Horse-Drawn Hearse



(Photo credit: Bob Warznak)

Nathaniel R. Blackwell, affectionately known as “N.R.”, started his funeral and cabinet-making business on North Main Street in downtown Pennington in 1881.

N.R. Blackwell’s wagon hearse has been a proud possession of the Blackwell Memorial Home (known back then as the N.R. Blackwell Funeral Service) since the vehicle was purchased in 1901. It was restored by Elam Riehl of Gap Carriage Company in the 1970’s. We recently discovered more about the history of this impressive conveyance in the pages of the Trenton Times and Hopewell Herald…


N.R. Blackwell has been building a new hearse house.
 November 7, 1901 (Trenton Times, Pennington column)

N.R. Blackwell, undertaker, yesterday received a new hearse from Bergen & Taylor, carriage makers of this village. January 19, 1902 (Trenton Times, Pennington column)

N.R. Blackwell

The experience of the above named gentleman for the past twenty years in conducting obsequies and interments is alone sufficient warrant for people to entrust funeral direction to his care. Mr. Blackwell brings to bear the completest knowledge and elevates his calling to the dignity of a profession. The equipment is strictly first class in every particular and includes a handsome new rubber-tired funeral car, which has recently been purchased at an outlay of $1,200. Mr. Blackwell has associated with him his son, L. F. Blackwell, who is an embalmer of experience, having devoted much time and study to this modern scientific method of preservation. During the many years Mr. Blackwell has been a resident of Pennington he has maintained a standing in the community as a careful, conscientous and honorable business man. His business is one which embodies more personal cares and responsibilities and more practical knowledge than any othe branch of our commercial system, and we can truthfully say that he is fully competent to fulfil the requirements in every particular. Mr. Blackwell also does a large furniture and upholstering business and repairs furniture and restores antiques. February 7, 1902 (Trenton Times, Pennington promo)


The N.R. Blackwell Funeral Service circa 1915
 (now Blackwell Memorial Home)

1916 ad shows that an automobile hearse was in use by this time. 
(Hopewell Herald)

1933 ad lists “Lady Attendant” –referring to N.R.’s widow, Carrie or his daughter, Elizabeth 
(Hopewell Herald)



Following N.R. Blackwell’s untimely death in 1923, his widow Carrie Elizabeth (Baldwin) Blackwell continued to operate the business. Their daughter, Elizabeth “Liz” (Blackwell) Deremer succeeded her mother. She undertook an extensive remodelling in 1938. The business was renamed to its modern name.

Liz’s daughter Elizabeth “Betty” (Deremer) Davis, the current owner, succeeded to the business. She ran it with her husband, John E. “Jack” Davis until his death, and continues to operate it today with manager, Kevin R. Latham.

The Blackwell Memorial Home has proudly served Hopewell Valley since 1881. The sense of integrity introduced by “N.R.” when the business was founded, has always been of the utmost importance in the operation of the business, along with sensitivity to the needs of bereaved families at a time when they are most vulnerable. 

Blackwell Memorial Home

21 North Main St., Pennington, NJ 08534

Kevin R. Latham, Manager, NJ Lic 4625 / PA Lic 000714



Phone: 609-737-2900

Copyright 2019 Blackwell Memorial Home