Scales & Sons Funeral Home History
Scales & Sons Funeral Home is the oldest African American family-owned funeral home in Rutherford County, Tennessee. It was founded in 1916 by Henry Preston Scales and was operated by Mr. Scales and his wife, Willie Burkeen Scales. The funeral home was located in downtown Murfreesboro, TN and was named ‘H. Preston Scales Undertaker’.
The horse-drawn buggy was the only means of transportation for the funeral home in the early 1900's. It was used to go to the home of the deceased, where Henry Preston Scales picked up the body, showed pictures of caskets to the family and then took the body back to the funeral home to be embalmed. Some of the rural area homes were so far away, that Henry Preston Scales often embalmed the body in the home, spent the night with the family and then transported the body in the buggy to the church and then to the cemetery.
Money was scarce in those days, so many families paid for funerals with chickens, harvested crops or regular payments over a long period of time. Mr. Scales started the Helping Hands Mutual Burial Association with a benefit of $100.00, which would, at that time, pay for a burial robe, casket, pine box and transportation. Honest families with no wages or other forms of payment received free service from the funeral home.
Henry Preston Scales died suddenly of a heart attack in 1946 and his 20-year-old son, Robert “T-90” Scales had to leave college and come home to help his mother continue the legacy. “T-90” had grown up in the business and quickly continued the dignified, caring and helpful service that was started by his father.
This second generation, under the leadership of “T-90”, added a hearse, limousines and a station wagon to help provide service to families in several middle Tennessee counties. “T-90” managed the funeral home until 1995, when he appointed his eldest son, Robert “Bob” Scales, Jr. (who also grew up in the business) to be the general manager.
The third generation, led by “Bob” Scales, added the premier website, upgraded the rolling stock and remodeled and enlarged the funeral home. “Bob” continued the values set forth by Henry Preston Scales in 1916. On August 3, 2012, Robert “Bob” Scales passed the leadership torch of Scales and Sons Funeral Home to his daughter, Tonya Scales Haynes.
The fourth generation, led by Tonya Scales Haynes, will continue the caring tradition of Scales and Sons Funeral Home for many years to come. Along with her business partner, Pastor Derrick Jackson, Tonya is humbled to continue the legacy of Scales and Sons Funeral Home that has existed for almost a century.
Hence, it is with great pride that we show the original horse-drawn hearse in a glass- enclosed display case, outside of our funeral home. It is a constant reminder of our beginnings and serves as an inspiration for us to continue to strive for excellence when we provide funeral service to our community.
We humbly express our appreciation to you for allowing us the opportunity to serve your family with personalized, affordable and compassionate service . . . since 1916.