402 Nicholson Avenue Long Beach, Mississippi
Having lived on a farm in Illinois I have always been interested in steam. In 1954 I made my first trip to the Pontiac Reunion. It was my pleasure to meet Mr. Ritzman there last Fall, Tom Smith introduced us. It is strange that while I have been in Mississippi since 1939 I found that Tom and I had known each other since 1928. I met him in Morris, Illinois, while doing service work for a Caterpillar tractor dealer.
Dr. Wallace P. Sheely, who is a subscriber to the ALBUM, is quite a steam fan. He owns eleven steam Marine engines and one steam roller. The largest Marine engine is a 25 hp. triple expansion. 'Doc' is presently constructing a 40 ft. long by 12 ft. beam boat and expects to install a 15 hp. triple expansion engine with a locomotive type boiler which he bought in England.
The Doc has the only steam driven Pirogue in the world. The engine is a triple expansion and develops about one horse power. Pirogue, pronounced peerogue, is a dugout canoe. They are common to the Bayous of Louisiana. 'Doc' is the only person I ever saw, outside of an Indian or a Cajan who could stay in one. I have tried many times but they always upset.
When I returned from Pontiac in 1955 I had decided to buy an engine. I finally found a man who was interested in such a thing. Herbert Downs. While he had seen pictures, he had never to his knowledge seen an engine. We finally located one in Louisiana. It had been on a rice plantation and had been in a shed for over 30 years. A man in Baton Rouge, La., bought it and in loading it on a truck, a skid broke and the engine was wrecked. Since we could find no other near here, and since this is a timber country, we bought the engine and brought it home. It is a Geiser 'Peerless' No. 3055. The only place we could find parts was at the Arthur S. Young Company, Kinzers, Pa.
After two years the restoration is about complete and as near original as it is possible with only a dim picture of an 1893 model to go by. (The Arthur S. Young Co., said that from the serial numbers they were quite certain it was built in 1892. Mr. Ritzman told me last fall at Pontiac that quite possibly they gave me the correct information as they are an authority on the Geiser serial numbers).
I wanted a club of some kind. Dr. Sheely and Mr. Downs also thought we should have one. Eventually we found a few other people with such an interest. Some are interested in old cars, some in gas engines. So finally we decided to have an organization to cover all of it.
To date we have the following:21 old cars dating from 1906 to 1929; 1 old Fordson, 2 old gas engines one 1919 American La France gasoline driven fire engine; 11 steam Marine engines; 1 steam road roller and two steam traction engines. There are 18 members presently. Starting the 22nd of March 1958, we expect each Saturday and Sunday to display some of our equipment in different towns and cities in an effort to interest other people. Here is our Organization set up Antique Automobile and Engine Club of Mississippi: Geo. A. Cretors, President; Floyd J. Martin, Vice President; Herbert T. Downs, Secretary; E. A. Simmons, Treasurer. Directors are Dr. Wallace P. Sheely, Jos. F. Gayyo, William McEviry. Memberships: Luke Melyon, Ronald Capdepow.