It had been quite a while since I had logged onto eBay, the Web site where you can buy or sell just about anything.
I collect Vandalia postcards, and one evening as I went on line, I decided to see what Vandalia items eBay had to offer.
About half way down the list was a postcard of the ‘Vandalia Band.’ Knowing this could be Vandalia, Ohio, or Indiana, I was pleasantly surprised to see it for Vandalia, Ill., and the seller had dated it at 1905.
The leader of the band, who was seated and holding a baton, looked familiar, although I couldnt put a name to his face.
Long story made short, I was the successful bidder on the band postcard bearing the McLeod signature and 2-cent stamp.
The postcard was addressed to Mrs. May Silvey of Scott City, Kan., from her cousin, Edna H., and was postmarked Nov. 13 from Vandalia. In the body of the text, Edna writes, ‘This is a picture of the Vandalia Band boys. Are they as pretty as Scott City band?’
After I received it, I began to look more closely at the members of the band to see if there were others that I might recognizesuch as Ezra Jenkins, in the back row with his tuba.
Ezra Jenkins was involved with Vandalias music scene since 1878, when he was a tuba player in the ‘Webers Old Military Band.’ He was pictured with the band in a photograph in the 1904 ‘Historical Souvenir of Vandalia,’ page 114. This band won several competitions.
His was the only face that looked familiar, except for the band leader, who I thought might be a Steinhauer.
Putting the postcard to the side for a while, I concentrated my efforts on other historical pursuits.
Finally, in November of this past year, I had a breakthrough. A box of old newspaper clippings had been donated to the Fayette County Museum, and while there for a meeting, I leafed through them.
Looking back at me from a clipping with the heading, ‘Emmels Vandalia City Band,’ were most of the men in the McLeod photograph sent to May Silvey from Cousin Edna!
The clipping told that the photograph was taken in 1912. Carl Ellis, a member of the 1912 Emmel band, had identified the band members for the newspaper.
Of the 20 Vandalia Band members in my postcard photo, thanks to Carl Ellis and The Leader-Union, I have been able to put names to 16 of them, although some of the identifications are tentative.
Four remain unidentified, and maybe our readers can help out by supplying their names.
Thanks to eBay, a little more Vandalia history made it home.