[from a photocopy of an ancient newspaper shorn of name and date]
Bridgton, Me., Jan. 24 -- "Yes, Ned Kendall was all that is claimed for him -- the greatest bugle player in the world. I knew him and his brother, James K. Kendall, thoroughly, in our mutual, social and musical experiences in Boston, covering a period of more than 30 years."
The speaker was Richard D. Blanchard, a veteran Boston musician, a courteous, excellent gentleman. He and his brother, Lorenzo A. Blanchard, were for upwards of 30 years members of leading brass bands in Boston, also of the Museum and Howard orchestras, etc., and were publishers of and dealers in music. They retired in 1887. Mr. Blanchard has been summering here in lovely Bridgton. What he doesnt know about Bostons veteran bands and leaders is scarcely worth knowing. Seated the other day on the piazza of the hotel, he gave me a most entertaining reminiscent talk about Ned Kendall, the world-famous bugle player, as well as Neds brother James, the king of the clarinet, and incidentally of Bostons old school of noted band leaders and musicians. At my earnest request, he consented to allow me the use of the same for publication.
"The first regular brass band in Boston," said Mr. Blanchard, "was founded in 1835, by Ned Kendall, who was its leader. Its title was Boston brass band. Before that there was an organization known as the Boston Brigade band -- not its great successor by that name -- composed of French horns, serpents, brass instruments, clarionets and drums, in all about 15 pieces. Way back in the twenties there was a band called the Dragon. Ned was leader of and bugle player in the Boston brass band till 1842, when he went away and Eben Flagg became its leader.
"In 1849 Ned Kendall returned to Boston and became the leader of the Boston Brigade band. This band had meanwhile been running under the leadership of Bartlett. In those days a noted trumpet player (who died in 53, at the age of 52), and Scieppe, a German clarinet player of fair ability. At this time the Brigade was just immense. Its entire make-up was the
Besides Ned, there were among its members James K Kendall, clarinet; Bartlett, trombone; D.L. Downing, ophecleide; E.K. Eaton (who married Ned Kendalls daughter, and whom I am surprised to learn once lived in Bridgton, while instructor of Bridgton brass band), trombone; C. Eichler, E-flat alto. Eichler is a member of the Germania band at the present time. Eaton, who was a versatile genius, composed some find band music.
"This, as I have said, was in 1849. Among the members of its friendly but powerful rival, the Boston Brass Band, were Eben Flag, bugle; E.G. Wright, R.D. Blanchard, E. Weston (afterwards for many years leader of the Boston Brigade band), and Morehouse, cornets; Ludwig and Kemberling, trumpets; Burditt, ophecleide; Davis, bass; Manstein and Bennitt, altos; Snapp, Fries and Frederick, trombones."
"A brilliant galaxy, truly. But I am interested to learn what has become of them all."
"Nearly all of them are gone," said Mr. Blanchard, sadly. Of the Boston Brigade band, all I have named are dead except Eichler. Bartlett died in Boston some 36 years ago. Scieppe and Ned Kendall also died in Boston; James Kendall in California; Downing and Eaton in New York.
"Of the Boston Brass band. Flagg Lives in Wellesley, and Weston in Belmont. Wright died in Boston. The last I heard of Ludwig he was in New York. As to Morehouse and Kemberling, I know not what became of them. Burditt of cannon-accompaniment fame died in Boston quite a number of years ago. Davis has been dead 10 or 12 years; died in Malden. Manstein is with his son, carrying on a farm out West. Bennitt died long ago in Boston. Snapp, the founder and organizer of the Germania band, about 1851, who led it a few years, died in Boston. He was a great performer. Wulf Fries, the famous cello player, who was long a member of the Mendelssohn Quintet Club, is still following his profession in Boston."
"Please tell me of some of the earlier Boston band you belonged to."
"Well, as I have just said, I played with Flagg in the Boston Brass band; next with the Suffolk Brass band of Boston, (Pinter, leader), in 51, and with the same band in 52, P.S. Gilmore, leader -- which, by the way, was Gilmores first appearance in Boston; with Bonds band in 53; with Bond & Flaggs in 54 and 55, and with Flaggs in 56 and 57.
