Monday, May 25, 2009

George Lawrence Stone's Column in 1919 Jacob's Band Monthly Discusses a cache of 27 Eagle Drums

W. Lee Vinson of the Boston Philharmonic was kind enough to bring the below linked article to our attention recently.

1919JacobsBandMonthly.pdf

A complete searchable transcription will be published here shortly. George Lawrence Stone, a recognized Boston-area drum and drumming expert, apparently published a regular column called "The Drummer" in Jacob's Band Monthly. This column from the October 1919 edition mentions his own "collection of historical drums" as well as the acquisition of "one of the famous 'Old Eagle' Civil War Drums".

Stone notes that his drum came from a lot that had been used in the Vermont Regiments during the Civil War. "After the demobilization of the troops at the end of the war, a lot of 'Old Eagles'[,] twenty-seven in number, were turned in to the arsenal. Being in varied states of repair, they were later condemned and sold at auction and nothing more was heard of them until fifty years later, when they were discovered hidden away in the dust and dirt of an old loft over a blacksmith's shop in Vermont by Mr. [Sherman N.] Parker ...."

The inscription inside the shell of Stone's drums is:

Manufactured by
A. Rogers
Flushing L.I.

Of note is a letter from Parker who raves about the tone of the drum ("the greatest toned drum I have ever heard") and notes that the counterhoops were drilled. Only the drum sent to Stone had a snare strainer ("an old style hand-forged snare stainer made of iron and tightened with a screw driver"). "The orignial way was just a few rawhide thongs with no way but your own hands to pull them up."

In a clipping published with the column, the drums are said to have been "the well known Whellock & Dawley collection of 18 snare drums that saw service in the Rebellion."

"Painted in a pigment of unmistakable colors on each drum are the national colors, and the belligerant eagle whence is derived the name of the drum."

"Mr. Parker has generously offered to place one of the drums in the historical room at the Barre City Hall, and some of the other drums will doubtless find their way into historical collections of some sort." [Does the Barre City Hall still have one of the drums?]

Others are reported to have gone to the Montpelier Military Band and to Sherman's Band in Burlington.

The article is accompanied by advertisements for Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co. (Brooklyn, NY), Ludwig & Ludwig (Chicago, IL), Carl Fischer (New York, NY), Dodge Drum School's "Elements of Rhythmic and Tonal Notation", Walberg & Auge (Worcester, MA) and, of course, George B. Stone & Son (Boston, MA).

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