Posts Tagged 'O. W. Norton'

Letter reveals Chautauqua family’s ties to first playing of ‘Taps’

Letter reveals Chautauqua family’s ties to first playing of ‘Taps’

Twelve years before the Chautauqua Institution was founded, a member of what would become one of Chautauqua’s most musically invested families played “Taps” for the first time.

Oliver Willcox Norton, whose grandson was Chautauqua opera patron Paul Norton, served Union General Daniel Butterfield as brigade bugler. When Butterfield revised the “Scott Tattoo” bugle call into what is now known as “Taps,” Norton was the first to play it in July of 1862, replacing the end-of-day signal. Throughout the years, “Taps” evolved into the funeral honors sounded at wreath-laying ceremonies and memorial services for the uniformed dead.

O.W. Norton was mustered into Company G, Erie Regiment on April 21, 1861. After three months of inaction, the regiment disbanded in July. A new regiment formed after the first battle of Bull Run called the Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers. Norton became the bugler for Company K.