"I can never forget the time the two great rivals, the Boston Brass and the Boston Brigade bands contested for the mastery at the firemans muster in Lynn in September, 1849."
The veterans face fairly glowed with enthusiasm as he recalled the event. "Yes, it was a big time," he continued. "Both bands were at the pinnacle of their glory, with high but well-deserved reputations. We of the Boston Brass band did our level best, but when Ned Kendall seized his bugle and led the Boston Brigade, while on the march, through a
in three-four time for a quickstep, why he just carried the crowd like leaves before the tempest. The enthusiasm was tremendous. It seemed as if the crowd would never stop their cheering and clapping of hands. It was a proud day for Ned. Aye, and for Jim, too, as to that matter. The two Orphean kings were radiant with joy, and in my heart of hearts I felt proud of them."
"The Kendall Brothers did not spend all their time in Boston, I have heard?"
"No; they were away a great deal. In those days there was a celebrated Boston vocalist, Miss Apna Stone, a leading singer in the churches and in the Handel and Haydn Society, and she, the Kendalls and some others formed a concert company and traveled over the country, playing at big centers. This was in the forties. She afterwards married and retired from public singing. Then Ned, for a number of years in the fifties, traveled with Spaulding & Rogers circus, leading the band, and was a great card as a bugle soloist. Then he went to England, and great stories were told of his playing before the Queen, and receiving from her a silver bugle, and other tales, which may be partially true and may not. In 59 his health began to decline and he died in 61."
"And James -- what about him?"
"He went to California in 52 and returned to Boston in 65. But he remained in Boston only two years. The boy as he affectionately called his brother Ned, was beneath the sod, and somehow our dear old Boston had lost its charms. He died in San Francisco, quite suddenly, in about 74."
Here concludes the Blanchard interview, and now take up another interesting chapter in the life of the great bugler.
A singular thing in connection with the
is the mystery of his birthplace, and the almost equal uncertainty in regard to his boyhood. But I am herewith able to settle the vexed questions satisfactorily to the reader, I trust. Several aged musicians hereabout have told me they knew of his playing the clarinet, etc, at the annual musters in the adjoining town of Naples, Me.
My first witness is a gentleman whom I know to be thoroughly reliable, who himself saw Ned at the Naples musters, and who, as will presently be seen, furnishes proof positive in the case. This witness is the late Capt. Otis Fernald of Otisfield, Me., the whilom commander of the Otisfield Light Infantry, a gentleman of rare intelligence and accuracy of observation and statement, who died only a few months ago, at the age of 86. I knew him well and we had many chats together.
"In telling my story," said Capt. Fernald, "I shall furnish indisputable testimony to prove what I say. I have documentary evidence from Ned Kendalls only two living sisters and two nephews, besides written and verbal testimony from those who associated with him in his musical performances, and others who knew him when a boy. One of Neds sisters, Mrs.; Eliza C. Parsons of Franklin, Me., and her nephew, Edward Kendall of Boston, son of her brother James, authorize me to say that her father, Edward Kendall, Sr. was born at Quebec, though she has not the date, but her nephew has, and he says it was April 10, 1778.
"It is probable that Kendall, senior, came to the United States as early as 1801, or earlier, and engaged in the military service, and was stationed at Savannah, Ga., where his son James was born Aug. 29, 1803. From this place he went to Fort Sullivan, S.C. and thence to Fort Walcott, Newport Harbor, R.I. And here, let it be remembered, is the birthplace of Ned Kendall -- that very Ned that so much is said about, and the date of his birth is March 1, 1808. Not less than eight different places have been claimed as his birthplace, but only one can be the right one, and this is the place I have stated. Mrs. Parsons and her nephew have corresponding records of the
and I consider the case settled beyond controversy.
"I understand that in old training days, when you were a captain of militia, you used to hear young Ned play at Naples muster field. Is this so?"
"Yes; I distinctly recollect seeing Ned Kendall at a general muster at the foot of Long pond -- then, Otisfield, now Naples -- where he played the clarinet, with Fifer Bill Harmon, for Capt. Jacob Dingleys company from Raymond (a town near Naples), and my officers engaged them to play our company into the field to form in regimental line. This was in 1823. I was told at the time that Ned was 15 years old, and I have since earned the date of his birth to be 1808, which, subtracted from 1823, proves that 15 is correct."
