The Samford Band


         The Samford family was one of the pioneer settlers in Shelby County.  Elkania Samford and two of his brothers came to the county from Alabama.  One of Elkania's descendants sand that he traded a pocket watch and a yoke of oxen for a league of land that was about 640 acres.  This tract included the land where the original Shelby County Courthouse now stand.    


            The Samford Band was the once famous old band that played for schools, civic and community gatherings throughout East Texas.  The beginning of the musician's group is said to have started when a Mr. Jones, who was related to the Dalton Jones Family, joined the group.   Mr. Jones worked for a sawmill located between Center and Joaquin. He new how to blow a horn that he owned, and he taught other members to play.
         Later, the other four Samford Brothers learned to play the same horn.  When Mr. Jones moved away, he gave the horn to the Samford Brothers, who later bought horns of their own.  The Samfords formed the ELM GROVE Band, name after the community in which they lived.  The five Samford brothers were Duke, age nine and the youngest, the leader, Johnnie, Oney, Herman and Matt age eleven.  
        Later they changed the name to  THE CENTER BAND and Ed Warr was added as the first drummer and Jim Harrison to beat the drums.  Liege Matthews, Bob and Barto McLendon played cornets, Johnnie Samford's two sons, Abner and Nugent, along with Mr. McDaniel were members at one time. 
        The name was changed again to the SAMFORD BAND, which was the last time a name change was made.  They received invitations from throughout Texas to play for carnivals, Concerts, Political gatherings and contests.
        The Samford Band marched in a large parade down Main Street in Houston, competing with nine other bands for a first place in a band contest.  The band was well received other bands stopped and listened and the crowed were amazed at the skill of the cornet player.


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Edited from Shelby County History Book, Vol. 1

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