Ten years after Judge and Mrs. J. A. Lynch founded
Mineral Wells in 1882, Benjamin Holland and Bettie Clements Lattner opened their
furniture store and funeral home. The following article was printed in “The
(Mineral Wells) Daily Index”, on March 28, 1905:
FURNITURE AND UNDERTAKING ‘B. H. Lattner was born in Franklin County, Georgia,
March 7, 1854, and came to Mineral Wells in 1892, where he married Miss Bettie
Clements. Both are licensed embalmers and members of the (Texas) State
Undertaker’s Association. Mr. Lattner has been in the furniture and undertaking
business all his life and therefore he is thoroughly posted in all of
its branches. He has an immense stock of furniture constantly in stock in his
two story stone business house, and cordially invites the visitors to call and
The first business location is pictured to the right
with the caption from the book, “Time Was in Mineral Wells a Crazy Story but
True…”, by A. F. Weaver: “B. H. Lattner was an undertaker by trade, but dabbled
in other businesses as read on the signs in front of his establishment.” (The
signs read “B. H. Lattner, Furniture, Light Running Sewing Machines and
Coffins”. This building was located at the corner of
S. E. 1st Street and South Oak Avenue and is now a parking lot. Records
show that Bettie was the first Texas licensed female embalmer with license #15.
The best records available indicate the Lattner’s started their business there
in 1892 and continued at this original location for about 15 years.
In September 1905, Mr. Lattner purchased the lot at 116 South Oak Avenue and in
1906, built a three-and-a-half story brick building. The first elevator in the
town of Mineral Wells installed to facilitate the movement of the casket from
the second floor where the chapel was located. It is reported that visitors
would assemble for the opportunity to ride up and down the new contraption. The
business continued there until September 11, 1936, when it was moved to 302 West
Hubbard, the present home of Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner Funeral Home. A close
examination of the five corner windows on the second row from the top will
reveal the stained glass windows currently in the present facility at 302 West
Hubbard Street. The building currently houses Mineral Wells Office Supply. Mrs.
Lattner had purchased this property on October 30, 1932, four years after her
husband passed away.
The Rev. Clyde Campbell who was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church from
1930-1936 was the construction foreman on the brick and native rock structure.
They started building in the spring of 1936, when Mrs. Lattner was 64 years old.
Rev. Campbell gave
the following account of the construction: “Mrs. Lattner and
I drove many miles inspecting funeral homes before we started the building. We
bought, wrecked, and hauled four residences from Thurber for the woodwork, and
gathered the rock from the mountains. Many persons worked out funeral bills they
owed Mrs. Lattner. Times were hard and money hard to come by, I never charged
her a dime for my work. She was a good woman caught in a hard condition and I
helped her out. I had to beg clothing, caskets and even graves for poor people
during that depression and she never turned me down.” Mrs. Lattner operated the
business for only about a year in the “almost completed” new building.
An article in the Mineral Wells “Daily Index” dated May 30, 1948, contained the
following information: “Drew Baum and Neil Carlock were living in Stamford when
they attended the
Texas Funeral Directors convention in Mineral Wells in May 1937. The B. H.
Lattner Funeral Home was for sale and they found it out while they were here,
made plans to buy it and moved their families here June 1 of that same year.”
When World War II started, Neal Carlock joined the armed forces and left Drew
Baum to operate the business. Mr. Carlock returned from the war with the rank of
Lt. Colonel and they resumed their partnership.
On May 2, 1960, the Baum and Carlock Funeral Home became the
Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner Funeral Home. Mitchell O. Bumgardner, his wife Alice
Jeanette, and their son John Bumgardner, moved to Mineral Wells from Colfax,
Iowa, having purchased sole ownership of the firm.
Mr. Bumgardner owned the funeral home during the height of the Ft. Wolters
activity and population influx. He died September 27, 1972. His wife attended
the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science, received her Funeral Directors license
in 1979 and continued to actively operate the business. She was the first lady
to serve on the board of directors of the Mineral Wells Savings and Loan
Association and served one term on the Mineral Wells City Council. She passed
away on March 20, 2004.
Rual Perkins, his wife Donna and their two children, Mary Christine and Benjamin
moved to Mineral Wells on
March 4, 1974, and joined the staff of Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner. He became the
Funeral-Director-in-Charge shortly thereafter. Donna went to work in the
laboratory of Palo Pinto General Hospital where she was a registered, licensed
Medical Technologist. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington
with a degree in Medical Technology. In her spare time she teaches piano, an activity
she dearly loves. They purchased the funeral home April 1,