Edward Kendall died in Boston, Oct. 26, 1861, aged 53 years, 7 months and 25 days. He was buried the 29th. The funeral services were held in the Hollis Street church, conducted by Rev. William R. Alger. The brass band he was leader of so many years, was present and played three pieces. While the band was playing the first piece E.H. Weston (a former pupil of the deceased) walked up and took from its case the silver bugle, whose strains had entranced millions, and laid it on the coffin, where it remained through the deeply impressive services. The interment was at Forest Hills cemetery, where he sleeps today beside his wife.
[from a photocopy of a page of the Boston Sunday Globe -- June 7, 1908.]
Dr. Joseph Chase of Cambridge Tells of the Days When Ned Kendall Was the Greatest Key Bugle Player the World Had Ever Seen -- Members of the Band Which Plays for the Firemens Memorial Services Will Decorate Kendalls Grave at Forest Hills Today.
When the annual memorial services to be held today at the Boston firemens burial lot in Forest Hills cemetery come to a close the musicians of the band will go to the nearby grave of Ned Kendall, the renowned performer of the key bugle, and lay flowers upon the grave, in loving remembrance of the noted musician.
This is the fine tribute that the musicians of Boston pay to the memory of Ned Kendall on every recurring firemens memorial day -- the first Sunday in June.
To no one in and about Boston does this honoring of the memory of Ned Kendall mean more, or come with such touching force, as to Dr Joseph Chase of Cambridge, an aged patriarch of 91, who was not only the close friend, but a fellow-bugle player of Kendalls. D. Chase, who is the only musician now living of all those that played with Kendall, observed his 91st birthday very quietly on May 3, at the home of his son, Isaac Chase, on Trowbridge St., Cambridge, with whom he lives the greater part of the year.
Dr Chase is such a well-preserved man for one of his great age that he doesnt look a day over 60. There isnt a wrinkle on his cheek or brow; his eye is bright and beams with merriment and good humor when telling some funny stories of his own experiences.
During an interesting afternoons talk with the Globe writer he fairly bubbled over with delightful reminiscences of Ned Kendall, of whom he spoke with great tenderness. "Poor Ned," said the old gentleman, musingly, "there were none like him as a bugle player, and mighty few like him as a man."
Ned Kendalls execution of the favorite airs of the day, particularly of the famous "Wood Up," that great piece of his, in fact, of all classes of music, with the brilliant touches and variations, the delicate shadings and full, sweet tones that he imparted to them was something marvelous.
Dr Chase said: "Dont name me with Ned Kendall; there was no one in his class, and no one ever will be," exclaimed the old gentleman with a burst of enthusiastic vim. And yet Dr Chase was considered something of a key bugle player himself in his prime.
When the Prince de Joinville, son of Louis Phillippe, king of France, visited Boston along in the middle of the last century, and a grand ball was given in his honor at Faneuil Hall, one of the great features was the splendid orchestra, Dr Chase being a member of it, which discoursed sweet harmony, with "notes of Kendalls bugle floating over all," as some poet of the day expressed it.
In his fund of entertaining reminiscences, the following story seemed to give Dr Chase the most pleasure in the telling, as the two chief figures in it were so well known to him:
When Ned Kendall was at the height of his popularity a noted New York bugle player had heard so much of Kendalls playing and had heard comparison of his own execution so frequently made with that of the Musician, to the favor of the latter, that he came to Boston for the express purpose of meeting his rival.
On the day of his arrival he accepted an invitation to join a sleighing party. After several hours enjoyable sleighing the party drove to the Norfolk house and found the ball room al lighted up for the grand dance that was being given by an association of marketmen of Quincy and Faneuil Hall markets.
The New York musician stepped into the side parlor to warm himself at the open fire, before which sat three men, who courteously made room for him. On a table near by lay a key bugle beside a case from which it had been taken.
