THE BALLAD OF OLD NUMBER 6

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Mt. Union, Iowa

This poem was written by Marshall Thayer of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The engine of which he wrote was in the July-August 1963 issue, page 29.

In eighteen hundred ninety-one
They stoked the first wood fire
In a Baldwin engine, trim and proud,
That bore the name 'Maria'.

To the TripleS she went that year,
A short line, slim gauge feeder.
She went to work with no one knowing
Just how much they'd need her.

One day, a forest fire broke out,
Blazing like the sun.
The town was threatened, people fled,
Maria made the run.

Through the flame and through the
smoke,
Paint blistering on her boiler,
Maria pulled her passengers,
The little Baldwin toiler.

From the smoky, swirling woods,
Maria finally thundered.
Through all the long and desperate
ride,
The mogul never blundered.

The hero engine No. 6,
The one they call Maria,
Was known through Georgia as the one
That braved the forest fire.

But then the Triple S went broke,
Maria lost her home,
And sold from road to road throughout
The South, she had to roam.

Down South Carolina way,
She wound up hauling lumber.
In '53, her boiler burst with a
Roar like summer thunder.

They fixed her up and sent her back,
But trucks had soon disgraced her.
She joined six other engines
In a scrap yard where they placed her.

Four men came to look at them.
Of those, she was the best;
They packed her up, and shipped her
off
Into the Middle-west.

In Iowa, looking like a ghost,
An engine belches fire.
Her cab is painted black and red,
And bears the name - - - MARIA!