The singing group known as the 'Tribe of Asa'. Asa was one of the original Hutchinson Family Singers. Photo (taken in 1879) used by permission of the owner, George Fullerton.
The handwritten notes read:
from affect son
Oct 31st 1879.
"Tribe of Asa"
1 Mrs. Asa B. Hutchinson
2 Carrie W. H.
3 Mrs. O. D. H
4 Asa B. H
5 Alice L. H
6. O. D. H. - namesake of Oliver Dennett Grover
According to Alan Lewis, Hutchinson Family Singers historian, the people in the photo are:
[Standing-left to right] Alice Logan, Carrie Wescott
[Seated-left to right] Oliver Dennett Hutchinson, Asa Hutchinson, Nelly (Drew) Hutchinson (Dennett's wife), Joanna Hutchinson (Asa's second wife)
From _Harps in the Wind_, by Carol Brink, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1947, p. 189:
"It would be fruitless and wearisome to try to untangle the various combinations of performers at Hutchinson concerts from [late 1858] on. Sometimes they hired outside singers or accompanists, sometimes they came together again for a few weeks in peace and amity. But out of the confusion of chance performances emerged the two main branches of singers: the Tribe of John and the Tribe of Asa. The children had inherited the family talent for music, and, young as they were, they were pressed into service. The Tribe of John consisted of John, Fanny and the the two children, Henry and Viola. More and more they tended to sing in the East, while the Tribe of Asa (Asa, Lizzie [Asa's first wife], young Abby, Freddie and later Dennett) sang in the West. Asa loved the West; he loved the new town [Hutchinson, Minnesota] which bore the family name."
Lizzie died in 1874, and Asa remarried not long after. According to Brink, pp. 264-5:
"[Joanna] was much younger than Asa, and she did not sing, but she had a flair for management. 'A woman nobly planned, Born to comfort and command,' quoted one newspaper in describing her. Perhaps the last word of the couplet is the key to her character.
"The Tribe of Asa suddenly took on new life. Abby left it to return to her family in Hutchinson, but Dennett, laughing instead of 'crying over spilled milk,' remained.
"And now there appeared a succession of 'adopted daughters,' Miss Mittie, Miss Jennie, Miss Romie, Miss Nellie, Miss Lottie, Miss Ella, Miss Carrie and Miss Alice. They had fresh faces and good voices and they sang again the old, beloved songs which the first Abbie and Lizzie had introduced and made popular.
"The new Tribe of Asa toured slowly westward, getting excellent press notices and enthusiastic audiences. The 'adoption' of Miss Carrie and Miss Alice proved to be somewhat more permanent than that of the others, and they were the recipients of floral offerings and lingering farewells at train time, the delight of lonely young men in dull Western towns.
"Dennett added another valued member to the troupe in the three years before they reached Colorado. She was Nellie Drew of Portland, Maine, an accomplished pianist and organist, pretty, of a well-to-do family, and far too good, her parents thought, to marry into the the ranks of the nomadic Hutchinsons. But Dennett, irresponsible as in many ways he was, had inherited the fatal Hutchinson charm, and Nellie married him and joined the Tribe as accompanist."
The following grave marker is located in the Hutchinson, Minnesota Cemetery. Photos provided 12 December 2003 by Roy Hutchinson.
This site is maintained by: Dave Carlsen
Last Updated 19 April 2011