Renee, I was so intrigued by your story about H.G. Pannell, I went to 1870 Census records to see if he survived his ordeal.Indeed he did.He is listed in Harris Co., TX, Houston, ward 3, page 554A as Hugh G. Pannell aged 59 Undertaker born VA.His wife was Sarah A. 40 born TX, his children all born TX, Reid Flint 24 cabinet maker, Lizzie 14, Andrew J. 12, Alice V. 9, Cora 8, Sadie W. 3, Ida C. 1.
Also, I found him in 1860 Harris Co. TX, Houston, ward 3 page 418A listed as H.G. Pannell 48 cabinetmaker.He probably made wooden coffins as well as sold the special metal ones you mentioned.
Thanks for a great story.Your fellow Pannell collector.