The J.M. Hutton Company ~ Richmond, Indiana


A History Of The J.M. Hutton Company, One Of  (Most Likely)  The Oldest Casket Manufacturers In The United States. The Firm Has Two Plants In Richmond, Indiana.

An 1872 Sketch Of The J.M. Hutton Company

Burial Case And Casket Manufactory.”The manufacture of sash, doors, and blinds was commenced about the year 1854, by Smith & Hyde, corner of Sixth and Market streets. The establishment passed successively into the hands of the following firms: Hasecoster & Rowten, (who removed it to Fort Wayne avenue,) Hasecoster & Kane, and Hasecoster & Stephens. In February, 1867, Jesse M. Hutton, George Hasecoster, Samuel S. Gause, and Wm. P. Hutton became proprietors, under the firm name of J. M. Hutton & Co.

 In January, 1868, they removed to their new building on the south-west corner of Ninth and Noble streets. In June, 1869, George Sherman (Schurman)  and Matthew H. Dill (a son-in-law of J.M. Hutton) were admitted as partners; and the company was incorporated under the general law of the legislature, without change of name. In 1869, the manufacture of wooden burial cases and caskets was added to their business, and has already become quite extensive. Their new shop was a three-story brick building, 105 by 40′ feet. The new branch of business requiring an increase of room, a new brick building, 100 by 25 feet, three stories high was erected on the north-east corner of Noble and Ninth streets, (now North 12th & E Streets) which has since been enlarged by an addition of equal dimensions. Orders for these cases are received from the western and south-western states. In the two branches of this establishment, about 40 persons are employed; nearly 700,000 feet of lumber are consumed; and between $40,000 and $50,000 in value of products are sold in a year.

This building replaced the first J.M. Hutton  Casket Works which was destroyed by fire on October 4, 1870. The  structure shown in the above print was completed just 55 days after the fire, and  was  erected on the SW corner of North Ninth & Noble Streets (now known as North 12th & E Streets). The firm used 3 corners of this intersection for their operation. Photo of print c: 1896.

Since the foregoing was written, the first mentioned of these buildings”that in which the manufacturing was chiefly done”with its machinery and other contents, was destroyed by fire, October 4, 1870. In fifty-five days, a new three-story brick building was erected on the same spot, and in successful operation. The loss was estimated at $22,000, and no portion covered by insurance. The business is now confined to the burial case and casket manufacture, which has been greatly increased. About 50 persons are now employed, and the amount of sales has been augmented in a much greater proportion.

This J.M. Hutton building was erected on the NE corner of North 12th & E Streets. Photo c: 1896. (No longer standing).

                                            J.M. HUTTON & COMPANY
(1839 ~ 2009)

The J.M. Hutton  casket operation  today… The J.M. Hutton Company opened for business in 1867, moved into their new building (at the same corner shown in the above aerial)  in 1868 and  the company was incorporated in 1870. As mentioned earlier, the 1868 building was destroyed by fire in 1870 and the replacement building, shown in the aerial view was constructed in 1870. The  earliest date  (I’ve found) of the Hutton brothers being engaged in business (in Richmond, Indiana) is 1839 (170 years ago) when the Isaac Jones Stove Works (later to become the manufactory of Gaar-Scott) passed to Jesse & John Hutton. In 1841 this Hutton enterprise manufactured the first Thresher made in the State of Indiana.  In 1849, the Huttons sold this business to the Gaar family, for the reported sum of $9,000. Most, if not all the principals of the Gaar-Scott Company (re-organized) were once employees of J.M. & J. H. Hutton.

1849; Jesse M. & John H. Hutton  Sell  their Threshing Machine Company  to the Gaar family and the Gaar-Scott Company is born.

Gaar Machine Works.”This extensive establishment, now devoted to the manufacture of steam and horse power threshing machines, portable and stationary engines, circular and mulay saw-mills, and other works of a similar character, was started in 1836, in a frame building, which stands on the corner of High street and Washington avenue, whither it was removed in 1856 to make room for the machine shop. Its first proprietor was Isaac E. Jones, who used the building principally for a stove foundry. In 1839, it passed into the hands of Jesse M. and John H. Hutton, and in 1841 was built the first thresher (a chaff-piler) ever made in Indiana.

