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Isaac Lindsey

Isaac Lindsey spent much of his adult life as an undertaker in Texas. Born in Cartersville, Georgia, on March 6, 1848, he married Mary E. Talley (1853–1931) in Marshall County, Tennessee, in 1870. At that time he was working as a carpenter. He continued that occupation when the couple moved to Sherman, Texas, by 1880.

In 1891, the Denison City Directory listed Isaac Lindsey as an undertaker and funeral director at 517–519 West Main Street. He and Mary were living at 612 West Crawford Street.

Detail of photo ca. 1895,
from "Art Work of Grayson County.  Published in Twelve Parts."
[Edited by Nat Decker.] 12 volumes. N.p. [Chicago]: W.H. Parish Publishing Co., 1895

Five years later, in 1896, Lindsey, "undertaker and embalmer, mouldings and picture frames," had moved his business across the street to 502-504 West Main.  This prestigious location was on the ground floor of the Denison Commercial College.  Constructed in 1890, the Commercial College was an ambitious undertaking for a small city. It billed itself as “the largest business college in America,” with 86,000 square feet of floor space and the capacity for 1,500 students. Four of Denison’s most prominent residents were the officers: T. V. Munson, president; Samuel Hanna, vice-president; T. W. Roach, secretary; and A. H. Coffin, treasurer.

National Commercial College Building
500 West Main Street
Lindsey Coffins occupies part of the ground floors, at 502-504 Wet Main.
Photo ca. 1895
The Herald newspaper occupies 506 West Main, next door.
Source of photo: "Art Wor of Grayson County. Published in Twelve Parts."
[Edited by Nat Decker.] 12 volumes.  N.p.  [Chicago]: W.H. Parish Publishing Co., 1895

In 1896, Isaac and Mary were living at 506 West Main, next door to the Lindsey funeral parlor. In June of 1900, the U.S. Census found Isaac and Mary still living at 506 West Main. He was listed as an undertaker. At the same address was another family, Frank Frederick, a German immigrant butcher; his wife Rose; and their ten-year-old son Guy. Also present was Ellery C. Dempsy, age 26, nephew of the Fredericks; he was a machinist on the railroad.

Around the turn of the century, the Commercial College was converted into the first Denison Hotel.  In 1909, this hotel boasted electric elevators, private baths, steam heat, phone in all rooms, a barber shop, billiard parlors, and dining room.
The hotel served the community until it was destroyed in a devastating fire in January of 1920.

Photo ca 1908
Source of photo: "The Denison Hotel Building. Carter's Music Store and Pace's Furniture Store on First Floor."
Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 7.
Note:  Lindsey Coffin next door at 506 West Main Street.
Pace Furniture : 502 and 504 West Main
Crown Music and Carter Music : 500 West Main

The 1901 Denison City Directory listed Isaac, now 53 years old: "Undertaker, funeral director, picture frames and mouldings; embalming a specialty." The business was now at 506 West Main, with the Lindseys still living upstairs at the same address.

506 West Main Street, ca. 1902. "I. Lindsey, Undertaker and Embalmer 506 Main Street. Exterior. Phone 99-2 Rings."
506 West Main Street, ca. 1902. "I. Lindsey, Undertaker and Embalmer 506 Main Street. Interior. Phone 99-2 Rings."
Source: Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca. 1909]. Page 39.

Apparently the Denison funeral home proved untenable, for the Lindseys were not listed in the Denison City Directory in 1907 and 1909. In 1910, the Census found them in Lubbock, Texas. Isaac was an undertaker in "own store."  On 20 February 1911 Isaac Lindsay sold land to the Denison Cemetery Association for Fairview Cemetery enlargement at a cost of $4,500.  Isaac and his wife Mary were eventually buried in the Fairview Cemetery upon their deaths of 1929 and 1931, respectively.

Ten years later, Isaac and Mary were back in Denison, apparently in retirement. The 1920 Census showed them living at 1123 West Walker Street, and he had no occupation.

That same year, the great fire destroyed the Denison Hotel and the adjoining building at 506 West Main Street. At that time, Will H. Halton and his partner John L. Swank were operating a funeral parlor at 508–510 West Main.

Denison Hotel Fire
January 24, 1920
500 - 506b West Main Street
Collection of Grayson County, Frontier Village
Photo by Kelley Studio

Isaac died on March 22, 1929, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery in Denison. Mary Talley Lindsey passed away on June 24, 1931, and was buried with Isaac in Fairview.

Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County TXGenWeb