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History, trivia and other information submitted by readers of our webpage

This photo was sent to us by Ms. Gail (Gregg) Ferris of Central City, Nebraska, following our Fall 1998 tour of the Midwest. It shows an ancestor of hers who performed with the John Philip Sousa Band. Brazilla "Ben" Halsey, is in the front row on the right side. Ms. Ferris included the following information about the photo:

Brazilla "Ben" Halsey, the brother of my great grandmother, Eva Halsey Gregg, was born in Meigs County, Ohio, on September 15, 1874. His parents, Ferdinand Augustus Halsey and Lorania (Harper) Halsey, settled in Merrick County, Nebraska, in 1878 with their family and began homesteading. Ben's father, Ferdinand, was a musician playing the violin or fiddle; he played dances according to a diary of Ben's younger sister.

Dustin Halesy, a brother of Ben's, was Chief Musician during the War with Spain in the 10th Ohio Infantry (1898-1899) and Sergeant of Band during the Philippine Insurrection in the 31st U. S. Volunteer Infantry (1899-1901). The obituary of Ben states, "he was a Spanish American War veteran". Ben died on August 8, 1962 in Ann Arbor, MI. His obituary further states, "An accomplished concert musician, Mr. Halsey played with the John Philip Sousa Band, the Innes European Band, and the Herbert Clarke Band." He was instrumental in locating the Sprouse-Reitz Variety stores in Arizona.

Ms. Ferris can be contacted at

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