Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

In 1860 a band was organized in Warsaw known as the Silver Cornet band. Although it was frequently reorganized it remained a rather continuous organization for nearly 30 years.

During most of this period the band was under the direction of a rather remarkable man by the name of Henry Lathrop who had come to America from F. Galloway, England.

In 1868 at a time of reorganization they bought new uniforms consisting of navy blue frock coats, with caps and plumes, military regulation style. They also bought an entire set of German silver instruments. At a later reorganization in 1880 they bought even more elaborate uniforms and added reeds to the band.

In 1871 this 15 piece organization won first prize at a fireman's tournament at Lima, Ohio, and another time won a first at a similar contest at LaPorte.

In August, 1877, the band accompanied the Warsaw Knights Templar to a conclave at Cleveland. Out of 67 bands in the procession, the Warsaw musicians received special notice in city dailies when but five or six bands were mentioned.

By this time the Warsaw Silver Cornet Band was considered one of the best in the state. Again in the seventies they accompanied an editorial excursion to Bismarck in Dakota territory when that place was the western terminus of the North Pacific railway. They created quite a sensation and were exceptionally well received in Minneapolis.

Probably the highlight of this band's history was when it played host to the Tri-State Musicians meeting held at Warsaw on June 16 and 17 in 1886. Many bands were in Warsaw those two days, parading and giving concerts. Lakeside Park on the west shore of Pike lake was fixed with a large stand and on the final night ten massed bands gave a concert at the park.

When Lathrop left Warsaw, it was necessary for someone else to step into his shoes. Between 1887 and World War I, Warsaw community bands were directed by jasper Yotter, George McConnell, Fred Raycroft, H. G. Fields, Milo Calkins, Elmer Funk, Professor Umbenhour and Roy Bartol. Anyone having information concerning any of these bands (or any other bands in the county) please let this column know, because our records are very fragmentary on this very important phase of our county history.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Sept. 16, 1952