DISPUTE OVER BLIND TOM.
Several Persons at Funeral Deny That Body Was That of Musician.
Thomas Wiggins, who loved most of all the swish of tree boughs and leaves in the wind and the howl of the blast under the eaves and the patter of rain against shingle or window pane, was buried yesterday.
At the chapel of the Frank Campbell Undertaking Company in West Twenty-third Street a small group of mourners gathered to see the body of "Blind Tom" sent away for burial. The stained-glass windows over the chapel were beaten by the branches of several trees in the rear of the building, for the wind was high at 2 o'clock, the clouds overcast and the rain falling in sheets. Between the wheezing notes of a time-worn melodeon the music of the elements sounded in the ears of the little company gathered to pay a last tribute to the negro musician. His own funeral march, composed for his obsequies, was not played. The young woman at the melodeon, when asked about this neglect, asked in turn:
"Did he compose a funeral march?"
Mrs. Albert J. Lerche of Hoboken, the legal guardian for "Blind Tom," her daughter and a few children were the only ones to accompany the body to Evergreen Cemetery. The little group of mourners who had come through the storm to be present at the funeral were about evenly divided between whites and blacks.
There was one old "auntie" from Maryland who had heard Tom play three times. There was an actor, who said that his career went back into civil war times. He had heard Blind Tom often on his tours through the country. There was also another of his profession, a woman. After a close scrutiny of the dead she said:
"That is not the famous Blind Tom. I know that negro, for when I was hard up not many years ago I did a turn with him in several Hoboken music halls. He was blind, was led to and fro by a white boy, and was highly intelligent, which the original Blind Tom was not, and he and I have talked about the real Blind Tom. I am positive that ...