Neel Baucom needed more parking at the Knell Mortuary much more than he needed the small cottage that has sat near the corner of Chestnut Street and Garrison Avenue.
But he didn't want to tear down the home that once belonged to the daughter of the founder of the mortuary.
Now, thanks to Jim Woestman and Carthage artist Lowell Davis, the cottage that was home to Lucy Knell Buckwell for decades after it was built in 1921 will be restored and serve a new purpose as a guest house at Red Oak II, the community built by Davis.
Starting at 4 a.m. on Thursday, Milton and Sons Home Movers started the long process of hauling the cottage through Carthage and down the narrow county roads, escorted by police, sheriff's deputies and utility workers making sure the structure fit under utility lines, to its new home.
The cottage arrived at its new resting place shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday.
Neel Baucom said he's glad to see the house find a new purpose and he's glad he has space for more parking at his busy mortuary.
"I didn't want to tear it down," Baucom said. "But it got to the point where I was going to have to rewire it and re-plumb it and by the time I did all that, I'd just have another rental. I didn't need another rental, I needed parking spaces."
Baucom said former Carthage Mayor Woestman solved his dilemma when he offered to take the house off Baucom's hands.
"When he approached me about buying the house, he said he would move it out to Red Oak II and they would call it the Knell House," Baucom said. "I decided that was a pretty good place for the house to go."
Baucom said the Knell family built the small cottage for Lucy Knell Buckwell, who had left Carthage after getting married, but returned to Carthage after her husband died in 1920.
Lucy was born on April 17, 1883 and was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Knell. Her father founded the Knell Mortuary and was the first licensed embalmer in Jasper County.
According to her obituary, published in The Carthage Press on Dec. 1, 1973, Lucy Knell graduated from the Carthage Collegiate Institute, which was located where Mark Twain School is now, and married George Buckwell in 1908 in Carthage. They lived in Carthage for a few years, then moved to Jefferson City and then to Kansas City.
George Buckwell died in 1920 and Lucy returned to Carthage and joined the family business. She and her sister, Emma Knell, were the only female embalmers in Jasper County at the time.
Baucom said when Lucy moved back to Carthage, the family built the cottage, at 320 W. Centennial on the west end of the Knell Mortuary and Knell family complex in the 300 block of Chestnut, for her in 1921.
Page 2 of 2 - She was active in the business until 1949 when she sold her interest to her nephews. She lived in the cottage until six months before her death on Dec. 1, 1973 at the age of 90, the obituary reads.