 In 1849, the Huttons sold their establishment to Jonas Gaar and his sons, Abraham (Abram)  and John M. Gaar, and his son-in-law, Wm. G. Scott, who continued the business under the firm of A. Gaar & Co., until April 1, 1870, just twenty-one years, during which time it grew to its present huge proportions. Its majority was celebrated at the latter date, when the firm assumed the name of Gaar, Scott & Co., the same proprietors being still the exclusive holders of the capital stock of the concern, amounting to $400,000. The purchase money paid by A. Gaar & Co. to the Huttons is said to have been $9,000. From this may be seen the vast extension of the business under the management of the present proprietors.

 The machine shop, built in 1856, was burned down, January 31, 1858, but was immediately rebuilt; and other buildings have from time to time been added. The establishment uses four or five acres for its buildings and grounds ; has used 400,000 feet of lumber in a year, melted four tons of pig-iron in its foundry per day, and made up 100 tons of boiler iron annually. The floor room in the shops and warehouses is 1,662,309 square feet”about two and one-third acres. The number of hands employed averages over 200; and the products are between $350,000 and $400,000 per annum.

Source; The History of Wayne County, Indiana; Andrew White Young; 1872




By an act of the Legislature, approved Feb. 16, 1848, John Powell, Jacob Elliott, Elijah Stout, Robert Boyd and Moses Robertson, of Henry County, and Mark E. Reeves, James Scott and John H. Hutton, of Wayne County, were constituted a body corporate under the name “The New Castle & Richmond Railroad Company,” the capital stock of which was to be $250,000, shares $50 each. Books of subscription for the purpose of raising the funds for the prosecution of the road were opened in the fall of 1848. The road was built wholly as a local enterprise, the citizens of Henry County aiding to construct it from New Castle to the county line,

*The trains of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad enter and leave Richmond over the C., St. L. & P. Company’s tracks.

and those of Wayne County completing it to Richmond. The railroad was completed in the latter part of the year 1853, and trains began running early in 1854.

From time to time the road was extended onward from New Castle until it eventually became a through line to Chicago under the name of the Cincinnati & Chicago Air Line, and afterward the Chicago & Great Eastern Railroad. In 1867 it became one of the Pennsylvania Company’s lines by consolidation. It is now the Chicago Division of the Chicago St. Louis & Pittsburg, or “Pan-Handle,” Railroad.


The first railroad incorporated, wherein Wayne County was to be benefited, was the Richmond & Miami Railroad Co., which was incorporated by the State of Indiana, Jan. 19, 1846, to extend from Richmond to the east line of the State of Indiana to connect with a railroad proposed to be built in the State of Ohio, to the State line. On Jan. 24, 1851, the above act of incorporation was amended so as to include the construction of a branch line to connect with the Dayton & “Western Railroad at the State line. Judge Wm. A. Bickle, Wm. Burke and others were the movers in securing the charter. It was completed in 1853, and its first Superintendent was J. H. Hutton. It has since been leased to the Dayton & Western Railroad Co. for ninety-nine years. Source: History of Wayne County, Indiana; Vol 1; Inter-State Publishers; 1884


A 1912 Sketch Of J.M. Hutton & Co.

The firm of J. M. Hutton & Co. was first established in 1868, and two years later was incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000, for the manufacture of undertakers’ supplies. The first officers were Jesse M. Hutton, president; Matthew H. Dill, secretary, and William P. Hutton, treasurer. In October, 1870, the Company suffered an almost total loss by fire, but rebuilt immediately upon the present site, occupying three corners at Twelfth and North E streets.

 This is one of the oldest concerns of its kind in the United States. The output from this Company, since its beginning, has been sent into nearly every State in the Union. Additions to the original buildings were added from time to time, as the increased business demanded, and in 1905 extensive improvements were made; and the present plant is one of the most modern and well equipped coffin factories in the United States, the total floor space being nearly 75,000 square feet. About 100 men are employed at the present time, a number of whom have been with the Company for a period of thirty to thirty-five years. The annual pay-roll is about $40,000. The recent death of Matthew H. Dill took the last of the original incorporators of this firm. The present officers are: William R. Dill, president, and Walter J. Hutton, secretary and treasurer.

Source: Memoirs of Wayne County, Indiana & the City of Richmond; Vol 1; Henry Clay Fox; 1912


Sketch Sources; Memoirs of Wayne County, Indiana & the City of Richmond; Vol 2; Henry Clay Fox; 1912


Howard A. Dill

Howard Albert Dill, treasurer and superintendent of the Richmond City Waterworks, is a civil engineer of wide technical experience and for many years has been engaged in business where his profession serves him well.

