STEAM FEVER

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The following is comprised of several communications and an article by ELIZABETH H. GILMORE, R.F.D. 1, Frankford, Ohio 45628I'm sure some of you will enjoy this type of article.

We all enjoy Larry's Iron-Men Album Magazine so much. By this, I mean myself and grandsons. Larry must have been about the first one in the Frankfort-Chillicothe area to get the last Album. He radioed Lewis Meachem as soon as he read the item of the Chillicothe scuba diver who found the train in the gravel pit near Columbus. The fellows had been getting calls from all over. He said he would even take Larry and Louie up there if they wanted to go. Wasn't that a nice gesture?

About ten years ago, my mother's cousin asked me if I knew grandma's grandmother was a grand-niece of Robert Fulton. That sort of stuck with me and I started to investigate. The lineage was in a book compiled for the last McKinnis reunion held in Ohio. A few more reunions were held in the 1920s in Indiana. Larry thinks this may bring you in some stories of steam men in the family, or more particulars on the one mentioned in the book.

I had submitted some family sheets to the Ross County Genealogical Society, for a book they published last year and as a result, a member of the clan, living in Indiana, sent me a book of the McKinnis-Carr lineage, for my very own. I am so happy over that.

My grandson and I go to most steam shows with Larry. I especially enjoy the old crafts, arts and exhibits. My mother still goes occasionally and she is 86 years old.

Following is the article by Elizabeth entitled STEAM FEVER.

The woods of Beaver Creek, near Butler, in Butler County, Pennsylvania, must have rung with the sound of axes, as the three brothers felled a large pine tree. The year was 1802 the brothers Robert, George and Charles. They were sons of Charles McKinnis, born in 1722 in Scotland and at the age of 18, was impressed into the British Army. He served under General Braddock and was wounded in the defeat at Fort Duquesne. At age 50, he married Rachel Carr. They lived at Butler, Pennsylvania and had nine children.

The trunk of the large pine tree was hewn out to fashion a very commodious canoe. It has been said that the family flour barrel was stowed crosswise in the stern. This canoe was floated down Beaver Creek to the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh. Here the families and possessions were loaded. Next, they entered the Ohio River to float down to what we now know as Portsmouth, Ohio. Robert had left the party at Pittsburgh and came overland to Chillicothe, Ohio. He then went south to Portsmouth, where he met the rest of the family and returned with them to Chillicothe. This was the hub of the Northwest Territory, and the following year, 1803, Ohio became a state with Chillicothe the first capital. One of the few military posts of the territory was located here. The brothers made their living by raising corn and other agricultural products to sell to the soldiers garrisoned here. The brothers went over the countryside, on hunting trips, providing wild game for the family and to sell.

Family members suffered greatly from malaria and ague and shortly moved to Coal Township, Jackson County, Ohio. The site was selected on account of its proximity to the sulphur springs. The cure of the entire family was attributed to the sulphur water.

At this time, the Indians still roamed in the area and the resident bands took a fancy to one of the boys. Their mother became alarmed and induced Charles to move back again to be near the protection of the soldiers at Chillicothe. This they did and not only raised stock and grain for the garrison, but engaged in the river trade to New Orleans. They transported pork and grain by flatboat down the Scioto, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Later, Charles and Martha again took up residence at the old homestead in Jackson County, making many improvement upon the farm. (The house was destroyed by fire in 1897.) It was located on the Byer-Coalton Pike.

Charles served as a pilot for the flatboats and this was the cause of his death March 29, 1837. He died of injuries sustained while 'shooting the rapids' at Louisville, Kentucky, the most dangerous part of the trip to New Orleans. He lost his life, due to service, but never lost a boat.

Charles' wife was Martha Cramer, of Washington County, Pennsylvania and a niece of Robert Fulton, the civil engineer. Robert McKinnis married her sister, Elizabeth Cramer and in 1821 they went to Hancock County, Ohio where Robert became a judge. George McKinnis and wife, Permelia Hinkle, lived and died in Jackson County, Ohio.

There are still members of these families in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio, but they soon went west and no doubt are in every state west of the Mississippi River. The ones who returned to Ohio, exchanged their farms 'out west' with cousins leaving the east and midwest. My grandmother and three brothers and sisters were born in Wapello County, Iowa in the 1860s, but the family returned to Jackson County, Ohio.

How many were involved with steam, I do not know. Here is an excerpt from a booklet that was compiled for the last McKinnis reunion at Electrical Park, Jackson, Ohio in 1914. 'Henry McKinnis and his three oldest sons, John, Henry and William, were killed by a boiler explosion April 1, 1893. All are buried one mile from Oakley, Lucas County, Iowa.' Henry was the son of Henry McKinnis and Margaret Times of Butler, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Gilchrist of Roundup, Montana.

My great, great grandmother was Rachel, the daughter of Charles and Martha. My son, Larry Gilmore has inherited 'Steam Fever' and has attended the conventions and shows from Ontario to Florida, from South Carolina to Indiana and hopes to be in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa this year. Larry has restored two engines for himself, a 1907 Case 15-45 and a 1923 Advance Rumely 22 HP. Spread out on a shop floor are parts of a Marion boom engine. He also restored a 1929 Baker 25-50.

Parts taken from 'Lineage of Charles McKinnis and Rachel Carr 1722-1914'