The Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps
From Tales of Olde Ipswich by Harold Bowen (1970s). Photo by Bernie Spencer, courtesy of Scott Collum.
“Having spent many years as a custodian in schools and churches, one finds there are many times when you are called upon to do things far beyond the call of duty. And so it was with Warren Grant, who was custodian of the Shatswell School for many years. Probably the one time that stands out in his memory was when Mrs. Greenach, the principal, called him into the office and said, “Mr. Grant. you have had a great deal of experience in teaching fifes and drums. Why can’t we have a fife-and-drum corps here at Shatswell? And you also have a way with children others don’t have.”
After discussing the matter for some time, Mr. Grant consented to do what he could. Not wanting to use any of the children’s school time, it was finally decided to hold rehearsals after school (school was out then at 3:30), and the parents all agreed. So in the fall of 1928, the Shatswell School fife and drum corps was born. About 18 boys were signed up. All that autumn and through the winter the boys rehearsed in earnest. By Memorial Day they were ready to appear in public.
The former Shatswell School on Green St. was constructed in 1926
And so, on May 30, 1929 the Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps made its first appearance in the Memorial Day parade. The uniform of the day was white pants and shirts to
match with black ties. The hat was a white sailor hat. It was agreed that only boys from the fourth or fifth grade should be chosen. Any grade under those was too young. The drum corps made several appearances out of town, including a performance in Beverly at a Christian Endeavor Convention parade and also in a parade in Rowley.
The photo at the top of this page shows Dick Collura had a busy day. In that Memorial Day parade, he marched with the Boy Scouts too. So from going from one to the other he did not have a chance to change. Thus. he appears in a Boy Scout uniform. I think the tall boy playing the drum is Russell Grant.
Central St. parade, students from Shatswell School
The drum corps continued until 1944 when Mr. Grant resigned to go into war work. He later returned to Shatswell under a new principal but did not form another corps. This was not the only thing he did for the school. They gave a talent show there one year which included four different performances that drew a full house each time. He also organized Shatswell Saturday. This was sort of a lawn party affair. The money raised went to buy furniture for a music room in the basement. Mr. Grant is enjoying his well-earned retirement now, but we will always remember him as the janitor who had a way with kids.”
— HAROLD D. BOWEN
88-90 High Street, the Shatswell-Tuttle house (right side by 1690 / left,1806) - The oldest section of the Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell house was built before 1690 for Deacon John Shatswell, who joined the Ipswich settlement in 1633 with his wife and four children. It remained in the family and was the home of Col. Nathaniel Shatswell, famous for his command of Union troops during the Battle of Harris Farm during the Civil War.
The Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps - In the fall of 1928, the Shatswell School Fife and Drum Corps was born. About 18 boys were signed up. All that autumn and through the winter the boys rehearsed in earnest. On May 30, 1929, the Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps made its first appearance in the Memorial Day parade. Madame Shatswell’s cup of tea - Madame Shatswell loved her cup of tea, and as a large store had been stored for family use before the hated tax was imposed, she saw no harm in using it as usual. News of the treason spread throughout the town. Col. Nathaniel Shatswell and the Battle of Harris Farm - At Harris Farm the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment, assembled with Ipswich soldiers, drove the Confederates into the cover of the woods, eventually ending with a Northern victory. The battle claimed over 2000 lives.
More stories by Harold Bowen
The Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps - In the fall of 1928, the Shatswell School Fife and Drum Corps was born. About 18 boys were signed up. All that autumn and through the winter the boys rehearsed in earnest. On May 30, 1929, the Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps made its first appearance in the Memorial Day parade. The Hello Girls - Harold Bowen wrote, "My family was more or less a telephone family. My father, two brothers and a sister-in-Iaw were all telephone operators. The dial system is quicker and more efficient, but it still cannot compare with that personal touch you had with the Hello Girls." The Green Street dam - "It was a poor time in which to build a dam. The winter was very severe and at times the temperature was below zero. The center of the dam was soon washed away, and by spring the new structure had almost disappeared." The Great Agawam Stable Fire - By Harold Bowen, 1975 In the days of stagecoaches, there were several inns along the old Bay Road and High Street. These inns also provided stables in which to house the horses.. One of the later hotels was the Agawam House on North Main Street. In 1806 Nathaniel […] Tales of Olde Ipswich by Harold Bowen - In 1972 Harold Bowen was asked to write a column for a newspaper called Ipswich Today, the first of a series of stories that continued for ten years. Tales of Olde Ipswich was republished in three volumes. Saving the Rooster - The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.
Ipswich in the Civil War - By Harold Bowen: The monument was first erected by the town in 1871 as a memorial to those who died in the Civil War. It had an iron fence all around it and inside the enclosure was a stack of cannon balls in each corner where a flag was inserted. Election night in Ipswich - "The climax of petty officialdom might well have been reached in 1797 when the list of officers chosen at the Town meeting included Selectmen, Overseers, Town Clerk and Treasurer, Tithing-men, Road Surveyors, Fish Committee, Clerk of the Market, Fence Viewers, Haywards, Surveyors of Lumber, Cullers of Fish, Sealers of Leather, Hog-reeves, Gangers of Cask, Sealers of Weights, Measurers of Grain, Corders of Wood, Firewards, Packer of Pork, and Cullers of Brick.” A Wager on the Rooster - In 1900, Raymond Dodge was painting the First Church steeple. Angus Savory bet him five dollars that he didn't dare to go up and sit on the rooster's back.