• Bolton’s earliest undertaker was Samuel Bolton, a trained carpenter 1
  • He was exiled in Indiana along with his father James Bolton for their roles in the Mackenzie Rebellion.  His father died there in 1840 
  • Samuel was pardoned in 1846 and returned to Bolton where he took up house building and undertaking
  • In 1849, he built a frame house on a village lot he purchased from his brother Charles 2
  • The house with roughcast exterior was built in the shape of a cross and Sam used the wall niches to display and store the coffins he made 
  • By the mid-1860s, an open-sided, canopy top wagon type hearse drawn by a black horse was available ‘For Hire’.  A later version was glass-sided and drawn by a team of horses 3
  • Sam Bolton retired from the undertaking business in 1880, selling the business to carriage maker Albert Dodds 4

Samuel Bolton House, built c.1849, 70 King Street East

Extract from 1854 T.C. Prosser Map of Bolton. Samuel Bolton’s House is shown close to the centre.

  • Starting in 1880, coffins, usually pine and covered with black merino wool fabric, were made in Albert Dodds carriage factory.  In later years, caskets were purchased and maintained in inventory for burials 5
  • Albert Dodds was on the board of Laurel Hill Cemetery when it was formed in 1894 6
  • In 1913,  Dodds sold his enterprise, including his home, to William R. Egan 

Albert Dodds Carriage Works and Undertaking. From: Margaret Dodd Snell Henry Collection, part of the Albion Bolton Historical Society Collection.

Albert and Jane Dodds.  From the Margaret Dodds Snell Henry Collection, part of the ABHS Collection

Jane and Albert Dodds’ House at 36 King Street East, Bolton.

  • The undertaking part of the business purchased by William R. Egan in 1913 has evolved as customs and requirements have changed
  • Shortly after World War One, Egan replaced the horse-drawn hearse with a rather ornate Ford Model T motor hearse
  • Later, as embalming requirements became more stringent, that process was moved from Egan’s home to the hardware store behind.  And with increasing frequency, families were organizing funerals at their local church
  • In 1932, the business was inherited by Bill and Harold Egan.  Gradually the Egan family home at 36 King Street East evolved into a Funeral Home on the main floor with living quarters above
  • In 1947, the ‘preparation’ room and a casket selection area took over part of the second floor of a new Egan Brothers’ furniture and hardware store at 29 Queen Street North
  • In 1957, the undertaking business moved to the South Hill where a 4th Egan generation is managing the funeral business 

Taken in the Winter of 1913. From L. to R. Robert Steele, Wm. E. Egan and W.R.Egan.

Bill and Fran Egan

And the buildings?

  • Ownership of 70 King Street East remained among family and relatives for a century and was subsequently owned by Martha and Wendell East for 50 years.  It still stands
  • The carriage works was moved back from the street, set on a foundation and converted into a hardware, paint and wallpaper store.  It later became Cavallieri’s building supply store.  It was torn down in 1988 to make way for the Courtyards of Caledon shopping centre
  • 36 King Street East, Jane and Albert Dodds’ house, then Egan’s Funeral Home and residence later became the Armstrong Nursing Home.  It was demolished in 1988 to make way for The Courtyards of Caledon 
  • 29 Queen Street North, built as Egan’s Hardware and Furniture Store, still stands
  1. Walker & Miles 1877. Historical Atlas of Peel County. Third Reprint Edition. pg 66
  2. Abstract Index to Deeds, ALBION Vol A&B, Inst# 43366, Region of Peel Archives
  3. Women of the WI. Bolton Tweedsmuir Book. ‘Bolton’s Funeral Directors.’ Region of Peel Archives.
  4. ibid.  Details about Albert Dodds’ signficant carriage making business can be found as a separate menu item in the chapter on INDUSTRY
  5. ibid.
  6. William E. Egan.  A History of Laurel Hill Cemetery 1893-1988