On behalf of the Farmington Historical Society, Jane Woodman, treasurer, left, accepts a Civil War drum built in the 1860s by Increase Blake of Farmington Falls, from Sharon Haynes of Bath.

FARMINGTON — A Civil War drum, made in Farmington Falls about 150 years ago, was brought back to Farmington on Friday.

The drum was made by Increase Blake, one of three drum manufacturers in Farmington Falls in the 1860s. Blake was the only one who had a government contract to make drums for the war, said Jane Woodman, treasurer of the Farmington Historical Society.

“He was paid $8 to $10 for each drum made,” she said.

The Historical Society acquired the drum to go with a drum mold used by Blake to manufacture drums, she said. It will complete a display of Civil War drums at the Titcomb House on Academy Street.

“I’m glad it is finally here,” said Sharon Haynes of Bath, as she and Kurt Olsen delivered the drum, a fife and uniform caps to the Titcomb House.

Where the drum has been prior to the late 1950s is unknown. It was found by Haynes’ father, W. Linwood Haynes, in the late ’50s at the Bath city dump.

He was musical and a sister was interested in playing drums, but Haynes was unsure why he decided to bring it home. No one knows who had it or why they decided to dump it.

It had one head and one hoop missing, Sharon Haynes said. Another hoop was cracked and it had no ropes. But, through a small hole on the side, a label from Increase Blake, drum manufacturer from Farmington Falls, can still be clearly seen.

The drum was used to communicate with soldiers on the battlefield. The drumbeats provided instruction on how and when to move as they were heard above the battle sounds, according to online descriptions.

The drum was placed in the Haynes’ cellar and remained there for about 40 years until the family cleared the house to sell it, she said.

For some reason, Haynes said she felt she should keep “this treasure from the dump.”

She attempted to find it a home.

“As it was dated from the Civil War era, we referred it to friends from New York who were historians,” she said. “They belonged to the Civil War Troopers, of Newburgh, New York, a fife and drum marching band which boasted drummers out of West Point.” 

The friends wanted to restore it and took it to a drum shop in Connecticut.

Haynes thought maybe it would make a good drum for a youngster joining the Troopers band, but there were no takers, she said. So they brought it back to Maine. 

In 2015, Haynes and Olsen decided it was time to take it back to where it was created.

They took it to Farmington Falls where a store clerk referred them to the Historical Society. The Titcomb House was closed when they arrived, but a neighbor sent them on to SugarWood Gallery. Owners and Historical Society members Dan and Janice Maxham were interested and contacted Woodman who came to see the drum.

It took some time and some fundraising but last week, Woodman told the society’s board that it was time to make a decision. They agreed to buy the drum.

“We’re glad to have the drum,” society President Al McDaniel said. “It is pretty special.”

A quick search provided little information about Increase Blake or the other drum makers, Woodman said.

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A Civil War drum, built in the 1860s by Increase Blake of Farmington Falls, has come home to Farmington. The Farmington Historical Society, which owns a mold used by Blake to make drums, now has one of his drums.

On behalf of Farmington Historical Society, Jane Woodman, treasurer, left, accepts a Civil War drum built in the 1860s by Increase Blake of Farmington Falls, from Sharon Haynes and Kurt Olsen of Bath.

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