This column is a little different than most. While looking for something I haven’t written about previously I came across a group of pictures with cutlines from the early days. I don’t have room to run all the pictures, but the cutlines give some interesting information including names and I thought readers might like to know just how many musical groups the early days had.

This column is a little different than most. While looking for something I haven’t written about previously I came across a group of pictures with cutlines from the early days. I don’t have room to run all the pictures, but the cutlines give some interesting information including names and I thought readers might like to know just how many musical groups the early days had.


On March 26, 1939, a photo headlined "When Denison Brass Band ‘Swung Out’ Three Decades Ago" reads: "When swing was only something that kids tied to tree limbs, the Denison band ventured forth to Dripping Springs back in 1907 to lend rhythm to a minstrel presented by the Woodmen. In the picture are Charlie Champion, Rolly McMann, Walter Lebrecht, C. Allen, Wally Lorraine, Clarence Eyer, Charles Badgett, Willard Davis, Mike Gray, Bert Andrews, Oscar Scales, Hugh Bush, Dick Gray, Professor Koke, Ban Mock, Jim Emilstein, Fred Eyer, George Tatum and Albert "Bunt" Lewis. "Members of the group recall today the rainstorm that drenched their wagon as they journeyed to Dripping Springs." The picture was courtesy Mrs. F.C. Eyer.


An undated picture of "Musicians who played Works of Old Masters" was headlined "Long Before Jazz and Swing brought Modern Syncopation. The cutline reads "These Denison men, 55 years ago, didn’t go in for ‘swing,’ but from their facial expressions one would entertain the idea they easily could handle the works of Bach, Beethoven and Strauss. The 11 musicians formed the first band in Denison. Pictured are George McLogan, Fred Brockman, Charles Francis, Frank Lyons, John Leuders, Gus Schirlitz, Dr. Anthony Malcolm, M.K. Mastick, Will Everett, director, Louis Tietzle and H.G. Green." Part of a drum can be seen at the edge of the picture. The drum has the year 1884 printed on it. Mrs. G.W. Bodkin provided this picture of the Denison Philharmonic Society Band for publication in 1939.


"Let’s Strike Up a Tune in the Picture Parade" showed that the fire department of 1912 had its own band. Titled, "Presenting Firemen ‘Swingsters’ of 27 years ago," The cutline reads: "The camera that ‘sees all’ was taken for a ride in this picture as firemen pinch-hit for musicians and musicians in turn pinch-hit for firemen. There were three honest-to-goodness musicians in the crowd and the others posed with instruments possibly to lend atmosphere to the picture. Snapped at the fire station in 1912, the picture presents M. Kelly, Slim Jordan, Elmer Lewis, A. J. Bruhin, Joe Capelle, Abner Lewis, Charles Smith, Johnny Meyers and Jim Kone. Mr. Kelly served as a photographer here many years ago, engineered the picture and at that time was a relief fireman, developing pictures in his spare time, using the station bathtub to wash the prints." This picture was submitted by A.B. Boyer for the Herald’s picture parade.


Another photo from 1888, this one from Sherman, was reprinted in the April 9, 1939, Denison Herald and was headlined "Wann Spielte das Deutschn Bund ‘Ach, du lieber Augustin!" This was a band of German musicians. The cutline read "We have modern jazz bands, swing bands, Hotcha and hi-de-ho aggregations and some which ‘murder’ good music like a Zulu cannibal butchering the English language. But there are few little German bands left – real ones at least. It is a long day back to the era when Sherman and Denison had the pleasure of listening to the musicians shown here. The picture was permitted to run the full length in order to show the big drum in the corner of inscription ‘Germania Band Organized Aug. 1, 1958, Sherman, Texas.’ Their musical renditions no doubt made many hearts gayer and feet lighter in the ompah-ompah of the tuba and French horn blended into rhythmic harmony with that of the cornets and other instruments.


Musicians in the picture above were Emil Linsteadt, Herman Poenich, Charlie Linsteadt, Frank Schmidt, Gus Summerfeldt, Fred unknown, a tinner named Frank, Robert Poenich, and Adolph Linsteadt." Emil Linsteadt is employed as a watchman at the Kraft cheese plant and furnished the information for the picture. He left his hometown, Spaundau, Germany, near Berlin, when he was 14 years old. He said he came directly to Sherman, riding the first Texas train and moved to Denison in later years.


"They Stopped the Spindles to Strike up the Bands" declared a top headline for a group of musicians from the Cotton Mill. The cutline reads: "These 14 musicians kept citizens of the Cotton Mill in gay moods back in 1915 when the photo as made. George Shields of Denison submitted the photograph and wins the Herald’s award of $1. Mr. Shields is the only one who continues to live at the Mill. Pictured are Gene Wilson, John Gerry, Ben Page, Jim Cagle, Wayne Padgett, Will Ellerd, Jim Red, Mr. Shields, Claud McDay, Bay Ramsey, F. Greenleaf, Earl Strickland, Edgar Smith and Barney Estes."


While all of the above groups were musicians who played instruments, there were those who also sang operettas produced with real thespian courage as well as talent exemplified when a home-talent cast presented the operetta "The Merry Milk Maids," at the old Brooks-Tone opera house at 517 West Main. The picture belonged to Fred Bulloch and shows eight members of the large cast, Ruth Booth, Harry Thompson, Sadie Lang, Fred Bulloch, Bess Baker, Harry Wright, Gladys Hutchison and Robert Thompson. Directed by Mrs. H. J. Mugge, the cast also included Minna Klopp, Phyllis Edwards, Roy Vinnedge, Katherine Dorian, H.J. Mugge, Birdie Kirk, Jess Madden, Johnny Eubanks, Frank McPhee, Nellie Crum, T.E. Lackey, Mrs. Frank McPhee, Leo Short, Marietta Chapman, F.E. Diefenderfer, Vivian Allen, Bertha Thomas, Clara Jackson, Earnest Doyle, Flora Harnest, Maud Arthur, Bertha Walton, Dora Beggs and Lonnie McKee.


A few of the names in these cutlines are familiar to me, and I’m sure family members of some of these musically talented pioneers are still around. Thought they might like seeing their ancestors’ names in print.


Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at d.hunt_903@yahoo.com.