Acton Memorial Library
Boston Globe, March 14, 1915
BANDSMAN FOR 58 YEARS:
Frank W. Knapp of Revere Still has the Cornet He Bought 68 Years Ago—One of the Two Original Members of the Marlboro Band
Fifty-eight years ago F.W. Knapp of 41 Library st., Revere, joined the Marlboro, Mass, Band. Fifty-four years ago, when the band marched at the head of the famous 13th Massachusetts Regiment on the way to Southern battlefields, Mr. Knapp was its leader. He is still a member of the organization and at all of the reunions he has taken his post of honor in the band and with his cornet has rendered the popular regimental airs that start the feet of the grizzled veterans going.
Mr. Knapp was 80 years old, enjoys excellent health, reads without glasses and looks as young as some men do at 60. He lives with one of his four daughters, Mrs. J.W. French, in Revere. The other three daughters are Mrs. A.J. Rikeman, 36 Library st., Revere; Mrs. H. dunnells, 34 School st., Revere, and Mrs. C.f. Crafts, 15 Curtis st., Somerville.
The Marlboro band is said to be the oldest in Massachusetts. It was organized in 1857 under the direction of Frank W. Knapp. Mr. Knapp marched with the band at the 250th celebration of the founding of the town of Marlboro, playing the old air of “Woodup” on his cornet from the bandstand, 50 years before he also appeared with tht same band on the occasion of the 200th anniversary celebration of the settlement of Marlboro.
He rememberes Boston’s famous bandmaster, Patrick S. Gilmore, and he played in Gilmore’s band at the peace jubilee in this city in 1873. All his life he has been a bandsman.
In his 80th year he rides a bicycle and runs an automobilie.
The only other original member of the band surviving is Edwin Rice of Marlboro.
Speaking of his war experiences, Mr. Knapp said: “We left Boston with the 13th Regiment July 29th after the first battle of Bull Run. We were at the second Bull Run battle, where the regiment got pretty badly cut up. Out troops fells back to Centreville and the next day we were ordered to headquarters and were mustered out, through no fault of ours. Congress had decided to dismiss all regimental bands and whittled the music for the boys down to one band to a brigade.
“We were marched back to Washington, a distance of 25 miles. Some of us succeed in boarding a hospital train from the front bound for Washington filled with wounded.
“When the band got back to Boston we kept up out organization and maintained it ever since, taking in new members as the old ones dropped out. In 1903 we formed our association of all the members present and past. Our annual meeting takes place at Lake Boon the third Sunday in September, where we have a concert, speeches, and a dinner.
Mr. Knapp is a charter member of William B. Eaton Post 199, G.A.R., of Revere. He bought his first musical instrument, a cornet, at the age of 12, when he lived in West Acton. He still has it and says it is the best investment he ever made.
Besides his four daughters, Mr. Knapp has five granddaughters, two great-granddaughters, two grandsons and three great-grandsons. The oldest of the latter is 10 years old.