Dance to the Music - August 2013


Greenfield is known for its famed literature and art but Greenfield has also had a great music heritage. In this month's addition we will explore a sometimes overlooked talent amongst our citizens.

The music in Indiana was strongly influenced by a large number of German and Irish immigrants who arrived in the 1830's.

Indiana was one of the first places where jazz music became popular outside of New Orleans and Chicago. In the late 1910s and through the 1920s the state had numerous bands of young musicians playing the new style for dancing.

Richmond, Indiana was home to the Gennett Records, known for recording a wealth of jazz, blues, and country music in the 1920s.

Among the early music teachers in the county were Miss Lucinda Morley, Miss Emma Milliken, Fannie Martin and Nancie V. Lockwood. They were all piano teachers. The first two probably taught at Greenfield as early as 1850. Miss Morley probably brought to town a piano of her own, since there were then very few such instruments in the homes of the people at that time. Among the first families to have such an instrument in the county were John Myers, Thomas D. Walpole, Dr. N. P. Howard and Samuel Longnaker. Miss Martin and Miss Lockwood had charge of the musical department in the old Greenfield Academy during the latter 1850's and early 1860's.

About the same time, during the latter 1850's, Prof. L.W. Eastman also came to Greenfield as an instructor of bands and orchestras. The first bands organized in the county were the Men's Saxhorn Band and the Ladies' Saxhorn Band in Greenfield. These bands were both under the direction of Professor Eastman. The first saxhorn band was organized by Thomas Offutt and William E. Hart, about 1857. This is the band referred to by Riley as the "old band." It was composed of the following members: L. W. Eastman – E-flat cornet; William Lindsey – tuba; Nathan Snow – second tenor; S. War Bennett – first tenor; Nathaniel C. Meek – first alto; William E. Hard – B-flat cornet; Thomas Richardson – second alto; Thomas Offutt – B bass; William E. Ogg – third tenor; John A. Riley – bass drum.

John Riley may have been rather young to be included as a charter member but it is known that he played with them soon after their organization. Other members were taken into the band of the Eighteenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers. The report of Adjutant-General Terrell shows that at the time of enlistment the band was composed of Omer Arnold, Samuel W. Barnett, F.M. Crawford, James E. Cravens, James H. Crowder, William Elliott, Albert C. Griffith, William E. Hart, John W. Lambertson, Edwin M. McCrarey, Samuel M. Martin, John H. Noble, William L. Ogg, martin E. Pierson, Thomas E. Richardson, James T. Reed, Henry T. Snow, Nathan Snow, James F. Stewart, Alfred M. Thornburgh and David Youst. The boys were honorably discharged in the fall of 1862, and on their return home were given a hearty welcome at the Dunbar corner by the citizens of Greenfield. The Dunbar corner was the northeast corner of Main and State Streets where the Randall building stands.

In 1859 a ladies' saxhorn band was also organized, composed of the following ladies: Laura Guymon, Ella Mathers, Nellie Milliken, Luna Meek, Fannie Martin, Flora Howard and Alice Thomas. This band seems to have played but a few years. It took part in concerts that were given at Greenfield.

The Greenfield Cornet Band was organized in 1865. This band played together until 1874 when several members branched off and started their own ventures. No records were kept by the group and names of the original members are unknown. Some new members kept the band going and in 1882 a list of these musicians were listed as members of the band: Isaac R. Davis, Thomas Carr, John Daves, Charles Daves, Abijah Davis, Penn Bidgood, Geatano Ponti, Quinn Johnson, Frank Barr and Charles Carter. They reported their status as having uniforms and supplied with good instruments.

In 1868, during the political campaign, a band was organized of the older players, including also a number of younger musicians, which called themselves the Adelphians. This band was composed of the following members: James Cox, William Davis, Ed Milliken, War Barnett, Thomas Carr, Charles Warner, Jesse Milliken, Isaac Davis, John Davis, John Guymon, Fred Hafner, Emsley Wilson, Hiram Riley and John Riley.

