Thursday, April 05, 2018

Brooks & White Funeral Home

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Brooks & White Funeral Home was founded before 1914 in Hurdle Mills, NC by George D. Brooks and Cyrus Clifton White. They ran a blacksmith shop, woodworking shop, country store and garage. At that time the infant mortality rate was high and they offered infant caskets for sale in the store and then they later began providing a funeral service. It was around 1913-1915 when George D. Brooks and Cyrus C. White purchased a wagon that was converted to a hearse. With this wagon they would assist a family in shrouding the deceased and transporting the body to the burial location.

In the late 1920's, George D. Brooks moved to Semora in adjoining Caswell County and started a country store and funeral home. In the early 1930's, Merle Brooks, the oldest daughter of George D. Brooks graduated from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN and went on to become one of the first female embalmers in the State of North Carolina. She also was licensed in Virginia.

Cyrus Clifton White
Later, the First Bank of South Boston was purchased and converted into a funeral home. This firm was named Brooks Funeral Home. Throughout the years, many of the family connections were employed by this firm. The next funeral home that was purchased was in Yanceyville, NC. This made the fourth in the Brooks & White organization. Following World War II in which four of five of Cyrus's sons were involved (the fifth and youngest son was in Korea), the oldest son, C.J. was sent to Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, TN and graduated June 28, 1947. C.J. then served his apprenticeship under Merle Brooks in South Boston. In 1951, the three brothers C.J., Lawrence and Jack White (along with Tom Jones, husband of Merle Brooks Jones) bought the J. J. "Dick" Woody Funeral Home from his widow and operated out of the house at 522 S. Main Street for the next 30 years. After many years of work and planning, Brooks & White Funeral Home was moved in 1981 to its current location at 907 Durham Road.

The Yanceyville funeral home was sold in the 1950s, and Semora and Hurdle Mills were closed. In the 1960s the South Boston and Roxboro funeral homes were separated, no longer having any common owners.

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