Thursday, October 8, 2009

He Wrote The Songs

The Minstrel of Merrimack, Walter Kittredge was born October 8th 1834.

Walter Kittredge was born in Merrimack New Hampshire, the part known as Reed’s Ferry on October 8th 1834. He was the son of Eri and Lucretia [Woods] Kittredge. Kittredge was a self taught musician, making his first instrument from the stock of an onion. He became a traveling musician, performing along and with the minstrel Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford New Hampshire. Kittredge married in 1860 to Annie Fairfield and settled on a farm about a mile from where he grew up.

He was kept from Civil War military service do to a bout with Rheumatic Fever. He did his service through his music. Kittredge wrote over five hundred songs, including “When They Come Marching Home”, and “Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground”. These were songs sung by both the Union and Confederate soldiers.

Kittredge held several government offices in Reed’s Ferry and was a founding member of the Thornton Grange in Merrimack. He sang his last song there at the 30th Anniversary meeting. Walter Kittredge died at this home July 8th 1905, and was buried in the Last Rest Cemetery in Merrimack New Hampshire. There is a bronze marker in the lobby of the New Hampshire State House in Concord in his memory.

For more information about Walter Kittredge and his songs
Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground

No comments: