Friday, May 25, 2012

MacMillen Will Play a Violin Made by a Marietta Man, Arthur J. Maskrey

The Marietta Daily Times, March 1, 1911

Francis MacMillen, the brilliant young violinist who has made Marietta famous throughout the length and breadth of his native land, as well as in the capitals of Europe, where his performances have caused him to be ranked as one of the foremost artists of his generation, will one of these days be delighting the musical public with the clear and beautiful tones he will draw from a violin made in this city.  A Marietta artist will be using a Marietta violin, and critics will say that neither of them, the young man nor the instrument, can well be surpassed.

A violin which Mr. MacMillen expects to use in some of his future world-tours, if things go right, is now being fashioned in this city, by Mr. A. J. Maskrey, of Scammel street near Front, considered by good judges to be one of the most capable violin makers in the country.  The instrument has been in course of construction since the visit of the violinist to his home city on February 1st, and will probably be finished by the middle of this month, according to a statement made by Mr. Maskrey to a representative of The Daily Times.

The greatest of care is being taken with every detail of the building of the violin.  Only the choicest of materials are being used, and the work of fashioning the parts and fitting them together is being done with the greatest of care and skill.

The top of the violin is of Italian spruce; the ribs and back of Italian maple, woods which are specially adapted to violin making because of their qualities.  The material has been carefully seasoned, having been cut in 1886.

When Francis MacMillen gave his recital here recently, Mr. Maskrey had opportunity to examine the instrument which the distinguished musician plays, and the violin being made by him will be fashioned in a degree after this instrument, a copy of the famous Stradivarius which Mr. MacMillen now owns.  The MacMillen instrument is valued at $7,000 and was presented to him by Lady Palmer of London.  When the young violinist made his first public appearance in the English metropolis, Lady Palmer was present and was so much impressed with his wonderful playing that she loaned the valuable instrument to him.  After he had progressed beyond his student days, and has justified her confidence in him by taking his place among the great violin players of the world, she presented it to him, as an appreciation of his faultless execution.

Mr. Maskrey, the violin maker, has achieved success in more than one vocation.  Born in Wolverthampton, Straffordshire, England, in early boyhood he moved with his family to Scotland.  His father and grandfather both were experts in tin-plate manufacture, and now the son, who has followed in the footsteps of his forebears, has risen in the ranks until he is considered one of the world's greatest experts in the business.

Making of violins is in a measure a recreation with him.  He devotes to it the time that other people give to their hobbies.  But it must not be understood that he gives only perfunctory attention to his work.  As a matter of fact he has been making violins for thirty-five years, and up to ten years ago he had not completed one that suited him absolutely.  He is as deeply interested in the perfection of his musical instruments as he is in the results of his other business, and gives as much careful attention to the details.

When Francis MacMillen was here last month, he called on Mr. Maskrey in company with Judge H. L. Sibley, who is himself an expert on matters pertaining to the violin, and played an instrument that the violin maker had completed a few days previous to that time.  He pronounced it the best new violin on which he had ever played.

Judge Sibley states that he considers Mr. Maskrey one of the ablest makers of violins in the country, and that it is debatable whether he has any superiors.

A visit from Francis MacMillen, when he shall delight his townsmen by playing on a Marietta-made violin, is something for the people of this city to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

William Jackson - Born a Slave

The Marietta Weekly Leader, April 13, 1886

Died in Harmar, Wednesday, April 7th, of consumption, William Jackson, aged about 45 years.

William Jackson was born a slave.  At the age of about fifteen years he came into the lines of the Union army at Fredericksburg.  Through all the marches, campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac he followed his regiment as a servant.  He was under fire, and often much exposed, in the battles of Gainesville, 2nd Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.  Faithful, true and even heroically brave in the discharge of his humble duty, he was known and respected by every soldier in his regiment.

After the war he came to Marietta and quietly went to work.  His first effort was to rescue his mother.  Saving money to pay the expense, he sent his brother to the woods of Spotsylvania where, in 1866, his mother was still held as a slave.  She had been whipped until her power of speech was almost destroyed.  Her daughter, a child, had been rendered an idiot by brutal blows on the head.  William Jackson bravely assumed the support of these two, and his substantial success is well known.  What poor young man need feel dismayed when looking at the results of faithful, persistent and quiet labor and economy as wrought out by this colored man?  Shortly before his death he became addicted to drink; but charity can speak kindly of faults when so many results of faithful performance of duty are seen.  The writer knew him for a devoted friend and a brave and true man.

R. R. Dawes

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Morgan Raiders Gave Good Scare

Sunday Morning Observer, April 15, 1917

Marietta Prepared to Give Them Warm Reception But They Failed to Come This Way

At this time when the country is on the threshold of real activity in another war, it is interesting to look back over the past and lance at the wars that have been and note the side lines and pick up the little things that happened in and about old Marietta from where many of her sons went forth to battle.

One of the always interesting stories of that war is the one of Morgan's raid.  the "Home Guards" of that time were kept busy to get ready to "head him off," but he never got within gun shot of the "loved ones" at Marietta, but the story is often told of the local activities.

Morgan Raiders crossed the Ohio River below Cincinnati.  The main body did not enter the city.  They were next heard from where they crossed the Little Miami R. R. a few miles below Loveland, here they boarded a passenger train.  Their route was towards Jackson, passing through Piketon and Berlin to Cheshire, Gallia County.  At Buffington Island, a few succeeded in crossing the river and escaped.  The river was being patrolled by ferryboats converted into gunboats by building up the sides with baled hay, these prevented the main body from crossing the river.  Morgan then started through Vinton county, passed through Nelsonville to the northeast and was captured before reaching the Ohio river.

Col. Ben P. Runkle brought a train load of troops from Chillicothe to Moore's Junction and established a camp there.  Part of the troops were cared for at Marietta.  At the camp there were some ten or twelve locomotives with train crews and cars.  Earth works were constructed at the W. P. Cutler farm at Constitution.  Trains were constantly taking fresh troops to the trenches and bringing back those who had been working there.  There must be some mistake regarding the hay placed on the railroad bridge at Marietta for the purpose of burning it.  It was placed there, undoubtedly, as a barricade and not with a view to burning the bridge, a can of oil and a lighted match would have accomplished that purpose.  Col. Runkle's troops probably saved Marietta from a visit from Morgan.