The Midget Band

This photograph is from my grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham’s album. On the back, my mother wrote “Cousins on mother’s side Annie Bell is first cousin (see her & husband on left – rest are their children!)” 

"Martin Marching Band"
Edward Napier Martin, Anabel McCall Martin, and chlidren Estil Edwin, Edward Napier, Jefferson, Anna Marie, Edward McCall, Geneva, Thelma. In Florida.

Until yesterday, I never found any information about the family band. Today I want to share two articles and what I learned from them about the family. Anna Belle is variously known as “Annie Belle”, “Anabel” and “Anna Belle”.

The Emancipator was published by James Edward McCall, Anna Belle’s brother, in Montgomery, Alabama from October 1917 to August 1920. While looking for the name “Martin” in The Emancipator, I found this item –

· Sat, Oct 18, 1919 – 4 · The Emancipator (Montgomery, Alabama) ·

“Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Martin and their Midget and arrived in the city Sunday night en-route from Florida to Kentucky making the trip by road in their motor car.”

A mention of the band!   I also found when the family moved from Florida to Kentucky and that they traveled in their own car.  Next, I searched for “Midget Band”. Several articles come up, all in The Emancipator. The best was the one below, which included a photograph of the family. One thing that disturbs me about both photos is the forlorn look of all the children. Why don’t the boys in the photo below have on shoes? A barefoot marching band? Were they getting enough to eat?

In the article I found that their son, Edward McCall Martin  was born in Alabama because his father was teaching there. The article says that Edward Napier Martin had taught at the State Normal School six years before. That was the year young Edward was born – 1913.  All of the other children were born in Tennessee or Kentucky, while Edward McCall Martin was consistently listed as born in Alabama. I wondered why and how. Now I know.

· Sat, Jul 5, 1919 – 7 · The Emancipator (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.comMontgomery, Alabama, July-

“The musical, social and intellectual circles of the city are congratulating themselves upon the appearance of one of the most unique and highly interesting musical organizations that has ever visited Montgomery, namely Prof E.N. Martin’s Band which is composed almost entirely of midget musicians, the youngest being only three years old. It is the musical miracle of the age.

Prof. Martin, who six years ago was one of the teachers at the local Normal School, is a band master of rarest ability. He is accompanied by his wife who was formerly Miss Anabel McCall of this city, and their seven children ranging in age from three to eleven years. they are all trained musician and read notes at sight. They carry with them a brass band septette and two drums and is a revelation to listen to their music. Their director is only four years old and is a wonder. They are in the concert work and are already booked for a number of engagements in this city.

Prof. Martin’s Band carries with it many strong endorsements from some of the prominent citizens and musicians of our country. For example, Bishop Laine, founder of Laine College at Jackson, Tenn., says of them:- “I have never seen anything like this in my life, and in it I see the finest lessons in home-training that has ever come to my notice, and I have traveled all over this country.

While the band was giving an open air concert in Montgomery, some one asked of their nationality, whereupon Dr. M.B. Kirkpatrick who has offices are in the Bell Building, said “It matters not about their nationality. Just listen to the music.  It is the sweetest I have ever heard.”

They carry souvenirs from musicians of note, such as Sousa’s Band, Hawaiian Singers and others, who testify as to their talent and efficiency as musicians. Visit some of their concerts and be convinced.

Prof. Martin is a traveling representative for the Emancipator, the South’s leading Negro newspaper, which is being read all over America. This wonderful band will be in Montgomery for the next three weeks and churches or individuals wishing to have them fill engagements in near-by towns should write to Prof. E.N. Martin, 336 S. Jackson St., Montgomery, Ala. or in the care of the Emancipator.”

Other Posts about this family.

Oh, Dry Those Tears

Police Surprised “Uncle Ed”

More About Annabell’s Family

Click for more Sepia Saturday posts.

Howard Turner Killed in Lowndes County, Alabama

Killed In Lowndes

Howard Turner of This City Killed at a Colored Folks Picnic.

Hayneville, June 30. -[Special.]-  Last Saturday the colored people had a picnic across Big Swamp near Hayneville. The result is Howard Turner, who came from Montgomery was killed by one Phillip McCall.  Too much whisky and too many pistols. Phillip surrendered this morning.”  The Weekly Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) Thursday, July 10, 1891 Page 2

We were always told that my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s father was killed at a barbeque when she was four years old. After years of being unable to find any documentation, I found this news item on Newspapers. dot com today.  I was just looking for various people in the newspapers when I came across it.

Howard Turner’s widow with their daughters. Jennie Virginia Allen Turner holding Daisy Turner (my great grandmother) and my grandmother Fannie sitting there holding her hat.

I have found so much new information since I started this blog that I feel the need to go back and put it all together for the various branches. My project for 2018.

The Celebrated Tulane Coffee

Naomi Tulane about four years old. 1904. (Copyright Jacqui Vincent)

This photograph of my grandmother Fannie’s cousin, Naomi Vincent was printed on the cans of Tulane Coffee.  This was one of her father Victor Tulane’s many projects, which included real estate, founding a Penny Bank, and owning Tulane’s Grocery. He was also on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute and a generally active citizen of Montgomery. I found the advertisement below in the Montgomery Advertiser.

V.H. Tulane, Prop. was married to my great grandmother’s sister, Willie Lee (Allen) Tulane. Miss Fannie M. Turner, Mgr., was my maternal grandmother.

Years later, he traveled North selling Alaga Syrup. Naomi traveled with him and it was on a trip to New York City that she met her future husband, Dr. Ubert Vincent.

Alphonso Brown, Victoria McCall, 1970 photo of former Tulane Grocery, More recent photo of empty building.


A blog post about an exciting night at the Tulane Grocery Store  He Had Hidden Him Under the Floor

Click photo for more Sepia Saturday posts.