Bio: Greenwood, Wisconsin Band (1906)

Contact: Arlene Peil
Email: rpeil@charter.net

Surnames: Miller, Tripp, Burns, White, Stewart, Stevens, Johnson, Johnston, Judge, Burch

----Sources: Greenwood Gleaner (5 Apr 1906)

Tacoma, Wash., March 28, 1906. Dear Friend "Noise": -- I note in the last issue of your paper you are about to publish a history of the Greenwood Band and this will not be a little interesting to at least one of your readers who has strayed away from the old "camp" and been lost in the "wild and wooly."

This brings one back (in thought) to the addition of Charley Tripp to the city. It was a curious crowd of youngsters that hung around "Stonie’s" all forenoon to watch "the new barber" shave the first man, which happened to be Otto Burns. We had all become used to "H_______ Bills" jig and "Stonie’s" monotonous stropping, and Charley introduced a few new movements which at once marked him as the "best ever." He had been there but a short time when we heard him speak of the magic name of "Judge" and we were not satisfied until we had seen this wonder. A few meetings and the organization was complete with about 25 members. Then the instruments came and I believe the first meeting was in the office of "The Baron" down at the old stave factory and it was very well for the organization we got so far from town. Also the people. And if the Angel Gabriel did not turn over in his grave that night, there is nothing that will ever disturb him. I cannot yet think of the incongruous noises that emanated from that building without a shudder.

But the worst was yet to come. The next day I was helping father down near the river and Herp White, Dave Stewart and a couple others got on top of White’s house with a couple of slide trombones and a cornet and played exactly one thousand and one times that old strain. It was a still day and this recollection brings another shudder.

There was but one member, Tripp, that knew a note from a horse fly when seen together and I even knew him to play a horse fly that lit on his music as a blast note in the middle of a "PP" solo.

Among the most prominent members was "Butch." He was the only stand-by of the whole proposition. Henry came in for a share as also did Volk. Then there was "Buster" Stevens on the bass drum. How well he and this instrument blended. It was music to see them together, they fit so. Then there was little "Bennie" Johnson. I understand Bennie has of late taken unto himself a wife. Well Bennie must have grown some since then and his wife don’t know how near she came never to seeing him as we all remember the night Tripp set his bass horn down and it accidentally was put over Bennie whom he did not see. He nearly smothered before some one took it up. Then "Patsy" Johnston came in for no small share. He was, however, the extreme limit in several ways. My vocabulary is shy of sufficient epithets to do him justice.

Of all bunches ever gotten together I believe this was the limit.

I have heard of the patience of Job but John Judge had him skinned a mile.

I believe the band was organized in April about 12 years ago. This was within three months of the "glorious" Fourth. We had the nerve to pull finance committee for $50.00 and how we managed to pull through that eventful day, piloting the givernor from the depot and performing numerous other stunts, has always been a mystery to me.

But the fact remains, we did it and got the "stuff" which was the main thing.

Once started the thing went along pretty well. There were times when it seemed possible we would have to give it up, but "Old Pete" the foremost "Soldier of the Common Good" your, or any other city ever saw, was on hand to lend great assistance, and managed some way to keep it going until a few years Greenwood was famous for it’s band and there were few towns in the state four times it’s size that could boast of one half as good. I presume few of the charter members are still with it.

There are four of them in this state and many others scattered all over the country but the band remains a fitting monument for the undertaking.

There must be some of the old original pictures taken in front of the Burch house on that memorable fourth morning which would look very well in the paper in connection with the history.

Yours, -- Lynn H. Miller

 

 


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