Milward Funeral Home records

Abstract

The Milward Funeral Home records (dated 1913-1924, undated; 22 cubic feet; 10 boxes, 26 items) comprise the records of the oldest continuous business in Lexington, Kentucky, and the family papers of the Milward and Cooper families.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Milward Funeral Home records
Date
1813-1924, undated (inclusive)
Extent
22 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Civic leaders -- Kentucky -- Lexington
Coffins
Family archives -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
Funeral rites and ceremonies -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
Music stores
Arrangement
The collection is arranged by format in three series: Civic activities, Business activities, and Cooper family papers.
Finding Aid Author
Robert Weber
Preferred Citation
2000ms001: [identification of item], Milward Funeral Home records, 1813-1924, undated, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Milward Funeral Directors have been in business in Lexington, Kentucky since 1825. The founder of the family-run business, Joseph Milward, was born near Baltimore, Maryland in 1803. He came to Lexington at the age of three, and in 1819 was apprenticed to a local cabinet maker named Thomas B. Megowan. After completing his training in 1823, Joseph Milward worked for years at his trade in both Cincinnati, Ohio, and Richmond, Kentucky, but soon returned to Lexington, where he opened his own cabinet making shop on Main Street in 1825. The next year, the business moved to Main Cross (now South Broadway), and Milward soon engaged in casket making, or undertaking, like many furniture makers of the day.
By 1856, Milward had taken in as partner his son, J.U. Milward, and the business (at the time called Milward & Son) had become a wholesale and retail furniture house, including the sale of coffins and caskets. In 1867, Joseph Milward's young son, William Rice Milward, Sr., who had served the Union cause in the Civil War as an officer in the 21st Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, bought an interest in the business and its name change to Milward & Company. The furniture and undertaking business again moved to a new building on Main Street. Upon Joseph Milward's death in 1883, J.U. Milward took over the now well-established family business and ran in partnership with his brother, William. The Lexington City Directory for 1885 listed Milward & Company as undertakers and dealers in furniture, pianos, and organs. J.U. Milward retired in 1887, leaving William in charge. At this time, the business branched off into two or three separate establishments. Like Milward continued to operate The Milward Company, selling pianos, organs, music, and musical instruments, while William took over sole proprietorship of the funeral business, changing the name to W.R. Milward, Funeral Directors and moving a building on East Main Street (now West Main Street). The 1887 Lexington City Directory also lists a stove and furnace selling business run by L.P. Milward, but it is unclear whether this business was previously in existence or was a third branch of the original Milward & Company.
Shortly after William R. Milward, Sr. took over the funeral business, his two sons joined the company: Stanley Milward in 1887 and William R. Milward, Jr. in 1892. Stanley Milward was active in local civic and business organizations and even served as Lexington City Treasurer for a time in the late 1890s. In 1896, they relocated once again to East Short Street (now West Short Street), and by 1898, the business included the moving wholesale. Finally, in 1906, W.R. Milward Funeral Directors moved to its present location in a specially constructed building on North Broadway. A second location on Southland Drive and third location on Trent Boulevard were opened in the late 20th century and early 2000s.
W.R. Milward, Sr. died in 1915 and was succeeded by his son W.R. Milward, Jr., who operated the business during the remainder of the years covered by the present collection. During the next few years following W.R. Milward, Sr.'s death, the business expanded into the moving, packing, and storing of household goods, as well as ambulance service. The company purchased its first automobile in 1917. W.R. Milward, Jr. passed away in 1947 and was succeeded by his son, Robert Milward.
Scope and Content
The Milward Funeral Home records (dated 1913-1924, undated; 22 cubic feet; 10 boxes, 26 items) comprise the records of the oldest continuous business in Lexington, Kentucky, and the family papers of the Milward and Cooper families. The collection is divided into three series: Civic activities, Business activities, and Cooper family papers.
The first series, Civic activities, pertain to Milward family involvement in local civic, business, and fraternal organizations like the Sons of Temperance as well as municipal leadership roles. Most of the papers in the series belonged to Stanley Milward, son of W.R. Milward, Sr.
The Business activities series, forms the bulk of the collection, consists of Milward business records from 1850-1924, and primarily focuses on Milward & Company and W.R. Milward Funeral Directors. There are three daybooks and some loose papers from The Milward Company piano, organ, and music store included in the collection, which date from 1887-1891. There are no other records pertaining to other Milward-owned businesses in Lexington. The subgroup is divided into several sub-series consisting of a specific type of record.
The business records consist largely of several volumes recording the daily transactions and activities of the company. The columns provide the overall view of the day-to-day operation of the business. Although several gaps appear in the records, it is still possible to gain an understanding of the financial operations of a growing Lexington family-owned business throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The daybooks and journal in the collection record transactions with customers, in chronological order, include names, purchases, services, and prices. Some daybooks and journals have entries in common. The cashbooks provide records of business cash flow and expenditures, while ledgers show detailed records of accounts held by individual customers. Notable business records contain statements of Milward private and business accounts dating from 1895-1899 documenting between Milwards (primarily Stanley Milward) and many other Lexington businesses; funeral books from 1898-1900 including date and location of ceremonies; and invoices from 1866-1900 recording inventory purchases. Also included in the series are Civil War field battle reports written near Nashville, Tennessee in 1864 by the commander of the Iron Brigade, the brigade in which W.R. Milward, Sr. served as a company officer.
The Cooper family papers series includes correspondence, personal papers, and business papers from 1813 to 1868. There are two invitations to military balls held in Lexington addressed to Miss Annie Cooper, a letter from Wickliffe Cooper to his mother, written from the Field of Battle Shiloh on April 10th, 1862, and a newspaper clipping regarding the mysterious death of the same Wickliffe Cooper. Also included are personal correspondence to various recipients in Lexington, Louisville, and New Liberty, Kentucky dated from 1881 to 1910. Finally, there is correspondence to C.F. Turner, a resident of Georgetown, Kentucky dated from 1903 to 1910.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Civic activities, 1859-1900