Thomas Carr – Adelphian Band Member

The band was reported to have good equipment, uniforms and a band wagon. The band wagon was made by Joe Cartwright in a shop that stood at the northwest corner of Nobel and Main Streets. In addition to the players named above, James Whitcomb Riley, Clint Hamilton and Fred Beecher occasionally played. Riley and current mayor at the time, Quin Johnson, had the snare drum for a time. Charles Warner, and old German shoemaker, at first carried the bass drum, after which it was taken by Quin Johnson. After a season with the bass drum, the mayor took the snare drum and played it for a number of years in the bands that followed. This band played for almost ten years.


The Adelphian Band Wagon

 In 1871 a number of younger boys organized a band known as the Citizens Band. At first they called themselves the Juniors, but later a constitution and by-laws were adopted and placed on record in the office of the county recorder of Hancock County, on October 20, 1871. The members of the new organization, as shown by the record, were J.R.P. Johnson, James H. Danner, Hiram Kern, Peter Johnson, W.E. Willett, J.B. Rains, J.Q. Johnson, E.B Shumway, J.M. Chappius, B.F. Barr and H.G. Amick. This band was the first to purchase a set of upright instruments. The older bands had all used the "over shoulder" horns.

The boys played for awhile under the direction of Dewitt Sivey, Isaac Davis and probably others. After two or three years, the Citizens Band and the Adelphians were merged and were known as the Adelphians. This was probably about 1874. The band then played for several years and gradually became known as the Davis Band.
Around the 1880's the Davis Band was composed of Isaac R. Davis, Thomas Carr, John Davis, Charles Davis, Abijah Davis, Penn Bidgood, Geatano Ponti, Quin Johns and Frank Barr.

Isaac R. Davis, the leader of this band, was an accomplished musician but was not only the leader of the Greenfield Band for a number of years, but was a band teacher, and instructed a number of the best bands in central Indiana. His home band, as well as the New Palestine Band, which he taught, and others, played during several seasons of the Indiana State Fair. One need but refer to the histories of the band in the county to appreciate his influence in the development of musical talent among the young men during the 1870's and 1880's.
In 1884, a "Democrat Band" was organized, largely through the efforts of William M. Lewis. It was organized for campaign purposes and included the following members; Asa New, William Wright, George Mitchell, John Johnson, James W. Wilson, William Stewart, Joe Darymple, Walter Scott, Dewitt Sivey and Jeff Cox. The band played through the campaign of 1884, though reorganization was probably effected before the campaign closed. Either gradually, or after reorganization, the band became known as the Sivey's Band.

Dewitt Sivey was the leader and organizer of the band, and at different times it was known as "Sivey's Band", "Sively's National Band" and as the "Citizens Band." Among the members who played in the band at different times were: Ed Sivey, J.W. Wilson, Will Carr, William Wright, Emory Scott, Jeff Cox, Elsworth Goble, William Stewart, Ed Tague, Charles Nigh, William Gordon, Homer Carr and probably others. On August 19, 1884, James W. Wilson presented the band a banner, made of blue silk and bound with heavy gold fringe. Gold tassels were artistically arranged at the corners. On the front of the banner was inscribed "The Greenfield Cornet Band." On the other side was a collection of musical instruments in gold leaf. To the banner was pinned a gold Maltese cross with the following inscription: "Presented to the Citizens Band by J. W. Wilson, August 19, 1884." The banner was presented by Mr. Wilson. This banner was carried by the band for a number of years. Boy I'd sure like to find that banner at an auction or old storage trunk!

In the meantime, about the middle of the 1880's, a third band was organized, known as the Dobbins Band. Among its members were Charles Williams, Emanuel and John Dobbins, Jeff Cox, William Shumway, Ed Jackson, Ed Tague, John Hafner, William Tully, Charles Nigh and I'm sure others. This band played less than a year, but during its existence there were three bands in Greenfield; The Davis Band, the Sivey Band and the Dobbins Band. After the Dobbins Band quit playing, the Davis Band and the Sivey Band remained as separate organizations until 1889, when their remaining members consolidated. During the existence of both bands there was a great deal of rivalry, not always friendly.

