The picture this week is of the Worth Bandwagon. The picture
was taken on Sept. 26, 1906 just west of the old Ferguson Livery
Barn in Grant City. The Ferguson Livery Barn was one block west
of the southwest corner of the square.
First, let me identify the people in the band wagon and then I'll tell you a little about the wagon itself.
There were two teams hitched in tandem to the wagon and the driver was Bill Schuster. Left to right the band members were: Arthur McReynolds, Ira Barnes, Roy Dye, Gilbert Dye, Arthur Walker, Jim Dye, Gilbert Gladstone, Hurley Dye, Ed Lattimer and Charley Eighmey.
Sometime in the future, if inclination and time permit, I will write a column about Hurled Dye. To me, he was the mover and shaker in the early days of Worth.
I think that McReynolds and Hurley Dye were brothers-in-law. Hurley Dye was also the father of the two boys, Gilbert and Oral.
Oral Dye, the last survivor of this group, died in Sheridan some months ago. When this picture was taken he was about 10 years old. What relation he was to Roy and Jim, I am not certain.
Ira Barnes was the father of James and Elwood Barnes who live south of Oxford. Gilbert Gladstone was my father.
Ed Lattimer was the local barber in Worth during my growing up days. Early in WWII days he moved to south Missouri where he lived the remainder of his life. The man on the far right, Charley Eighmy, was the uncle of Wayne and Dell Eighmy.
Hurley Dye organized the Worth Band and was its leader until he left Worth. If you look at the picture closely you will notice that Jim Dye has a band cap on but not a band uniform. You will also notice that Hurley Dye has a band uniform on but not a band hat.
It seems tat normally Jim Dye played with the band, but for some reason he was not playing that particular day. The band was loaded up for the trip back to Worth and a photographer was getting ready to take the picture when Jim showed up.
Hruley wanted him in the picture with the rest of the band, so he gave Jim his band hat and had him sit behind Dad so his civilian suit wouldn't be too obvious. Then Hurley put on Jim's cap for the momentous occasion.
Hurley Dye was a blacksmith and wagon maker. He designed and built the wagon in this picture, including the ornate wheels.
According to my father, who had traveled many, many miles in the bandwagon, the teams chosen to pull the wagon had to be matched perfectly and moreover, they had to be prancers. When they arrived at the outskirts of the town where they were going to perform, the band would strike up a rousing march. The horses would come up hard against the bits, with their heads and tails high, and prance almost to the beat of the music. One can almost sense the thrill of those prancing horses, the red, white, and blue bandwagon and the blare of the brass band coming down the street.
I have listened to my father tell about trips in the bandwagon to Gentry, Denver, Allendale, Grant City, Sheridan and Parnell. On one particular occasion they went to Parnell to play the Parnell Picnic. It was hot on that day and the roads were dusty. The band members didn't want to get their uniforms soiled before they arrived.
Knowing there was a barn alongside the roadway just east of Parnell, they waited until they got to it, and then they stopped and put on their uniforms. The decorative additions were put on the harnesses and even the driver had a special uniform, the most distinctive feature being a pair of black leather driving gloves with cuffs that came almost to his elbows. The team driver on that particular day was Lewis Canaday, the father of Dorthe James.
Whatever happened to the worth Bandwagon? I've heard all sorts of stories but I don't really know. I do know that it sat in a driveway in the back of the lumber yard for a long time. Then for some reason it was pulled outside and sat just south of the lumber yard alongside a little ditch that runs down through the middle of Worth.
It really doesn't matter, though. If it had still been there when the Worth tornado came roaring through, it would have been gone anyway.