Bremo Bluff, Virginia 23022
For a long time now I have intended to write The Album or Gas Engine Magazine. As you know I receive them both and read them from cover to cover. I think they are great as I am a lover of steam and gas engines. This past winter in my spare time I built a small grist mill with 8' stones. I am enclosing a photo of the mill mounted on wheels with 1 HP steam engine and boiler. My brother and J operated a mill like this one, only much larger. It had 30' stones and was run by an 8 HP gas engine. As I look back now it was fun. We did not think so then. We had a sawmill at the same time. There isn't anyone around here that is interested in steam or gas engines. Some will ask a few questions and look at you like they think you are some kind of a nut. Maybe I am, but there are plenty of us nuts around over the country. There is a fellow here that is interested in horses and buggies and wagons. He has quite a collection of all three. He suggests we take the mill to a steam show this summer. It would be fun, but I have a walking problem and don't get around very well. It would be quite an effort on my part, so I do not know how I may feel when the time comes.
There must have been a good many old water-powered grist mills through Virginia years ago. The last operating mill in this county washed away with hurricane Agnes. I am a nut about old water-powered grist mills too. I hope I may get up to see Mr. Paul Giles mill in West Virginia some day. It was mentioned in the Gas Engine Magazine some time ago.
My folks came from New York State to Virginia in 1927 so at that time steam for farm work was about over. Anyhow steam engines on farms around here were few. The farms were small and wheat thrashing was done by gas engines or gas tractors. The slate quarries at Arvonia, Va. used steam' on the hoists and compressors. I worked there for a good while putting in flues, stay bolts, babbiting bearings and kept the steam shovels in repair. I am 65 now but still like to read and talk about it if I can find any one to talk steam or gas engine.