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I’m in a foreign country, the battle has been won.
So, take my body, and ship it back home.
Don’t let my spirit wander in this foreign land.

Ship my body back home to the hills of Pennsylvania,
And lay my body down, to rest by the babbling brook,
And that old weeping willow tree.

I know, I fought hard and I tried to do my best,
I know this war is over at least for me.
So, send my body home so I can get my rest,
Under that old weeping willow tree where I sketched,
Rob loves Mary on the base of that old tree.
Never knowing this is where I would be spending eternity,

So lay my body down and let my spirit run free.
Because in the hills of Pennsylvania in a small town called Frankford that was home to me.
This is where I want to be. Because Rob loves Mary,
it’s still written on the base of that old weeping willow tree.


July 27th 1953

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Only If


If it was mine to give, I’d give you the Stars on dark and lonely nights.

If it was mine to give, I’d give you a ball of fire to keep you warm on cold and stormy nights.

If it was mine to give, I’d take back the pain that you have as you stumble through the night.

If it was mine to give, I’d pluck the pearls from the ocean and hang them around your neck.

If it was mine to give, I’d build you a house in the middle of the sea, on a small island made for a queen.

Only if, it was mine to give.


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The Cowden Drum and the Battle of Gettysburg

The Cowden Drum

From the time the first William Cowden immigrated from Ireland in the 1840’s, the Cowden family has played a prominent role in the history of Philadelphia generally, and in the Northeast section of the city in particular.

The elder William Cowden joined the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War, and his son, also named William, while only in his early teens, enlisted as a drummer boy, as was customary at the time.

During one of the Virginia campaigns in 1862, the marching band of the 114th Regiment, to which the younger William Cowden belonged, after spending the night sleeping in a ditch unseen by the rest of their compatriots, missed the call to evacuate their newly won turf. The band members awoke to the bayonets of their Confederate captors, and were taken to the infamous Libby Prison in Richmond—their instruments confiscated. The 114th Regiment wore the exotic Zoave uniform, as seen in the photograph from 1864.

Marching band of the 114th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

The imprisoned musicians of war were eventually repatriated in a prisoner of war exchange. The people of Frankford magnanimously took up a collection to replace the instruments appropriated by the band’s Confederate captors. This drum is believed to be one of those replaced instruments, and its later use by the younger William Cowden at the Battle of Gettysburg is documented in our acquisition records at the Historical Society of Frankford (HSF).

The drum was donated to the HSF by the Cowden family in 1963—exactly one hundred years after the Battle of Gettysburg—along with the musket used by the elder William Cowden at the landmark Battle.

The younger William Cowden later went on to join the newly reorganized Philadelphia fire department, and right up to the present, several of his descendants have distinguished themselves as local firefighters. He died in 1913—fifty years after the Battle of Gettysburg— while still a resident of Frankford.

The Benjamin Rush Chapter of Questers visited The Historical Society of Frankford and became aware of this drum and it’s history. The idea of conserving the instrument was discussed and raising of funds began.

The Questers is an organization devoted to studying, preserving, and sharing knowledge of history and antiquities. An estimate of work needed to bring the drum back to it’s former condition was obtained by HSF from Lara Kaplan, object conservator. A matching grant from the Pennsylvania Questers was applied for and received.

On July 1st 2020 the check from Pa. Questers was handed to HSF President Jerry Kolankiewicz from Benjamin Rush Quester Mildred Noonan.

The drum was handed over to Lara to begin the restoration.

It is unknown when the repair will be completed at this time. Many months of detailed restoration work are required. When it is returned to the HSF, It will be on permanent display. The exhibit is being planned and lecture in the future will be scheduled.


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How do you expect a star to shine once you take away its glow?
How do you expect a baby not to cry if at times you show it no love?
I understand these are trying times, but in times like this we all need love.
This is not the time to be mean, this is the time to share your dreams,
To look in the mirror and declare, this love I have is for all to share.
Change is coming; so, let’s be fair, this is a cross we all have to bear.
This is not about the rhythm, this is not about the rhyme,
But I know in my heart it’s about time.
Together we stand, united we fall,
Together in love or no love at all.
United we stand with our sisters and our brothers,
peace be  –  the Glory.