The history of our service to Delaware families began more than a hundred years ago, when William E. Haines opened his funeral home in Wilmington. It was later purchased by John W. Spicer, and then merged with a funeral home owned by James Mullikin. For many years we maintained three locations: in Wilmington, New Castle (Wilmington Manor), and Delaware City. The Wilmington location was then sold and we purchased a facility in Newark.
Frank Mayer, Jr. and Harvey Smith, Jr. purchased Spicer-Mullikin in 1968 and operated the business for more than 40 years. The current owner, Harvey’s son Matthew C. Smith, continues the company’s century-old tradition of compassionate, dignified service.
Our Antique Hearse
Our horse-drawn hearse was built in the 1840s by John D. Edwards, a funeral director and carriage maker in Londonderry Township, PA. Mr. Edwards passed it on to his son, who succeeded his father in the funeral business. With the invention of the automobile, the horse-drawn hearse was no longer used in funeral processions. It was fully restored to its original condition in 1987 by Levi Fisher of Kirkwood, Lancaster County, Pa. In 1994, the hearse was entrusted to the care of Harvey C. Smith Jr. and Frank C. Meyer, Jr., former co-owners of Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes. The hearse is solidly built of chestnut and oak and weighs over 1600 pounds. Painting alone, at the time the hearse was manufactured, took over three months to complete to allow for the application of many coats of slow-drying lacquer and the vigorous hand-buffing required to create its lustrous, enduring finish.
Although the horse-drawn hearse is no longer used for funeral services, we are proud of its history and what it represents: A time-honored and respected tradition of a final tribute and farewell to loved ones who have passed.