"Ah!" said the New Yorker, having warmed his fingers into flexibility as he toyed with the keys of the instrument. "Any of you gentleman play on this?"
"Yes, I do a little," replied a dark-complexioned man at the fire.
"Play for parties, I suppose?"
"Now and then, when I get a job," said the other, his eyes twinkling, "do you?"
"Oh, I do a little in my way," remarked the New Yorker with assumed indifference, and taking up the bugle her an over the scale, gave a few strains and pretty snatches of melody that brought a dozen listeners to the half open door. The dark man opened his eyes wider. "You are an excellent player," said he.
"Oh, only so-so," was the gratified and rather pompous reply. "I suppose you dont go into much except dance music?"
"Well, yes, a little. Im pretty good at imitating a thing I hear played once or twice." And the dark man took up the instrument and played the same strains the other had, but awkwardly and with several hitches and omissions.
"Pretty good," said the New York bugler, "but you need practice and accent, especially in solo playing."
"No doubt of it," said the dark man.
"Now even in dance music there can be a great deal of ornamentation," the New York man remarked loftily, warming up with a desire to show off his skill before what he thought an inferior player, and the gathering group that the notes of the instrument had attracted. "The Fishers Hornpipe is a lively tune, but see what can be done with it." He put the old country dance through a series of variations that made the nerves of every foot whose owner was within hearing distance tingle with electric thrills.
"You can hardly follow that as well as the scales, I suppose," said the performer, laying down the instrument amid a buzz of applause from his now large audience.
"Well, I dont know about following anybody, but I may give you my idea of it," spoke up the dark man as he took the bugle and began playing.
If the first few bars of the music made the other player start, the succeeding ones transfixed him as the performer executed strains with a correctness, sill and beauty that he never before heard extracted from a bugle. The variations, trills, tones and melody of the familiar old dance tune was rendered as never dreamed of by that New Yorker, as the music flowed from the bell of the bugle under the skillful manipulation and never failing wind of the performer, who, at the conclusion of his performance, amid a roar of applause, remarked, with the same twinkle in his dark eyes:
"What do you think now?"
"Think!" exclaimed the New Yorker, as he stood with his eyes staring in astonishment. "Think! Why, that no loving man could have done that. You must be either the devil or Ned Kendall!"
"Ned Kendall and no devil," quietly replied the dark man.
"That New York bugle player was Candler -- George Candler. He was a great bugle player, but Ned Kendall was a greater one," said Dr Chase, laughing heartily over the story. And I have now, at my home down on the Vineyard, a key bugle that belonged to Candler at one time and was played by him. He brought it over from England, and I secured a bargain when I bought the bugle for just $15."
The doctor went on to tell many other interesting stories of the days when he and Ned Kendall used to play together. James R. Kendall, brother of Ned, also celebrated in his day as a Boston musician, frequently figured in these stories. Jim Kendall, as he was more familiarly known, was almost as noted as a clarionet player as Ned Kendall was as a performer on the key bugle.
"Jim and Ned Kendall were the founders of the Boston brass band," said Dr Chase. "They formed it from what was left of the old Boston band. I played with the two brothers in the Boston brass band, and a famous band it was, too.
"Our rival was the Boston brigade band. They were the two great band of Boston in those days. At the time Jim Kendall also played the clarionet in Ostinellis orchestra at the old Tremont theatre, and Lydia Kelly was a popular actress there. Her temper wasnt of the sweetest kind, and she had an offensive, imperious manner.
"One morning at rehearsal while she was going over a song with the orchestra, the accompaniment seemed to be all wrong. The song was tried over two and three times, but there was no improvement. Miss Kelly blamed the orchestra, and picked out Jim Kendall as the chief offender.
"In his cool, calm, gentlemanly way, Jim assured the lady that he was playing the music just as it was written, and handed it up over the footlights for her inspection. She stamped her foot, and losing her temper entirely, kicked out viciously at poor Jim, barely missing his head, but kicking the music from his hands and sending it flying.
"Everybody was amazed, but in a minute or two Miss Kelly clamed down, and putting out her hand to Jim, shook his and begged his pardon. The song was tried again, and that time the orchestra parts were all right and the song went perfectly.
