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Our History

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.

Spicer-Mullikin is a three time winner (2015, 2016, 2017) of the prestigious Pursuit of Excellence Award recognizing professionalism and integrity in our industry, presented by the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Learn more about our commitment to the local community.

 

Our Antique Hearse

Antique Hearse Sketch - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes | Our History

Our horse-drawn hearse was built in the 1840s by John D. Edwards, a funeral director and carriage maker in Londonderry Township, Pa. Edwards used the hearse at his own funeral home and later passed it on to his son, Charles, who succeeded his father in funeral service.

With the advent 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. Mayer, 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.

In 2011, Matthew C. Smith, Harvey Smith’s son, became the new owner of Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes and Crematory. He is now the proud custodian of the horse-drawn hearse, and looks forward to it staying in the Smith family for many more generations to come.

Read the full history of Spicer-Mullikin’s antique hearse (PDF)