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The Colonial Drummer

August 7, 2013
Colonial Drummer

Colonial Drummer

I have written of Ensign Samuel Munson (1643 – 1693) and mentioned that he was the drummer for the Wallingford community in the New Haven Colony. Given that this job is no longer in use in our communities, I wondered what his responsibilities entailed. Here is a description of the drummer’s task in colonial English colonies:

“We do know that the drum came over to the areas of English Settlements with some of the very earliest colonists. Considered a most necessary adjunct to the art of war, the drum was also used for calling the people together for church services and town meetings. Some of the early churches were known to have been constructed so as to include a platform on which the drummer beat his “calls,” and records of many of these early communities indicate that tax assessments were often adjusted to meet the expense of hiring and maintaining a Town Drummer.”*

*Source: Ed Olson, Archivist-for-Life and Curator, The Museum of Fife and Drum.

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