Excitement was in the air at the Comanche County Historical Museum in Comanche, Texas this past Monday, when members of the Fraiser/Coan families arrived, bringing with them a new piece for the museum and more especially for the soon to be new Duster room.
When I arrived, the fun was just beginning…
…Board member Cliff Conway was working to untie the protective wrapping on the item.
Board members Henry Adcock and Richard Pinkard were ready with the plywood that would help “walk” the item from the truck to the sidewalk.
And Missy Jones was waiting inside, doing the “smart stuff” like the paperwork required to accept a new item for the museum.
It wasn’t long before a beautiful piano emerged. This particular piano is believed to have come from the old Duster schoolhouse. It was located in a storage building on 31st Street in Odessa, Texas. All the owner knew was that it came from a school that burned near De Leon. This led members of the Fraiser/Coan family to believe that it came from their own stomping grounds in Duster!
In no time at all, the piano was inside and Henry and Missy were opening it for markings and dates. It turns out that this beautiful piano was patented on September 24, 1895, by that very, very famous piano company, W.W. Kimball Piano Company of Chicago.
Also hand written inside the piano is H.B. Bourland 6-9-26 and H.B. Bourland 8-1st-36 Brownwood, Texas. Just who was this Mr. Bourland? Could he have been a piano tuner?
At the moment, no one knows the answer to these questions. We also do not know how it is that this piano came to escapte the fire (arson according to the Fraiser/Coan family) that claimed the Duster Schoolhouse in the late 30’s.
All the museum’s board members know is that they are thrilled to have this beautiful old piece to add to their new Duster room. And this brings me to a thought.
If you are not supporting the museum with your dollars, your time, and your family stories, you are really missing out. Places like the Comanche County Historical Museum exist off of donations, and it is very expensive to keep the doors open. It is also impossible to keep them open without volunteers to do so. Comanche has one of the best small-town museums in the state, and it needs you to help it stay that way!
Louetta Stacy, Verdell Miller, Bob Fraiser, and James Fraiser donated the historic piano to the museum. They are all members of the Thomas Elijah Fraiser and Thomas Jefferson Coan families.
As I left the museum, board members were planning a special day to honor William Calhhoun, U.S. Military (WWII). A Sunday afternoon in October is being discussed.