"At one time Jim Kendall was leader of the band at the West Point military academy. He finally went to California and played in a theatre orchestra in San Francisco. He wanted me to go there with him, but I concluded that Boston was good enough for me.
"One evening in about the year 1878 Jim arrived at the theatre for the performance. He greeted his fellow musicians with a cheery Good evening, gentlemen, started to hang up his hat and dropped dead."
Ned Kendall was 53 years old at the time of his death in Boston, on Oct 26, 1861. For many years he lived on Pledmont st. He was born at Newport, R.I., March 20, 1808. His wife was Emily Fessenden, whom he married in Boston. She survived her husband many years, dying in this city in 189, at the advanced age of 92.
They lie buried side by side in the family lot at Forest Hills cemetery. On one side of the base of the tall monument erected there to the memory of the great bugle player is this inscription, chiseled in the stone beneath a carved key bugle
"To perpetuate the memory of one who did so much to elevate the profession which he himself adorned, this monument, procured by the volunteer contributions of those who admired his genius as an artist, was erected by a few of his personal friends, who knew and appreciated him, not only as an artist, but as a man. December, 1866."
Dr Chase was born on Salem st on May 3, 1817, and when 8 years old he witnessed the laying of the cornerstone of Bunker Hill monument June 17, 1825. From the window of an aunts house at the foot of Prince st he and a cousin, a little girl of his own age, attracted the attention of Gen Lafayette, as he passed the house in the procession on the way to Bunker Hill, by vigorously waving a couple of small American flags at the illustrious Frenchman, and the latter, rising in his carriage, gave the youthful pair a very stately bow.
The grandfather of Dr Chase fought as a solder through the revolutionary war, and his father, Constant Chase, who was a master mariner, was taken prisoner by the British during the war of 1812 and was held a prisoner for 18 months in London. Dr Chase himself followed the sea for a time, sailing to many ports of the world, before he took up music and dentistry.
At one time he lived on Brattle st, just above where the Quincy house now stands, and next door to him lived George Dewey, whom everybody called "Bill" Dewey, the man who cut away the figurehead of Andrew Jackson from the frigate Constitution while she was lying at anchor in Boston harbor, an act that caused wild excitement at the time.
One of the things that Dr Chase referred to with a little feeling of pride during the course of his talk was that he had been the means of bringing the late P.S. Gilmore to the front as a leader of bands, in fact, that he started him on his notable career as a band director here in Boston.
"When the old Suffolk band was left without a leader," said Dr Chase in telling the story, "they wanted me to take charge as leader, but I couldnt do it, as I was too busy with my dentistry work then.
"Gilmore was at that time stamping...plates for George P...." [the rest of the article is missing]
[One headline has been removed from the text because it spoiled the story told. The headline was "The Devil or Ned Kendall." and it came directly after the phrase "with the same twinkle in his dark eyes:"]
[taken from a photocopy of an old newspaper clipping of unknown origin. Handwritten in the margin is "Transcript March 11, 1875"]
James R. Kendall, once so well known in Boston, but for many years an old and popular clarinet player of the California Theatre orchestra, dropped instantly dead in the music room of the theatre on Sunday evening, March 1. He had been playing during the afternoon in the concert at Woodwards Gardens, as was his custom on Sunday. Having returned home without expression or sign of illness, he made his way after dinner to the theatre to play as usual. As he entered the music room he hung up his hat and overcoat, and saying, "Good evening, gentlemen," to those about him, wheeled about and fell to the floor a corpse. Physicians were summoned, and several rushed in, but Kendall was beyond aid -- he died instantly as he fell. He was a native of Massachusetts, and was a brother of the famous bugle player, Edward Kendall, who was honored a few years ago by the gift of a silver bugle from Queen Victoria. Every lover of that instrument knows more or less of his fame. Deceased was a drummer boy in the war of 1812, or the second war with England. In 1823 he and his brother established the celebrated Brigade Band of Boston. But a short time ago he received a letter from Boston stating that he was the only surviving member of that band. He was seventy-three years of age, and hale in appearance. Having been a member of the musical societies of San Francisco, he was buried under their [the rest of the article is missing]