McKusick 1Born April 13, 1844 in Limerick, Maine, Leroy Plummer Chase McKusick enlisted in the 2nd Regiment of the District of Columbia Infantry at the beginning of the Civil War. He fought at Bull Run (1861), Antietam (1862), and had his boot heel shot off at Gettysburg (1863). McKusick joined the military band in 1863, playing the solo alto horn until the end of the war in 1865. He played at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral as the band escorted the late president’s body from the Capitol at Washington, D.C. to the railroad station where Lincoln’s body rested in the funeral train before going to Springfield, Illinois.[1]

On August 22, 1867, McKusick married Martha Eleanor Rand of Southport, Maine. They had six children: Mabel Lavinia Baker (1868), Arther Leroy McKusick (1870), Albert Rand McKusick (1875), Meredith Hall McKusick (1878), Jennie Ardelle Lyman (1880), and Forrest Nahum McKusick (1883).[2] One of McKusick’s daughters recorded his war experiences in a letter to his grand-daughter Martha, named for his wife.

Few records exist of McKusick’s life after the Civil War. In 1879 McKusick became an honorary member for life of the American Baptist Missionary Union by donating one hundred dollars to the mission.[3] In 1908, the Cambridge Chronicle documents that McKusick participated in a Memorial Day Service by decorating the graves of his fallen comrades in the North Cambridge cemetery.[4] In 1912 the newspaper further records that “Leroy C. McKusick and his son-in-law and wife, Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Baker, with their three children left Monday for West Southport, ME., to spend July and August.”[5] In 1915 records show that McKusick, age 72, lived in the Soldiers’ Home at Chelsea, Massachusetts.[6]

On May 3, 1917 at the age of 73, McKusick died at Chelsea, Massachusetts. His story and alto horn remained in the family until 2014 when Lois McGee, great-granddaughter of McKusick gave the horn to this author. I currently possess two photographs of Leroy McKusick, his alto horn, made by Hall & Quinby of Boston, and his music book that he played from while in the military band.

 -Hannah S. Bowers

Historical Documents

McKusick 1Inscription: LeRoy C. MacKusick age. 41.  Born April 13, 1844. Grandfather of Elsworth, Paul, Martha.

McKusick 2 Inscription: 1912. Martha 6 years of age, born December 4.  Grandfather 69, born April 13. Mother 44, born June 12.

cardMcKusick’s Civil War card.

noteNote from McKusick’s daughter.

music bookCivil War band music book.

horn 1Inscription documenting horn maker.

horn 2horn 3McKusick’s alto horn.

 Bibliography

American Baptist Missionary Union, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, vol. 59, (Boston: Franklin Press, 1879), 283.

Board of Trustees, Thirty-third Annual Report of the Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts at Chelsea, (Boston: Griffith-Stillings Press, 1915), 50.

“Cambridge Births, 455,” The Massachusetts Vital Records Project, last modified 2014, accessed August 20, 2014, http://ma-vitalrecords.org/MA/Middlesex/Cambridge/Images/ Cambridge_B455.shtml.

“Leroy C. McKusick: Private of the Union Army,” Find the Best, last modified 2014, accessed August 20, 2014, http://civil-war-soldiers.findthebest.com/l/3727120/Leroy-C-McKusick.

“Leroy Plummer Chase McKusick,” Geni, last modified 2011, accessed August 20, 2014, http://www.geni.com/people/Leroy-McKusick-MacKusick/6000000013144327776.

“Personal Mention,” Cambridge Chronicle, July 6, 1912, accessed August 20, 2014, http://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/cgi-bin/cambridge?a=d&d=Chronicle19120706-01.2.117#.

“POST 186, G. A. R.,” Cambridge Chronicle, May 30, 1908, accessed August 20, 2014, http://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/cgi-bin/cambridge?a=d&d=Chronicle19080530-01.2.126#.

[1] This information has been passed down through the family in a personal note written by Leroy McKusick’s daughter.

[2] “Leroy Plummer Chase McKusick,” Geni, last modified 2011, accessed August 20, 2014, http://www.geni.com/people/Leroy-McKusick-MacKusick/6000000013144327776.

[3] American Baptist Missionary Union, The Baptist Missionary Magazine, vol. 59, (Boston: Franklin Press, 1879), 283.

[4] “POST 186, G. A. R.,” Cambridge Chronicle, May 30, 1908, accessed August 20, 2014, http://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/cgi-bin/cambridge?a=d&d=Chronicle19080530-01.2.126#.

[5] “Personal Mention,” Cambridge Chronicle, July 6, 1912, accessed August 20, 2014, http://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/cgi-bin/cambridge?a=d&d=Chronicle19120706-01.2.117#.

[6] Board of Trustees, Thirty-third Annual Report of the Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts at Chelsea, (Boston: Griffith-Stillings Press, 1915), 50.

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