The “American Band” of Westbrook, Maine

Today I share yet another eBay find. I purchased this a while back and due to its oversized format, I wasn’t able to put it through any of my scanners. It is mounted on thick Cardboard stock as well which limited my options.

I’ve recently been making use of a program for my phone called Microsoft Lens. It is a remarkable little tool to add to yours as well. It allows you to take an image with your phone and then to make a few minor adjustments with your fingers to outline the edges. When you are finished you hit “Done” and it squares the whole image up as if it had been placed on a flatbed scanner. It’s nothing short of miraculous for large items and actually makes a more color rich image than my scanner does. It’s also free!

I pulled the photo out once again this weekend and was pondering my options when it occurred to me that I could use Microsoft Lens for this project. A few minutes later I was off to the races. I did some research on the people identified on the back of the photo. The message is a little cryptic, so some detective work was in order.

The cursive writing made this a bit difficult to decipher. But I got there and determined that it reads:

HS Babb over the M in American on the drum
Oct 30, 1892
Harley Babb, Howard’s half-brother, is 6th from right of those standing

From the message I could assume that Howard was the first name for HS. Also, the drumskin identifies the location as Westbook, Maine. This location is well known as one of the earliest hotspots of Babb activity in the US. Within a few minutes I had identified that HS was Howard Selden Babb (1849-1909) The brother Harley is listed in our tree as Harlan P Babb. They are half-brothers through their father David Webster Babb (1825-1896).

As a Band Geek myself, I can see that they both appear to play Trumpets. Harlan clearly isn’t the 1st Trumpet, or he would have better location in a place of honor, which is where his older brother Howard is standing. Harlan’s instrument is partially covered by the French Horn in the foreground. It appears that they were a marching band as the Drum Major is clearly visible in white on the back row.

The band appears to have been very active at this point in time and regularly appears in the local papers with more than a dozen articles/month mentioning their name. The majority of the articles during the month that the photo was taken discuss them pairing up with the American Cadet Bank for an annual Gala.

Your Moment of Zen

I’m happy to confirm that Howard Selden Babb became the Leader of the Band. This article serves as confirmation of that fact. It is very possible that he was the leader already 7 years prior when the photo was taken. Regardless, his stature is self-evident.

Howard’s 2nd Great Grandfather, James Babb (1704-1748), settled in Westbrook as early as 1742. James was the grandson of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals through Phillip’s 5th son Peter.

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