About 1894 or 1895 eight or ten boys in the vicinity of the Independence school organized a band. It played for several years when the organization was dropped. About 1902 the Independence cornet band was organized under the leadership of Alber Frost. It consisted of the following members: Albert Frost, Rufus Temple, Eugene Short, Vernice Fuller, Ira Fuller, Frank Jones, Charles Shipley, Earle Frost, Raymond Wilson, Ralph Fisk, Joe Bundy, Frank Martindale, Bert Orr, Charles Sipe, Edward Sipe, Von Glascock, Sam Boyd and Earl Martin. This band played together until 1904 when several members moved away and the others ceased playing.

William R. White became the leader of a new band called the Red Men's Band. Among its members were William Carr, Emory Scott, William Stewart, Alvin Johnson, Charles Millicent, William Jones, William Gordon, Omer Gordon, William Offutt, John Felt, and J. Ward Fletcher. This band played together until about 1897, when reorganization took place under the name of the Greenfield Military Band.

The Greenfield Military Band leader was also William R. White since about 1894 and was the leader into the 1900's. Band members were: William R. White, Aubrey M. Thomas, William Niles, Von Glascock, Albert Frost, Elmer Gorman, Noble Curry, Homer Carr, William Gordon, Will Lamberson, William Jones, William Carr, William White, Charles Davis, Carl Brand, Dora Jefferies, Jesse Warrum, Malcolm Hancock, John Davis, Arthur Rafferty, Fritx Bidgood, J. Ward Fletcher, Frank Craft, merle Glascock, Fred Niles, Charles Gilson, Marvin Fletcher, Samuel Moore, Samuel Trueblood, noble Howard, Earle Frost, Charles Wisehart, Charles Rucker, Jesse Rucker, Henry Rucker, Virgil Wheeler, Thomas Moxley, Albert Barnard, James Barnard, Joe Reedle, George J. Richman, Emory Scott, Berry Willis Cooper, Berlin Dieter.

Of the above, Carl Brand, a grandson of Isaac R. Davis, has achieved distinction as a clarinet player. He was the leader of the Indiana University Band, which was selected as the regimental band for the Second Regiment, Indiana National Guard.

In addition to the above named bands, Professor Mack, the supervisor of music in the Greenfield Schools, organized a band about 1895-96, which , however, played only a few months. He also organized a cadet band among the high school boys, which played for awhile, about 1897.

The Maxwell Cornet Band was organized in Maxwell around 1903 and played with a changing membership for six or seven years. The band was at first under the eldership of Lewis Thieman, later under the leadership of Lewis Monroe, and finally under Ed Duckett. Among the boys who played in the band for a series of years were the following: Charley Shipley, Earl Martin, Earle Frost, Bob Dorman, and Fred Gant, harry Chambers, Tracy Clark, Bynum Jackson, Ed Duckett, Ben Bachlett, Lewis Thieman, John Burke, Lewis Monroe, Charles Stanton and Earl Duckett. This band although was not out of Greenfield they are within Center Township so I thought I would include them.
The Davis boys also had an orchestra at different times during the 1870's and 1880's. About 1903, William R. White organized an orchestra composed of the following members: Samuel J. Offutt, John Rhue, Albert Frost, William Niles, Von Glascock, William Carr, Fritz Bidgood, Bynum Jackson, George and Oscar Suess, Hugh Johnson and J. Ward Fletcher. The organization was kept intact for five or six years, and from 1903 to 1907 played for practically all the common and high school commencements in the county.


Great photo of the Greenfield Band wagon.

The American Legion Hancock Post 119 organized a Drum and Bugle Corps in 1931. It disbanded in 1943 during WWII. This picture was taken in front of the Memorial Building on North Street.


Pauline Troyer Banks was born on August 5, 1892 in St. Paul, Indiana. Her father was a traveling Methodist minister and Civil War veteran. The family eventually made its way to Hancock County. By age nine Pauline could play all Chopin recitals memory. She study piano for many years. In the eighth grade she wrote her first song. In high school she would write several cantatas.

She would go on to graduate from Normal College and become a teacher. She didn't stray far from music. Not only could she play piano but she had a beautiful soprano voice. She was also a "stage door Johnny" at several theaters throughout the area. She continued to write music and would share her songs with the artist she would meet while working at the theaters. Several took real interest in her songs including Swiss pianist and composer, Rudolph Ganz.

