Civil War drum refurbished, back in Frankford

Lara Kaplan presents the drum to John Hewitt and Susan Couvreur, of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Lara Kaplan and members of Benjamin Rush Questers 1503.
Lara Kaplan (left) and members of the Historical Society of Frankford.
A cake in the shape of the drum.

The Historical Society of Frankford’s Civil War drum has been refurbished and last week was returned to the group’s headquarters, 1507 Orthodox St.

The Benjamin Rush Questers 1503 chapter provided a $1,000 grant for the refurbishing.

The drum was donated to the Historical Society of Frankford by the Cowden family in 1963, exactly 100 years after it was used in the Battle of Gettysburg. Documentation shows that it was used by William Cowden, who was in his teens when he volunteered as a member of the band in the 114th Regiment during the Civil War. William Cowden returned to Frankford after the war, took a job with the Philadelphia Fire Department and spent the rest of his life there.

In recent years, the drum remained in fair condition, but missing parts. In July 2020, it was turned over to Lara Kaplan, objects conservator at Winterthur, a museum in Delaware. Kaplan re-roped the drum after conversations with Civil War re-enactors and provided other improvements.

A lecture on the drum is planned for an undetermined future date at the Society. ••