With a name like Benjamin Franklin Crumling, perhaps a Mt. Wolf merchant with musical talent was destined to compose patriotic songs.
Crumling was born in Hellam Township in 1869. He grew up there, marrying Anna Mary Frey. He was a merchant for more than fifty years, first in Hellam Township, and then Mt. Wolf.
Even as a busy grocer and father of seven, B. F. Crumling still had time for music, leading both the Mt. Wolf band and the Mt. Wolf Cornet band for many years. Another outlet for his musical talent was composing patriotic tunes. The York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives has sheet music for two of these:
Salute the Flag was published in 1928. The words were written by Charles A. Lutz with music by B. F. Crumling–afitting melody for Flag Day and the Fourth of July.
Crumling wrote both the words and music for other piece of sheet music at YCHT. The sad composition, Dear Mothers Do Not Weep, for Your Dear Sons across the Deep, commemorated World War I losses. The chorus repeats the title and then:
They gave their lives for you and me,
So far away across the sea.
Their hearts were right with God,
As on the soil of France they trod,
There called away, how sad to hear,
In heav’n I’ll meet my son so dear.
It was published in 1919, and the back cover advertised Crumling’s bid for York County Commissioner. He didn’t win. I’m sure his heart was in the right place writing the song to remember the fallen soldiers, but I wonder if a more upbeat composition would have been more helpful in a local political campaign.