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Charles Mansuer Epply
FROM the days of the Egyptian mummies, when the old
Pharaohs were embalmed, to the present time, this science—embalming—has gone through various stages
of development; but it is doubtful if it is any better
done to-day than when the body of the great Rameses was prepared for the tomb; for the student of history finds that the ancients knew many things which we, in this cycle of our boasted advanced civilization, do not know, the "lost arts" being a theme which has engaged much thought by moderns. In various museums, notably the British and the Smithsonian, mummies are to be seen which have withstood the ravages of many thousands of years. The manner of laying away the dead has differed widely in different ages and nations. The ancients preferred sepulchres hewn from solid rock; some were buried in upright positions, some with their heads to the east, others to the west. We read of the Hindus casting their dead into the Ganges River, of bodies being deposited in trees by the Indians of North America and the natives of Africa. It was once the desire to so prepare the body that it would retain its material form forever; now it is the wish of many that this house of clay shall be dissolved as quickly as possible after it has been cast aside by the inscrutable something we call spirit or soul; hence cremation is now a well-established business. The universal civilized manner of burial demands skill of a high order, and so in every city and town in Christendom we find under-takers and embalmers. One of the most adroit, learned, and suc-cessful, as well as best known and popular of those who, during a past generation, engaged in this line of endeavor in the city of Cincinnati, was the late Charles Mansuer Epply, whose experience of half a century entitled him to a position in the front rank of funeral directors and embalmers in Ohio. But not alone in a pro-fessional and business way will he be remembered, but also be-cause he was a broad-minded and useful citizen and a man of rare and commendable qualities, which entitled him to the high esteem in which he was universally held.
Mr. Epply was born in the city and State mentioned in the preceding paragraph, November 30, 1848, and he was a son of John P. and Mary Belle (Mansuer) Epply. He was educated in the public schools and Chickering School in his native city, where he grew to manhood, being graduated from the Chickering insti-tution at an early age. His father was engaged in the undertaking business in Cincinnati, and when only thirteen years of age, our subject began working under him in his establishment and made rapid progress in learning the business, which was done under difficulties, for the work was hard and the father a severe and exacting man; but young Epply was courageous and ambitious and stuck to his work until he became proficient. He saved his money, living more economically than most boys, and, about 1880, went into the undertaking business on his own account at Peebles Corner, Walnut Hills, now a part of Cincinnati. He deserved the success which came to him with advancing years, for he was indeed a self-made man, having received no financial or other aid from any source. By hard work, perseverance, close application, and genuine Anglo-Saxon grit, he gradually became one of the foremost men in his line of endeavor in the State. Owing to his unquestioned integrity and pleasing personal address, he has an extensive and important acquaintance among the best people of Ohio, all recognizing his cleverness, honesty, and genuine worth. He was for a long period one of the most popular men in Cincinnati, all who knew him delighting in his friendship and proud of their acquaintance with him. He was not only a companionable and genteel gentleman but was kind-hearted and charitable, al-way doing good deeds, helping those in distress and scattering sunshine along life's broad highway. He remained a deep student of all that pertained to his work, and he maintained one of the most modernly appointed and completely equipped embalming establishments in the Middle West, and was very successful from a financial standpoint. His business was conducted under a superb system, regulated like a clock of finest workmanship—everything always running smoothly.
Mr. Epply was one of the prominent and influential Masons of his State. He attained the thirty-second degree in that time-honored order, and belonged to the Knights Templars and the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His every-day life indicated that he endeavored to live up to the high precepts of these orders. He was a member of the Queen City Club and the Walnut Hills Business Club, and was a director in the Walnut Hills Savings and Trust Company. For a period of fifteen years, he presided and gave the thirtieth degree of Scottish Rite. He was a man of rare executive ability, and was regarded as one of the progressive business men of Cincinnati during his long residence there, remaining in one location for a period of thirty-five years. He was a man of clean character, honorable, and withal broad-minded. He enjoyed telling and listening to good, clean jokes, and was a companionable and sociable gentleman. No man ever had a purer moral nature. He had a keen intellect, and all knew him delighted in his company, his closest friends regarding him as a remarkable character. He enjoyed the friendship of the best people, whose homes were always open to him throughout Hamilton County and other portions of Ohio, in fact, wherever he was known. Although he gave liberally to charity, it was always in a quiet and unobtrusive way, never for display. He was a great lover of his home, and his domestic life was ideal in every respect. When it was necessary for him to leave home, he took his wife with him when possible; they were boon companions, mutually helpful and sympathetic. He was of gentle nature, very refined character, uniformly courteous, kind and considerate of the feelings and welfare of others. His countenance was smiling, jovial, and always that of a genuinely spiritual man, one whose walk was upright and God-ward. He was a great reader and student and became an exceptionally
intellectual man, well informed on all topics and themes of gen interest and importance, and he was an interesting and brilliant conversationalist.
Mr. Epply was married June 12, 1902, in Cincinnati, to Alice von Phul, Rev. Hugo Esenlohr performing the ceremony. She is a lady of education and culture, and has always been popular with a wide circle of friends, the best people of southern Ohio. She is a daughter of Henry von Phul and Ester A. (Powell) von Phul. Her mother was a sister of Gen. Thomas Powell, former attorney-general of Ohio, also a sister of William H. Powell, the famous painter. Mrs. Epply is related to the Beakley and Livingstone families, both famous during Revolutionary times, members of which fought under Washington, by virtue of which fact Mrs. Epply is eligible to membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she joined the local chapter a number of years ago. Mr. Epply was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, his progenitors also having fought for liberty in the Colonial army. Mrs. Epply had two sisters and three brothers, named as follows: Sarah Livingston married David T. Disney, a son of former United States Senator Disney, of Ohio; Amy Longworth married William Lee Bird, now deceased, but she is living in Indianapolis, Indiana; George Beakley is deceased; William is deceased; Clarence lives in Chicago, Illinois.
Mrs. Epply is of English ancestry, as was also her husband. Her great-grandfather was General Goff, a noted officer of the Prussian army, and great credit was given him for teaching the German army of his day how to swim. Mrs. Epply was very active in charity work up to a few years ago. She cared for and educated Mary Louise Bird who married a relative of Senator Elkins, of West Virginia. She and Mr. Epply also reared and cared for Alice V. P. Wood and Thomas H. Wood, whose parents were deceased. They are great-grandchildren of the late Dr. Thomas Wood, founder of the Ohio Medical College of Cincinnati, one of the oldest and best known institutions of its kind in America.
The death of Charles M. Epply occurred September 16, 1915, when nearly sixty-seven years of age. His loss was keenly felt by the people of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, who will long revere his memory, for he was truly a useful, successful, and lovable citizen—a man among men.
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