Stories

Union Pacific Band 1871

by Gene Poast

Union Pacific Band 1871

Members of the Band are: Top row, Harry Brewer, base drum; Joseph Ahlquist, cymbals; Charles Ahlquist,Alto; Louis Leeder, tenor; Albert Engstrom, alto; Fred Zwifel, tenor; Elisha Dunn, baritone; John Brant, tuba; James Christie, snare drum. Bottom row, William Ahlquist, cornet; Harry Jackson, cornet; Alfred R. Toozer, leader; Victor Engstrom, cornet; Sam Mallette, alto; Andrew Eberz, cornet.

Between 1867 and 1905, Alfred R. Toozer worked at several positions for the UP. He formed a band made up of UP employees and served as its leader for 12 years. Previously, he had served as a drummer with the British Army Band in the Crimean War.

The Jan. 10, 1883, Daily Bee, forerunner of the Omaha World Herald, referred to the band as, "... the best band in the western country, and Prof. Toozer is intitled to the credit for making it so." Descendants of Professor Toozer continue to this day working for the UP. Nearly 100 members of this family work or have worked for the UP.

Members of the Band are: Top row, Harry Brewer, base drum; Joseph Ahlquist, cymbals; Charles Ahlquist,Alto; Louis Leeder, tenor; Albert Engstrom, alto; Fred Zwifel, tenor; Elisha Dunn, baritone; John Brant, tuba; James Christie, snare drum. Bottom row, William Ahlquist, cornet; Harry Jackson, cornet; Alfred R. Toozer, leader; Victor Engstrom, cornet; Sam Mallette, alto; Andrew Eberz, cornet.

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1867-1905
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Omaha, NE
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