More than a century ago, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, many small communities across America had their own musical bands. Comprised of local citizens, they played in parades and at holiday gatherings and were a great source of hometown pride.
Cousin Alfred Arthur "Alf" Younkin, second from left, back row, played what appears to be a trombone in the Casselman Cornet Band in Casselman, Somerset County, PA. The date on this image is not yet known, but certainly it was before 1910, by which time he had migrated to North Dakota.
The faces in the photograph are: back row, left to right, Billy Scott and Alfred Younkin (trombones), Harry Weimer, Harry Heil, Charlie Pritts, Roscoe Shank (cornet); middle row, left to right, Ray Mickey, Howard Heinbaugh, Orville Heinbaugh, S. Pritts, Harry J. Hechler, Frank Wiltrout (clarinet); and front row, left to right, Raleigh Whipkey (drum), Blair Kirpatrick, (?), Cal Liphart, Roy Mickey, (?) director (base drum). This image was published in the 1985 book Down the Road of Our Past, published by the Rockwood Area Historical & Genealogical Society.
The adopted son of of Charles and Sarah (Artest) Younkin, Alfred married a cousin, Lillian Rhoads, daughter of James and Minnie (Younkin) Rhoads, also of Somerset County. Together, they eventually migrated to Washington State and became pioneer apple growers, establishing their own orchard in Wenatchee, Chelan County, continued after their deaths by their son James "Melvin" Younkin. Another son, Leland Alfred "Lee" Younkin, piloted a B-24 bomber during World War II and flew 100 missions over enemy territory. A granddaughter, Diana (Younkin) Burnell Egan, was deeply interested in her family history, edited and printed her father Mel's wartime memoirs and founded the Younkin Reunion-West in Salem, Oregon.
Other community bands have been featured as our Photo of the Month during the website's two decades online -- Kansas Civil War veterans (January 2002) - Mill Run, PA (November 2012) - and Hopwood, PA (July 2018).