top of page

John Dolan and Minnie Kramer

by John F Mann 

Minnie E Kramer was born on December 6, 1882 at Fort Slocum, New York where her father Jacob Kramer was in the army band. Minnie was the fifth child of Jacob and Ellen (Jackson) Kramer.

Per the 1900 US Census, it appears that Minnie (age 17) was working as a live-in housekeeper for doctor George Sayre at 651 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The formerly independent city of Brooklyn had only become part of New York City in 1898.

John Dolan was born in Schuyler Falls, New York, west of Plattsburgh, New York which is just south of Canada. Several different birth dates are noted in various records. The most likely birthdate is January 26, 1874 or 1875.

John was the seventh child of James Dolan and Margaret Fitzpatrick. The family lived on a farm outside the village of Schuyler Falls.

According to a story available online (attributed to the book "Pioneers In Brass"), John ran away from home at age 14 to join the circus and learned to play the cornet.

Available records show that John enlisted with the army in 1894 and reenlisted in 1897.

The 1900 US Census shows John Dolan as a private in the army band at Fort Slocum, along with private Jacob Kramer, father of Minnie.

Marriage record has not been found, however it is likely that John and Minnie were married in 1900. One son, Marcus Dolan, was born June 5, 1901 in New York City. Per the 1910 US Census, the family was living at 40 Grant Avenue in the Rosebank section of Staten Island, near or within the grounds of Fort Wadsworth.

Some published information about John Dolan is not consistent with available records. However, see the book "The Incredible Band of John Philip Sousa" by Paul E Bierly for the best information, including several photos. Extensive information about the Sousa Band is at the University of Illinois.

John Dolan had a long career as a musician with the Conway Band and then the Sousa Band. In programs for the Sousa Band concerts John was always highlighted. He even conducted the Sousa Bank on several occasions after Sousa was injured (falling from a horse) in 1921. John parted ways with Sousa after an argument in 1928, apparently due to a conflict of egos.

John lived until April 8, 1942 in Staten Island. Obituary notice in the Staten Island Advance (4-9-1942) does not state place of burial.

Minnie lived until April 1, 1945, passing away in Bloomfield, New Jersey where she is buried.

Marcus Dolan married Mildred Mueller (b 1912 in Bronx, NY). The couple produced two childred, daughter Darlene (b1934) and son Donald (b1936). Marcus lived until 1977, passing away in Las Vegas. Mildred survived until 2010, passing way in New Bern, North Carolina.

Further information is available in the family tree on, including details of the extensive Dolan family from Schuyler Falls, NY. One member of the extended family was a doctor from Staten Island who purchased a camp in the Adirondacks in the 1960s.

bottom of page