Banjo by Milton Lash
© Frank Ford, 2003; Photos by FF
The following quote is from a previous owner of this fine early hand made instrument:
"The banjo's original head was signed with the name Milton Lash. Someone (the previous owner I would guess) did the research and discovered that Milton Lash was mustered into the Union Army in PA early on in the war years. He was eventually mustered out in New Jersey I believe. If my memory serves me he suffered from frostbite and received an army pension as a result . The war records that I have describe a carpenter, Milton Lash, who volunteered for enlistment in the 5th Regiment of Artillery N.Y. at age 21 in 1862.
According to Jim Bollman the banjo is correct enough to be a civil war era banjo - an exact date is not possible, however there is be a date on the old head of 1861. The condition is good. The banjo is missing one nut I believe. The tailpiece is a repro - not uncommon in instruments of that age. Someone attempted to ornament the banjo with three position markers at some point in time. You would not have expected these to have been done when originally built. They are crude enough to imply some amount of age. The are filled with some light colored filler. I left them alone as it seems to reasonably chronicle an instrument of this era and what subsequent owners might have done. I do not believe it detracts from the overall esthetic of the instrument."
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