a letter- AND the story

Content Tools

Tacoma, Ohio

Dear Sir:

Startling as it may seem how I contacted you for after near the verge of fifty years - May 1912 - by an IRON-MEN Magazine being handed to me by an aged one-time thresherman to read a story of a foreigner and his runaway mule being scared by the pop valve of a steam traction engine fifty-one years ago, you had sold, and the hobo's story of the event. Also regarding the 19 year old young man fifty-nine years or 1903 who run a 12hp Frick Traction engine for you from July to bleak December.

Well, what I am going to refer to is on that May day 1912, I distinctly remember - you surely do or judge so. At a telegraph and business school or college where I was on my last month of learning telegraphy before I accepted a railroad telegraph job June 1st, 1912, which will be fifty years this coming 1962, pounding the tele-key. Many times in this span of years has that event come to my memory when the president of the board of trustees of the college and their private lady secretary, both telegraphy teachers at the dinner table began a conversation by the Morse code on their tin trays regarding you, and your reply in the Morse code of dots and dashes surely shocked them. Why not write that interesting event or story for the ALBUM? I will be looking for it as that issue I read got me interested. In case you do write it, try and instruct your Editor to have it in his May-June issue to commemorate the fifty years since I saw it happen at that telegraph and business school.

Very truly yours,

The above letter is a copy of the history or story of which I am writing regarding that May day nearly fifty years ago. Having been sent or assigned to make a settlement for a new threshing outfit sold and see to unloading it and load a used trade in outfit for shipment in 1912, - but was very much surprised when someone contacted us saying the Superintendent or president of the Board of Trustees of the School of Telegraphy or Business College wanted to know if that used threshing outfit was for sale, and if so, to call at the college office at once. They stated the school had control of several hundred acre farms and could use the second hand rig which had done threshing the previous fall.

On calling, to see what they had in mind, the Superintendent or board member called a meeting of trustees for 12:30 and invited me to take dinner with him. I refused, first owing to having on working clothes, preparing to load the old outfit on the car after unloading the new. The party said to forget the old clothes and come on to dinner and to be ready to meet the other board members at the set time , which I did and I sat next to the President of the Board and next to the writer of the above letter. The Lady Secretary of the board was just opposite the president (who was also a telegraph instructor or teacher.) The Lady and the President began a conversation in the Morse telegraph code of dots and dashes on their tin trays.

The Lady asked the President who his new slouchy, seedy-looking fellow was that he had picked up for dinner. His reply was - a machinery peddler traveling for a thresher company who meets with the board today at 12:30. Her reply - Is he a married man? His reply - No way of knowing, ask him at the meeting. Her reply - Traveling men can't be believed and none are married when far from home. When their conversation came to an end, I got busy, as I knew the code dots and dashes and on my tray - ATTENTION! NOT MARRIED OR IN THE MARKET! They were shocked - and he asked, 'Are you a telegrapher?'

When through dinner, we went to the office and met the other members of the board. The President told the others what had happened at the dinner table and reminded the Lady that she took up too much ground and should be more careful hereafter. She made several remarks regarding my shabby clothes and the company, if anything should dress me up and not let me go like some native of the hoop pole regions of the south.

I told the board of trustees, I would like to have the floor a minute or so before taking up the second-hand threshing rig matter. 'That affair at the dinner table reminds me of an old maid in our neighborhood who was bidding for a husband. She consulted her preacher the best course to try and he advised her to take some afternoon and go into the forest and pray for a man. She, therefore, tried that by selecting a large oak tree, which proved to be a hoot owl roost. She began praying for the Lord to send her a man - which awakened the owls up and began Whoo-Whoo-Whoo-Whoo-She said so sudden an answer - 'Oh, Good Lord, waste no time asking who -any man will do!'

The superintendent of the board asked the figure the rig would stand them, ran down to the machine shed on the farm. I quoted them so many hundred and fifty dollars and the president said for his part cut the fifty dollars off and asked the other members how they stood on the matter. All said satisfactory to them - run it to the farm for us and return to the office for a check in payment and clear title to be given. The order was signed before it was run to the farm for the complete second hand engine and thresher.