The Early History of Cremation in the US and Where It Is Now

The Early History of Cremation in the US and Where It Is Now

The practice of cremation dates back centuries, and its history in the United States is long. If you are unaware of what cremation is, it is the process of reducing a deceased person’s body to ash, bone fragments, and other particles through the use of intense heat. It is an ancient form of body disposal and is often chosen over traditional burials due to its lower cost and environmental impact. Cremation is also a popular choice for those of certain religious beliefs who prefer to have their remains disposed of in a specific way.

That being said, cremations have been used in the US since the early 1800s and have become increasingly popular over time. And today, they’re quite a popular way to treat a deceased individual. If you’re interested to learn all about the history of cremation in the US, thanks to the popularity increase, you’re in the right place. Here’s all about the early history of cremation and what it is like today:

Early History of Cremation in the US

The first recorded cremation in the United States was in 1876 when Henry Laurens was cremated in Charleston, South Carolina. While the practice was still relatively rare, it began to gain traction in the late 1800s, driven by an increased interest in cremation among the wealthier classes in America.

The Cremation Society of America was founded in 1876 with the goal of promoting the practice of cremation. The society was met with resistance from the Catholic Church and other religious organizations, which deemed the practice to be immoral. Despite this, the number of cremations steadily increased over the next few decades until the first dedicated crematorium was opened in 1884 in Washington, DC.

Growth of Cremation in the 20th Century

During the early twentieth century, cremation continued to grow steadily, with the first official cremation laws being passed in the 1910s. By the 1950s, the number of cremations had increased significantly, and the practice had become much more accepted by the general public.

In the 1960s, the development of modern cremation technology helped to spur even more growth in the practice. This technology allowed for more efficient and affordable cremations, making it more accessible to the general public. By the 1970s, cremations had surpassed traditional burials in popularity, and the number of cremations had grown exponentially.

Modern Day Cremations

Today, cremations are the most popular form of final disposition in the US. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, over 50% of all funerals in the US involve cremation, and this number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

Cremations are now much more accepted by religious organizations, and many religious faiths now have guidelines and ceremonies to accompany the practice. This has made cremations even more popular, as many families now have the opportunity to have a religious ceremony along with their loved one’s cremation.


Overall, the history of cremations in the US is a long one, and the practice has evolved significantly over time. What began as a small and controversial practice has grown to become the most popular form of final disposition in the US. Today, cremations are more accepted and have more religious guidelines than ever before, making them an increasingly popular choice for families.

Evergreen JAX is a crematory and funeral home offering combined services to help families save costs by allowing all arrangements to be made in one location. If you are looking for affordable cremation services in Jacksonville, get in touch with us today.

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