Culver Monument Co.
In 1871, at the age of 19, James S. Culver founded a stone business in Taylorville, IL which furnished and carved tombstones. It was known as James S. Culver & Co. and later as Culver Marble & Granite Works. John H. Culver joined his brothers company in 1875 and became Superintendent of the company. The Taylorville shop was originally located one block South of the square.
One of the first tombstones James Culver did was for his cousin Hattie Culver. He engraved a poem on the stone and signed it with J.S. Culver & Co. Taylorville, Ill.
In 1878 James Culver opened an office in Shelbyville. By 1880 he had an office on the square in Taylorville. He added branch offices in Virden and Litchfield in 1881, Virginia in 1882 and Springfield in 1884. He was determined to be not only the best dealer in Central Illinois, but the only dealer.
John H. Culver, who had left the company in 1880 to teach school near Decatur, returned to the business in 1886, and was involved in the monument part of the company while James focused on supplying stone for building projects.
In 1886 all branches were consolidated to Springfield, where John and his wife had moved, due to the rail facilities and business opportunities. The shop was located at 216 N. 5th St. James began to do construction work, such as curbing and marble tile floor work. The monument portion of the business had been turned over to John, who believed Decatur was a good place to do business. In 1889 he opened Culver Monument Works at the Southeast corner of the park. They were known for having impressive displays in their showroom and they shipped monuments throughout the country. In November of 1890 Culver Monument Works moved into the Perl building on S. Main St.
An employee of Culver Monument Works, John Rainey, of Forsyth, purchased an interest in the company in June of 1891. He had been a traveling salesman for the company for the past year. This was just two years after the company opened in Decatur, and they had already built a reputation of being the finest monument company in the area. They employed 16 men and four traveling and six local salesmen. The Culver Monument Works made changes in September of 1891 and was incorporated under the name of The Culver Monument Company with a capital stock of $15,000. The other investors were J.M. Willard of Harristown, J.H. Rainey of Forsyth, and J.S. Culver of Springfield. Culver often traveled for the company to purchase stock from marble and granite quarries, and trips included Boston, Montpelier, and Concord.
John H. Culver formed an electric company in early 1892. After some difficulties with a business partner, he and others formed a new company in October of 1892. He retired from the active management of the marble company in July of 1893 to focus on the electric company.