Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 2, 2014

A drummer boy's gift plays on


Until the celebration over the armistice ending World War I, the drum was rarely touched. As the story goes, the last time the drum was played was on Armistice Day in November 1919. Family accounts say the drum made its way around the neighborhood sounding the celebration before returning home.

For the next 60 years, it sat quietly on an upright piano near the entrance to the family home. About 40 years ago, the drum passed to a new Smart generation for the last time. It found a place of honor in a guest bedroom where, except for an occasional gentle dusting, it lived a quiet life.

Some 20 years ago, the family began to consider whether the drum and accompanying heirlooms might be better off in a historical society where they could be professionally conserved — and their amazing story more widely told. Those conversations ultimately led our gentleman donor to our front door.

The drum now has a new life as a treasured part of our collection. So, too, does the story of George Smart, of his father, Hugh; and of his family. It was an honor for me to hear those stories, to share them with you and to now include them as part of our vibrant and living history. The Andover Historical Society is forever grateful to the Smart family descendants for donating these incredibly well-preserved artifacts and for the stories that will continue to bring them to life.

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