Thomas/Mashburn Memorial Steam Engine Parade

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Engines ready to start the parade. The 1912 Case in the center is the Glenn Thomas engine that started the parade in 1958
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Moving steam engines from Cumming Fair Grounds to start of parade.
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The Blackburn family's 1902 20 HP Case steam engine, s/n 11185

I just wanted to write in and let everyone know what goes on in
my hometown of Cumming, Ga. Every 4th of July we have a steam
engine parade that goes through downtown Cumming. It all started in
1958, when A.G. ‘Glen’ Thomas decided that he would drive
his 1912 45 HP Case steam engine around the courthouse square. His
grandson, Joel ‘Chigger’ Webb, told me that they drove the
engine around the square with four or five kids following on their
bicycles. That was our first parade.

The next year a couple of other engines joined him for the ride
around the square. This went on for a couple of more years until
Dr. Jim Mashburn purchased a Peerless steam engine and really
organized it into a parade. The parade would then go around the
square and end up at his house, just outside of town, where they
would have wheat threshing, run the Baker fan and just have a great
time with the steam engines. As a young boy 1 always looked forward
to the parade every year. I never missed the parade.

Of course there was always the occasional politician, or a local
ball team, or a company that could put a float in the parade. But,
all I cared about was the steam engines. Finally, after waiting all
of my 28 years, my family purchased a 1902 20 HP Case steam engine.
My brother, Shane, and I were finally able to operate a steam
engine in our parade like we have always wanted to.

When we purchased the engine it was in running condition. Shane
and I redid the plumbing and also repainted the engine. We did some
work on the bearings and the gears to try to quiet it down. All of
this was done under the supervision of Bud Thomas, our hometown
steam engine expert. We were also required by the City of Cumming
to put rubber on our wheels so that we would not tear up the roads.
We are now in the process of restoring a preheater to go on our
engine because ours did not have one on it when we got it. Also I
would like to let you know, as well as everyone else, that our
engines are inspected every year and are certified to 150 psi. I
know some people are probably concerned in the wake of the Ohio
tradgedy.

The Bagwell family’s portable Peerless engine, s/n 2712. Can
anyone provide more information on this engine?

I am now 29 years old and my brother is 40 years old. All of the
engines that were in our parade this year were operated by people
under 50 years of age.

This year’s ‘Thomas/Mashburn Memorial Steam Engine
Parade’ was the largest ever with 17 steam engines in the
parade. With all of the other participants, this year’s parade
lasted approximately 2-1/2 hours, with an estimated crowd of about
20,000 people. The Thomas legacy was very apparent with Glen’s
great grandson, Richard Webb, operating the engine that started it
all back in 1958. His other great-grandson, Ralph Webb, operated
his very own Peerless. His great-great-grandson operated a Case
steam engine, along with another great-great-grandson operating a
1/8 scale steam engine. The Roscoe Thomas family, another cousin to
Glen, had four steam engines in the parade. The Doodler Thomas
family, another cousin to Glen, had two steam engines in the
parade, one of which was new, this year. Dr. Jim’s Peerless is
still in the parade. The Lang family had their Case engine in it
pulling a calliope. The Gravitt family brought their Case portable.
This year there were five new engines. Along with our engine and
the new Thomas engine, was the Castleberrys’ Russell engine.
The Willinghams’ Port Huron, and the Bagwells’ portable
Peerless engine. And, I know of about five or six engines that
could not make our parade this year for one reason or another. Many
folks do not know about the engines in Cumming, Ga. We are very
proud of our engines and the parade that is put on every year.
After Glen passed away in 1969 the threshing and the other things
sort of dwindled out. So, this year we are going to have our first
annual Steam and Gas Engine Show, sponsored by the City of Cumming
Country Fair and Festival, on Nov. 9-11, 2001 to bring all those
things back to our home town. We would love for our show to become
the greatest show in the Southeast, if not the country some day.
But we need the support of everyone that can come. If anyone needs
any information, please call 770-781-3491. I am including some
pictures of our parade to show everyone what we have in Cumming,
Ga. I hope to see you at our show or parade. If not this year, then
maybe next year.

Contact steam engine enthusiast Kiwp Blackburn at 5914
Dahonega Hwy., Cumming, GA 30040, or email at:
kiwp_chrissy@hotmail.com

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