This circa 1885 photo comes to us courtesy of Keith Bellhorn and Ron Rabenold. At the zither is James Exel, Keith Bellhorn's great-grandfather.
James Exel was born in Austria in 1854. In the early 1880s he was employed as a butler in London, England and worked at Thrale Hall in Mitcham Road, Streatham. While working in London, James met Harry Packer, son of the American industrialist Asa Packer. He was hired by the family and in 1883 he immigrated to the US, sailing aboard the steam-ship City of Rome, and settled in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, now known as Jim Thorpe. In Mauch Chunk, he played his zither at Packer family parties, community gatherings and the Mauch Chunk Opera House.
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The zither of James Exel is currently on display at the the Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center (MCMCC). For more information, visit their web site at www.mauchchunkmuseum.com.