| September/October 1967

810 S. Judson, Fort Scott, Kansas

Soot in the Flues appeals to me for two reasons. First, before our present day Diesel Locomotives, the days of firing the steam locomotives, some of the most trying days or trips were because the Round-House force were so occupied with too much or too little to blow or clean the flues before the trip. Such a trip was the beginning of experiments as no two trips were the same-in trying to make a meeting point with an opposing train or to stay out of the way of a faster following train, keep enough steam to get over the hill - keep enough water in the glass so when you tipped over the hill the boiler would not blow-up -make it to the next water tank or coal shute explain to the boss under most embarrassing circumstances why you did not move the train from here to there and maintain the time schedule and then be informed by most all associates that you were the poorest engine crew on the division. Why?? -

All because of Soot in the Flues and someone did not do their job before you got the engine.

Second reason - The articles of Soot in the Flues often recall to my memory the days of steam traction engines on the farm. As they went to the fence corners, I stayed with steam and went to the Railroad. The days came of diesels so back to the old fence corners, to see if it was possible to stay with steam. It was possible and later we formed a group, which was very interesting but did not provide much in the manner of pay to live on so had to work on those diesels. But to the Iron-Men Album your articles were encouraging and we continued as the results of the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta and a pay came to us not in money but in expression of appreciation in various forms. We received many-many letters, one of which we have copied and are enclosing for your consideration of publication. Letter as follows:

Dear George Jackson: We should thank kind providence for the wonderful weather all three days. We think how our pleasure did cost you and others through this Fall Fiesta (where you love and enjoy making others happy) by spending your time, labors and money. But everything worked together so well to create a grand time for so many that they might review the steaming past with it's glamorous experiences being re-enacted right before our eyes, with the old steam threshing machinery that has set idly by so many years, realizing that we have lived out it's time. We gathered to see the past, the black smoke shot high into the sky, the heavy puffing of the steam engines faded away to a rhythm as the wheels turned faster and the familiar smell of smoke, steam and oil filled the air and action was all around. The bundles started to pour into the feeder as the threshers began to hum. The bright yellow straw came piling out the blowers and the golden grain was sliding out the spouts into the wagon. To the saw-mill being pulled with that nice big 80 Case that looked and sounded so good, that expert that handled the mill for you made a perfect outfit that carried me back to the days of my memory. Then the big strong oxen pushed the yoke and dragged the logs to the mill - a-round the turn of the century, like the nice teams of horses - George & Coley; Pete & Buck and Barney & Tom. They all did their work so faithfully in threshing and logging.

So many things happened throughout this wonderful show that brings back those cherished memories. It all brings us to realize how far we have come in three score and ten years. In drawing back the curtain and looking into the future, we can expert advancement with marvelous changes as time moves on to that perfect day.


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