Brothers of John Philip Sousa

Antony August Sousa (1868-1918) – He went by the nickname “Tony” and was known as an athlete, composer, author, poet and newspaperman among his other talents. At the time of his death, he had been a government employee for 33 years. His athletic talents and interests included baseball and cricket and while in Washington was known to be a frequent contributor to newspaper sporting columns. At the time of his death, he was on assignment in Rocky Ford, Colorado in connection with the sugar beet industry and had been accompanied by his son Allen, perhaps due to his ill health. One of the articles concerning his life fondly recalled that he spoke with a Spanish accent and pronounced the word baseball as “bas’a-ball.” It also referred to Tony with these comments, “His mind was clean, his tongue pure. He loved music and good spaghetti, the sun on green grass, the ripple of the Potomac under the moon, the thud of the flying tackle, the crash of the Johnson ‘smoke ball’ in Ainsmith’s glove.” Another newspaper account mentioned the “Sousa Juvenile Comedy Company” having performed at an institution known as the Government Hospital for the Insane. The program included a “burietta” (a musical farce) entitled “Sunbeams and Snowflakes” composed by Tony Sousa and another individual. That work was performed for the entertainment of the staff and residents of the hospital. Tony’s cause of death was said to be the “white plague” which at the time was a term for tuberculosis. The article also mentioned that he had been sent to Colorado by the Agriculture Department in hopes that the climate would restore his health. Tony was survived by his wife, the former Candace Cohill, and their children.

George W. Sousa (1860-1913) – George was a cornet player, percussionist and librarian with the United States Marine Corps Band for thirty years, having enlisted as an apprentice musician while he was still a teenager. Most of his life he had resided in Washington, D.C. but after about 1908, he had lived in Hampton, Virginia where he was engaged in the poultry business. While in the Marine Band, he played cornet and served as a percussionist for about twenty years. For about the last ten years of his tenure, he served as librarian. In his obituary, it was noted that he had set up his own system for indexing the music and that he was unusually familiar with all the selections in the library. He died at the age of about 52 and was survived by his wife, the former Cora Ann Spry, and their five children. No cause of death is noted.

Louis Sousa (1872-1929) – Louis was not a musician, but instead, he worked as a machinist in the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. for about thirty years. He was the youngest male sibling of John Philip Sousa and was survived by his wife, the former Estelle Henshaw Edelen and their children. No cause of death is noted.

Their father, Joao “John Antonio” Sousa, was born in Andalucia, Spain in 1824. He and his wife, the former Marie Elizabeth Trinkhaus (of German descent), came to the United States in 1854. John Antonio joined the Marine Band that same year as a trombonist. served in the United States Marine Corps Band until his retirement in 1879 amounting to about twenty-five years. At the time of his death in 1892, the Marine Band was on tour, under the direction of his son John Philip Sousa who was principal conductor from 1880 to 1892.

As noted above, John Antonio, the father, John Philip and George Sousa all served in the Marine Band. Their combined years of service amount to some 65 years, not counting the six years that John Philip Sousa was an apprentice. Accordingly, the Sousas are listed below as being one of the “legacy” families of the organization.

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