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Mrs. J.W. Jones Memorial Chapel Records

Call Number: RH MS 1535


This collection contains funeral records for the Mrs. J.W. Jones Memorial Chapel, Inc. of Kansas City, Kansas, including volumes of funeral records with microfilm copies. The collection also includes miscellaneous financial and administrative records taken from funeral volumes and a photograph of the storefront for the Kansas City Embalming and Casket Company, circa 1901-1921.


  • Creation: 1901-1948


Conditions Governing Access

While access to the funeral records is unrestricted, researchers wishing to cite or publish individual names or personal information from the records must obtain permission to do so from the funeral home. Contact Spencer Research Library staff at or (785) 864-4334 for assistance.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Mrs. J. W. Jones Memorial Chapel, Inc.

The Mrs. J. W. Jones Memorial Chapel, Inc. of Kansas City, Kansas was founded in 1900 by John W. Jones and his wife Mary A. Jones. It is one of the oldest continuously owned and operated African American funeral homes in Kansas. John W. Jones founded the Kansas City Embalming Casket Company in 1900. Jones also operated a livery stable next to the funeral home and rented horses for carriages, heavy hauling, and house moving as well as for funeral services. John W. Jones became ill in 1917, and out of necessity, Mary A. Jones became involved in the operation of the business. John W. Jones passed away on June 27, 1921.

In the years after John W. Jones's death, Mary Jones modernized and enlarged the business. Many young morticians apprenticed at the funeral home, including future co-owner Clyde M. Frey. Originally located at 440 State Avenue, the funeral home was moved to 2110 North 5th Street in the late 1950s due to urban renewal and then to 703 North 10th Street in 1973, when it was permanently renamed the Mrs. J. W. Jones Memorial Chapel.

Mary Jones passed away on August 1, 1963. In her will, she bequeathed the funeral home to Clyde M. Frey and Robert E. Powell, who had worked as assistant funeral directors for the firm for many years. In the early 1980s, Peggy Powell, the daughter of Robert E. Powell, joined the firm as a licensed funeral director, embalmer, and admiistrative assitant.

After Frey's death, Robert Powell and Peggy Powell operated the business until her death in 1993. Powell persuaded Shirley Gamble, his sister, and Stephanie Swait, his niece, to join and operate the firm until his death in 1995. Gamble and Swait operated the fim until Swait's death in 2002 and Gamble's death in 2003. The buisness continues to be a premier funeral home within the African American community it serves. Amos Cooley currently works as the Chief Operating Officer and Mary McCree as assistant funeral director.


2.75 Linear Feet (4 boxes + 8 reels of microfilm)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Mrs. J. W. Jones Memorial Chapel Records consist of funeral record volumes beginning with 1 August 1901. The books are in chronological order by the date the funeral was held. The books also have a space for a funeral number, but the record keepers were inconsistent in filling this in. Each page, however, is starred with a page number and this is the number referred to in the index at the front of each book. The indexes are in worse physical condition than the rest of the volumes. Some index pages are missing, some are only partly legible, and some are not complete, in that they do not contain all names in the volume. The user is cautioned to use these indexes with care. Researchers should begin with the microfilmed copies of the volumes before handling the originals whenever possible.

Additional information for the microfilmed copies: The funeral record volumes have been arbitrarily numbered, beginning with No. 1. Targets at the beginning of each volume give the Book No. and the dates covered in that volume. Targets have also been used to indicate the condition of the original, such as faint or illegible print, missing pages, or damaged pages.

Physical Location

RH MS 1535

Physical Location

RH MF 149

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Peggy Powell, 1989.

Processing Information

Volumes were previously shelved at RH MS G80. Separated materials from the volumes was previously shelved at RH MS P618.

Guide to the Mrs. J.W. Jones Memorial Chapel, Inc. Collection
Mrs. J.W. Jones Memorial Chapel Records
Finding aid prepared by mg, 2004. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Revised by mwh, 2019; cmp, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Mrs. J.W. Jones Memorial Chapel, Inc. Collection, RH MF 149, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States