Thursday, May 19, 2011

The First Piano in Marietta

The Marietta Times, February 14, 1889

The following statement regarding an old piano will be of interest to Mariettans.  The instrument in question is probably the first one brought into the North-west Territory.  Judge Solomon Sibley, of Detroit, Michigan, married a Miss Sproat, of Marietta, Ohio, early in this century.  On the 357th page of a recent "History of Detroit" we find the following statement:  The first piano brought to Detroit was the property of Mrs. Solomon Sibley, formerly Miss Sproat.  She used it while attending school at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and (after her marriage in 1803) brought it with her to Detroit.  It was transported on horseback from Bethlehem to Marietta, and we may therefore be well assured that it did not compare in size with the pianos of to-day.

We clip the above from the Marietta Leader of last week.  While we do not doubt the piano referred to, may be the first one taken to Detroit, we are under the impression the writer is mistaken as to its being the first one in Marietta.  There is now in this city, in the possession of Mrs. Margaret Newsom, a piano that has had the reputation of being the first instrument that was brought west of the Alleghenies.  We are told it was taken to Marietta by Col. Lord, and afterward formed one of the attractions in Blennerhassett's mansion.  Upon the breaking up of that historic establishment it passed into the hands of the late Mr. Nathaniel Gates, who acted as private secretary to Blennerhassett, and it was brought to Gallipolis in 1820.  Mr. Gates disposed of the piano to the late General Newsom and it has remained in his family ever since.  Of course it does not compare with the fine instruments of the present day.  The dimensions are as follows:  Length, five feet and two inches; width, one foot and ten inches, and the height is that of the modern instrument.  Its compass is but five octavoes, and it was made in Philadelphia by Charles Albrecht.

Gallipolis Bulletin

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