She would also become friends with Louise Homer, the famous contralto with the Metropolitan Opera Company. She was married to a composer, and was the aunt of a composer. Pauline would go on to marry Elijah Russell Banks who was a fine clarinetist and had played for over twenty years on the Chautauqua Redpath Circuit with the Krill's Band.

Pauline wanted to combine her love for teaching with her love for music so she developed a method for teaching songs of many nations around the world, including short descriptions of the country, the people, and their language working this into a world friendship system by way of concert-lectures for schools. This would promote good feeling toward foreign nations, and promote friendship in the world. This required a high quality combination of intelligence, musical experience, and lovely voice, personality and ability to speak well, all of which Pauline had. She was asked to travel the state to give her performances singing her songs in French, Italian and German.

Pauline taught at many schools throughout her career. She taught at school #51 in Brightwood, then #7, #47, and last #22. She was such a good teacher that she was asked to teach at Indiana Central College giving instructions to future teachers. She would go on to develop a series of books, the first being "Direct Approach to Reading and Spelling." She would go on to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Butler University. She would continue to teach kids well into her 90's. Pauline died on November 30, 1990 at the age of 91. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Pauline had a daughter named Mercedes Russow. There was much to be expected from Mercedes. She attended the Jordan School of Music and graduated in 1911 from the State University of New York with a degree in Music Education. She was certified to teach in both Indiana and New York. She started out as a correspondent for the "Buffalo Evening News" and Music Critic for the "Hamburg Sun."

In the 1940's she was a vocalist at the Columbia Club and had her own network radio program coast to coast on Mutual Broadcasting. In the 1950's and '60's she played violin with the Orchard Park (New York) Symphony for eight years. She was also a soprano soloist with the symphony. In 1958-1959, she won the Mrs. New York State contest.

She could sing in French, German, Italian and some Spanish. I wonder where she learned to do that? She moved back to Hancock County and began teaching with her mother. In 1989 she taught seminars in Phonetic Analysis to teachers at Butler University. She was on the tutorial staff at IUPUI. She formed a company, Direct Approach Methods, LLC, which she learned from her mother.

Mercedes wrote the 50th Anniversary song for Kenworthy Educational Service, the official Blue Cross song, and a song for honoring Mr. J.K. Lilly for his collecting Stephen Foster memorabilia and building the Foster Memorial in Pittsburgh.

I wrote in depth about the two ladies because I had the pleasure on several occasion to witness Mercedes performances. She was a member of the Hancock County Historical Society and would attend meetings regularly. At the end of each meeting she would bring the piano or organ in the Chapel in the Park to life. I was truly amazed that she could create such a sound out of those instruments. The first several times I heard her play I had no idea of her musical background but I quickly learned.


Mercedes prior to a performance with the Buffalo Philharmonic Pops Concert (1963)

As music began to evolve many other bands were formed. Today with country, rock, blues, jazz etc. many types of bands exist. Many of them were unknown due to lack of advertisement. The Brandywine Wind and the Community Choir and school bands are our closes forms of these early types of bands that would still exist. I'm sure there's more. It's also always fun to attend the County Fair and enjoy the music of local talent in the Pioneer Building.

The Brandywine Wind is a community orchestra that was formed by Jerry Bell in 2006. Mr. Bell is a retired band director of the Greenfield-Central School Corp. They perform both concert band and Jazz ensembles. The Wind performs various concerts throughout the community. The same can be said for the community choir.
The entertainment on the plaza is also a great place to catch some entertainment. We also have several festivals, fundraisers activities and venues that support local music.

There were several bands that were organized in other communities in Hancock County that helped set the foundation for our county's musical interest. I thought about not including the names of the members of these bands thinking in might take up too much space but the more I thought about it I went ahead and included them. They could be a relative or a friend or neighbors name that you might recognize. Another reason that I decided to include them was because if you notice several names appear in different bands. Families were also very active in one or more bands. So I found that interesting.

So if you are ever digging through an old trunk or bidding at an auction keep your eyes peeled for a banner, sign or instrument that might have come from one of these groups. They would make for an awesome display piece. Music is a beautiful hobby but even if you can't play an instrument I would encourage everyone to take time to catch a performance of our local artist and enjoy dancing to the music.


Greg Roland

More Greenfield History

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