17 October 2014

Exodus From Detroit With A Harpsichord

Source [Not Dr. Harpfy's Harpsichord]

 [Dr. William] Harpfy was a surgeon in the British garrison [at Detroit] and when the Exodus took place in 1796.  He was moved to the new establishment at Malden and he took his harpsichord with him. Among his most intimate friends at Detroit were John Askin and Commodore Alexander Grant.

From The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922... :

"The first record we have of this harpsichord is contained in a letter from Dr. Harpfy to his friend John Askin...dated October 17, 1799."  "...he turns his attention to the subject of music, and says, 'Curse the music; I wish it was sold. I care not for what as all my wants and wishes to attain are not worth the pains or trouble to my friends. You will favor me if it could be in any way disposed of."'

"What more proper place for such a piece of furniture than the Castle of  Commodore Grant, where it could receive the attention of so many young ladies. Harpfy and Askin concluded that the Castle was in need of just such an article, and one day, when one of the Commodore's boats was at Malden, they slipped the instrument aboard and it was soon landed at Grosse Pointe."

"Then came the fun."

"It was so old and dilapidated that it was useless and in the way. No one wanted it. Only the old friendship existing between Grant and Harpfy prevented the former from casting the musical instrument into outer darkness. Grant complained to the doctor and asked him to take the piece away from his home."

The Night Train To Detroit blog also featured Dr. Harpfy and the harpsichord.

No comments: