Source: Mike McKee's article on undertaking.  See N.Manchester>Undertakers.  READ MORE.


 Henry Ogden (b.1823-d.1911) son of Pleasant Township pioneer Elihue Ogden, is said to have been a cabinet maker and later handled coffins and funeral furnishings.  He came to Wabash County in 1839 and settled in Laketon around 1850.  His coffins were made of walnut and he bought velvet in North Manchester for the inner lining.  He is recognized as an undertaker in the 1882 county directory.  Sometime around the turn of the 20th century, along with Loren O. Wertenberger (b.1875-d.1966), Ogden & Wertenberger Undertaking Co.  was established.  Henry Ogden died May 27, 1911 and is buried in Laketon Cemetery.

 In 1919, Mr. Wertenberger and his son-in-law Ralph Vories, established Wertenberger-Vories Funeral Home.  It was located downtown probably the same location as Ogden & Wertenberger and in 1923 was moved to Lake and Potawatomi streets in Laketon. Ralph Vories entered military service in June 1944 and business was temporarily suspended until his return in 1947.  Mr. Wertenberger, more fondly known as “Kernie” is said to have been a kind and courteous man.  At one time he was in the hardware business with Howard W. Rager and in 1926 sold his portion to Robert Fulton.  A musician, he and his wife Mae with daughters Deloris, Maxine and Marjorie, performed with their small orchestra in the local churches.  For many years he served as conductor of the Laketon Band.  Also a dog trainer, Kernie had several terriers that put on shows for the local citizens in Laketon. 

 His undertaking parlor was equipped with small living quarters, preparation room and later a large room for the display of caskets was added to the south end of the building.  The parlor was seldom used during this period of time for visitations were still being held in the family home.  He had a black hearse which he kept for many years.  The Wertenberger family residence was the first house east of the funeral parlor which Mr. Wertenberger had built new.  Laketon native Charles Moyer worked under Kernie Wertenberger and later established his own funeral home in Akron, Indiana.  They remained life long friends and when Mr. Wertenberger died in 1966 at the age of 91, Charlie Moyer was called to have charge of the funeral.

 L.O. Wertenberger & his first motorized hearse in 1925  in front of Laketon Harware Store

L. O. Wertenberger in front of the Laketon Hardware store with his first motorized hearse in 1925