Sons of Temperance handwritten documents, 1859

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Independent Order of Oddfellows and Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias: correspondence and dues list, 1898-1900

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Republican Club receipts, 1896

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Lexington City Government: audit petition, city charter, delinquent tax reports, and ordinances, 1879, 1895-1897

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Business activities, 1830-1924, undated

Daybooks (furniture and funeral), 1853-1903

1853-1854

  • Box 2, folder 1
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1854-1856

  • Box 2, folder 2
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1856

  • Box 2, folder 3
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1857-1863

  • Box 2, folder 4
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1863-1864

  • Box 2, folder 5
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1865-1867

  • Box 2, folder 6
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1866-1868

  • Box 2, folder 7
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1867-1868

  • Box 2, folder 8
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1872-1873

  • Box 2, folder 9
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1878-1879

  • Box 2, folder 10
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1880-1881

  • Box 3, folder 1
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1886-1887

  • Box 3, folder 2
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1886-1887

  • Box 3, folder 3
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1887

  • Box 3, folder 4
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1887-1889

  • Box 3, folder 5
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1889-1891

  • Box 3, folder 6
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1894-1896

  • Box 3, folder 7
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1900-1903

  • Item 1
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Daybooks (music), 1887-1891

1887-1888

  • Box 4, folder 1
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1889

  • Box 4
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1890-1891

  • Box 4, folder 3
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Loose papers, 1887-1890

  • Box 4, folder 4
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Journal, 1866-1918

1866-1868

  • Item 2
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1867-1872

  • Item 3
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1872-1876

  • Item 4
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1885-1886

  • Box 4, folder 5
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1885-1888

  • Item 5
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1903-1906

  • Item 6
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1906-1908

  • Item 7
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1908-1910

  • Item 8
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1911-1912

  • Item 9
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1913-1915

  • Item 10
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1915-1917

  • Item 11
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1917-1918

  • Item 12
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Cashbooks, 1853-1889

