I t was Edwin Bratley (1885-1959) who began the business in Washburn, WI. He was born in Colfax, WI and moved to Washburn with his parents in 1902. He married Esther Nolander of Barksdale, WI in 1910.
In 1911 Edwin went to work for Amos Hanson of Washburn who operated a mortuary in connection with his furniture store. In 1914 he attended mortuary school in Milwaukee, WI graduating in 1915. That year Edwin moved to Bayfield, WI to manage the Amos Hanson mortuary and furniture branch there.
In 1918 Edwin moved back to Washburn and started his own funeral business. Most embalmings were done in homes at the time and funeral services were held principally in churches, so only a small building was required. In 1924 Edwin and Esther, who actively helped him in the business, purchased a larger building and he combined his funeral business with a furniture and appliances business.
Edwin also served as Bayfield County Coroner from 1929 to 1936.