A Girls Band from Mount Gilead, Ohio
29 January 2011
Posted by Mike Brubaker
This cabinet card photo of a Ladies Band comes from Mount Gilead, Ohio, a small village just north of Columbus. It may have been promotional material for advertising the band, as it looks like a professional group, but there are no names attached. The girls wear trim military-like dresses with matching hats. The man on the right, undoubtedly the leader, sports a fancy embroidered coat but a hat that seems one size too small. My guess is that the girl next to him is his daughter. Compare this band to Mr. Gierk's Ladies Band. Ladies Band of Richmond, MI
As brass bands go, it is pretty small with only 6 brass instruments and two drummers. The girls hold piston valve instruments, which are probably a matched set. But the bandleader holds a high pitch solo cornet - a side action rotary valve cornet in Eb, which was a style popular in 1860-1870s. You can find a similar one here at the National Music Museum. Pollmann SARV Cornet
The 1880 US Census for Mount Gilead lists Theo. Brown photographer, age 33 with wife Anna Brown, age 22. A photographer of the same name appears also in the 1870 census, but for Mt. Vernon, Ohio, which is in the next county just east. There are no census records found for this particular Theodore Brown for 1890 or 1900. But it seems safe to date this photo to around 1880-85.
One of the curious features of the 1880 census is the requirement that census-takers should record the health of each person, and whether they can work. So after each name comes their age, birthplace, occupation, and a remark about how they are feeling today. Mr. Jones - broken leg, still working; Mrs. Smith - at home, bronchitis; Mr. White - retired, rheumatism; etc. But people were listed as deaf, blind, or with other handicaps too. Several farmers are noted as Wore Out; and a few sons - Not Bright.
My contribution to Sepia Saturday