1853-1856

  • Box 5, folder 1
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1856-1857

  • Box 5, folder 2
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1858-1868

  • Box 5, folder 3
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1876-1877

  • Box 5, folder 4
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1878-1879

  • Box 5, folder 5
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1882-1883

  • Box 5, folder 6
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1885

  • Box 5, folder 7
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1887-1889

  • Box 5, folder 8
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Ledgers, 1850-1906

1850-1853

  • Box 6, folder 1
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1856-1862

  • Box 6, folder 2
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1865-1866

  • Box 6, folder 3
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1866

  • Item 13
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1885-1886

  • Box 6, folder 4
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1885-1887

  • Item 14
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1887-1889

  • Box 6, folder 5
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1887-1889

  • Item 15
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1889-1894

  • Item 16
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1890-1896

  • Item 17
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1890-1901

  • Box 6, folder 6
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1895-1898

  • Item 18
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1897-1902

  • Item 19
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1902

  • Item 20
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1902-1906

  • Item 21
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Invoice books, 1866-1890

1866-1868

  • Box 7, folder 1
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1870-1871

  • Box 7, folder 2
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1876-1877

  • Box 7, folder 3
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Loose papers, 1877

  • Box 7, folder 4
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1877-1878

  • Box 7, folder 5
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1887

  • Box 7, folder 6
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1887-1890

  • Box 8, folder 1
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Business correspondence, circa 1866-1872

Blotter book, circa 1866-1867

  • Box 8, folder 2
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Duplicate book, 1871-1872

  • Box 8, folder 3
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Order and storage books, 1882-1895

1882-1887

  • Box 8, folder 4
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1885-1887

  • Box 8, folder 5
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1887-1895

  • Box 8, folder 6
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Carriage books, 1896-1920

1896-1905

  • Box 8, folder 7
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1911-1917

  • Box 8, folder 8
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1918-1920

  • Box 8, folder 9
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Expense accounts, 1900-1910

1900-1916

  • Box 8, folder 10
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1905-1910

  • Box 8, folder 11
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Inventories, 1866-1886

  • Box 8, folder 12
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1866-1874

  • Item 22
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1875-1886

  • Item 23
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Company checkbooks, 1890-1899

1890-1891

  • Item 24
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1891

  • Item 25
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1899

  • Item 26
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Assorted records, 1830-1924, undated

Customer receipts, 1863-1866

  • Box 9, folder 1
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Battlefield report, 1864

  • Box 9, folder 2
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Papers from Journal 2, 1867-1872

  • Box 9, folder 3
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Railroad shipping receipts, 1882-1883

  • Box 9, folder 4
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Assorted papers (provenance unknown), 1894, 1896

  • Box 9, folder 5
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Insurance policy accounts diary, 1896-1903

  • Box 9, folder 6
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Furneral book, 1898-1900

  • Box 9, folder 7
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Statements of account, 1895

  • Box 9, folder 8
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Statements of account, 1896

  • Box 9, folder 9
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Statements of account, 1897

  • Box 9, folder 10
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Statements of account, 1898-1899

  • Box 9, folder 11
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Company employee timebook, 1918-1924

  • Box 9, folder 12
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Photographs, circa 1880-1910

  • Box 9, folder 13
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Ink blotters, undated

  • Box 9, folder 14
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Various newspapers (27 issues), 1830-1890

  • Box 10, item 6-33
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Cooper Family Papers, 1813-1910

Business papers: indentures, receipts, marriage permits, market reports, 1813-1833

  • Box 10, folder 1
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Personal correspondence: invitations and letters to Cooper family in Louisville and Lexington, circa 1857-1866

  • Box 10, folder 2
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Wickliffe Cooper papers: comissary orders, newspaper clipping, 1863-1868

  • Box 10, folder 3
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Letters to various receipients, 1881-1910

  • Box 10, folder 4
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Letters to C.F. Turner, 1903-1910

  • Box 10, folder 5
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UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Materials must be requested at least 5 days before your appointment.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.