Mr. Dill was born at Richmond August 7, 1869, son of Matthew H. and Emily (Hutton) Dill. He attended the grade schools of Richmond and in 1884 became a student in Swarthmore College and graduated in 1889. From Swarthmore he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was graduated with the degree S. B. in 1891. During 1893-94 Mr. Dill was connected with the City Engineering Department of Indianapolis, and on returning to Richmond in 1895 became treasurer of the Richmond Bicycle Company. In 1898 he joined the Richmond City Water Works, becoming its treasurer in 1899. He is also a stockholder and director of the J. M. Hutton & Company. In the meantime Mr. Dill had found many opportunities for valuable public service and has a wide range of interests.

 He was president of the Richmond Commercial Club in 1918-19, is president of the Social Service Bureau of Richmond a member of the Richmond Country Club, the Richmond Tourist Club and the Rotary Club. He is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and an independent republican in politics.

In 1892 he married Miss Camilla L. Walker, daughter of Judge L. C. and Camilla (Farquhar) Walker. Mrs. Dill died in April, 1910, the mother of two children: Dorothy, and Malcolm Howard. The son was born in 1899, and at the close of 1918 was in the artillery service at Camp Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky. In December, 1911, Mr. Dill married Mary Kinsey Hammond, daughter of Thaddeus Wright.

Source; Indiana and Indianans; Vol 4; By Jacob Piatt Dunn; 1919





The following dedication was presented to R.E. Jeffers from the Richmond, Indiana Boys & Girls Club;

Richard E. (Jeff) Jeffers came to Richmond Indiana seeking employment at age 18 in 1948. His work ethic had already been established as a young man while working in Ohio and West Virginia, when he landed a job at Wallace Metal Products. This turn of fortune set into motion a tremendous success story that would have a lasting impact on him, his family, and the Richmond, Wayne County community.

Over a 22 year period at Wallace Metal Products, Jeff worked his way up from a laborer position to eventually becoming the General Manager. In 1970, Richard and two partners opened their own business, the Carlos Casket Company in Carlos, Indiana. In 1976 he purchased the J.M. Hutton Company and in 1984 expanded the company with the purchase of the former Wallace Metal Products building. His hard work and knowledge paid off as his business grew, employing as many as 150 employees in the casket industry. Jeffs entreprenurial spirit served him well in finding profitable niches for his companies and over the years he has been involved with other successful business ventures as well.

Jeff’s large family has been a foundation in his success. They have supported his generous investments in the community and also in his business affairs. Richard E. Jeffers has made clear his intentions for the need to be proactive in enriching and supporting youth. His significant financial contributions to youth organizations and programs have often made the difference in their success. His personal time and talents have been given to organizations as a board member, contibutor and volunteer.

Jeff stated “we spend millions to incarcerate people… a little preventative medicine might be something that we should work harder on…when you’re dealing with youth, it’s vitally important that somebody step up to the plate and see that there is a facility where they can go, as safe haven where they can grow not only physically, but intellectually and spiritually.”

As a member of the board of directors, Richard E. Jeffers is a true believer in the mission of the boys and girls clubs of Wayne County,   ” to   inspire and inable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens”. His personal financial gift to the capital campaign was given in consultation with his family and with their enthusiastic support.

With much gratitude, we are proud to present to the youth of today and the future…the Richard E. Jeffers Boys and Girls Club.

The new Richard E. Jeffers Boys and Girls Club of Richmond, Indiana

Richard E. Jeffers  was hired by  Wallace Metal Products in 1949. He was promoted to Plant Supt. in 1965, and Plant Mgr. in 1967. Mr. Jeffers and  a partner purchased Wallace Metal Products in 1984. In 1967, Wallace Metal Products was the world’s largest producer of metal casket shells.


Additional Information regarding the  Hutton Family;


Advertisement c: 1865

Advertisement c: 1865

Directory from an 1865 book

Ninth & Noble Streets  later became 12th & E Streets

Jesse M. Hutton’s casket improvement of 1875

J.M. Hutton workers

The finishing crew at J.M Hutton

J.M. Hutton’s monument at Earlham Cemetery

Matthew Henry Dill’s monument at Earlham Cemetery



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