
Folder 46 List of funerals and bill totals 1937
Folders 47-68 Chronological Files 1937
Document Case 4
Folder 1 List of funerals and bill totals 1938-1939
Folders 2-27 Chronological Files 1938
Folder 28 List of funerals and bill totals 1939-1940
Folders 29-52 Chronological Files 1939
Document Case 5
Folders 1-24 Chronological Files 1940
Folders 25-47 Chronological Files 1941
Document Case 6
Folders 1-19 Chronological Files 1942
Folders 20-36 Chronological Files 1943
Document Case 7
Folders 1-28 Chronological Files 1944
Folders 29-48 Chronological Files 1945
Document Case 8
Folders 1-25 Chronological Files 1946
Folders 26-45 Chronological Files 1947
Document Case 9
Folders 1-24 Chronological Files 1948
Folders 25-46 Chronological Files 1949
Folders 47-58 Chronological Files 1950
Document Cases 10-28:  Files Arranged Alphabetically
Document Case 10 AA-BI 1950-1964
Document Case 11 BI-BU 1950-1964
Document Case 12 BU-CO 1950-1964
Document Case 13 CO-DO 1950-1964
Document Case 14 DO-FE 1950-1964
Document Case 15 FI-GI 1950-1964
Document Case 16 GO-HE 1950-1964
Document Case 17 HE-HU 1950-1964
Document Case 18 IB-KI 1950-1964
Document Case 19 KI-LU 1950-1964
Document Case 20 MC-MI 1950-1964
Document Case 21 MI-OH 1950-1964
Document Case 22 OL-PU 1950-1964
Document Case 23 PU-SA 1950-1964
Document Case 24 SC-ST 1950-1964
Document Case 25 ST-TO 1950-1964
Document Case 26 TO-WA 1950-1964
Document Case 27 WA-WO 1950-1964
Document Case 28 WO-ZI 1950-1964