The following unidentified newspaper article was one of several in a collection of Lowell Town Historian Richard Schmal:
Martin Schur was born in Friedenfier, West Prussia, Nov. 10th, 1836, and died of blood poison at his home in Lowell, Ind., April 1_, 1898, aged 61 years, 5 months and _ days. He came to America in 1869 and settled first in Crown Point where he worked for Mr. Geisen at his trade that of cabinet maker until he came to Lowell in March 1873, where he has since lived, following the business of undertaker and dealer in furniture at which business he accumulated a competency and left his widow in good circumstances. He was a man greatly respected by every body, being kind and obliging to all with whom he had dealings. He was ever ready to lend his assistance to all movements looking to the betterment of our town and community. No man in this vicinity will be missed more or more sincerely mourned than Martin Schur. His sickness was of about 11 weeks' duration; during which time he suffered greatly but bore it without a murmur. It was finally decided to amputate his leg with a hope to save his life, but on account of his weakened condition [he] was unable to stand the nervous shock and died within 30 minutes after the operation. September the 6th, 1874, he was united in marriage to Barbara Landgraf who survives him. He had no relatives in this country. His funeral occurred at 10 o'clock a.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Catholic church which was crowded, Father Krusse of Rensselaer officiating. He preached an elegant discourse in English. Interment in Catholic cemetery northeast of Lowell. He leaves a widow, two sisters in Germany and a host of . . . [The article was cut off at this point.]
The following August 28, 1952, Lowell Tribune article appeared on page 22, columns 1-2. A photo, which accompanied the story, could not be copied well enough to be duplicated here:
Lowell's First Hearse
Pictured above are Mrs. Martin Schur, John Castle, (brother of Mrs. Harry Alyea) driving, and Clifford Stowell, undertaker.
The Martin Schurs operated Lowell's first undertaking establishment (way back when caskets were coffins and cost only $15). The Schur building formerly was the site of Lowell's first school and, although extensively remodeled, the building now houses Sheets Furniture store. The present alley view is about the same as the one above.
The Schurs lived in the building, which was also a furniture store. Mr. Schur made furniture and all the coffins used (his tools are on display at the Sheets Furniture Store during the celebration).
In that age all embalming was done in the home and all funeral services were held in church or the home. Funeral homes came into existence less than a quarter of a century ago.
Sold to William Sheets in 1903
The Schurs sold their business interests in 1903 to Prof, William Sheets (father of K.A. Sheets).
Prior to 1903, Mr. Sheets was the superintendent of the Lowell school for seven years. During this time the new school (Lowell's present grade school) was built, 1896. He instituted the first 4-year high school course and his first and only graduate in 1897 was "Bill" Davis, son of Lowell's beloved old "family" doctor -- Dr. J.A. Davis.*
Kenneth Sheets, the professor's only son, still operates the furniture store in Commercial Avenue's business district and he and his wife own a lovely funeral home on East Commercial.
* NOTE: The "Dr. J.A. Davis" in this article was actually Dr. John Elkanah Davis. The middle initial was mistyped in the article.