539 Adams Ave., Huron, Ohio 44839.
Dear Anna Mae:
Dad passed away on December 23, 1973, barely two months following correspondence with you, as a result of another heart attack.
As you can see Dad was not a literary artist, but he truly loved the past, especially the early 1900 era, when he was a boy. He, in his own fashion, wrote constantly, not only of his own experience, but also endeavored to capture the history of times, places, and things. He also collected artifacts and had a tremendous collection of reproduced photography..
I have been a reader of Iron Men Album since 1956.1 took Dad, A. J. Rhinemiller, to the Montpelier, Ohio, Show but after twenty minutes he wanted no part of it. He and two brothers and their father threshed for many years with Huber machinery. Granddad, John F. Rhinemiller, had a scarf caught in the gears of his engine and had a close call. They say after that he would not touch the engine and hired a Mr. Peters to run it for him. In later years, my Dad usually ran the engine.
My first remembrance of the engines was when Granddad took me with him at about age five to Marion, Ohio. He and Mr. Huber were very good friends. Of course going through the factory, the boiler room, up one side, down the other, still sticks in my memory as a very noisy place, then eating dinner on the train coming home.
Next I believe was when Huber sent men to our place to replace a vertical flue through the steam chart to the bottom of the boiler. I have an old Huber Engine Catalogue showing their flues.
It was cold and really quite a job to replace this flue. I came along and ran the engine every chance I could get. I even played hookey from school a few times, too. January 10, 1912 Granddad was killed in a railroad crossing accident near his home. Dad took over the Huber outfit and the farm. In 1915, there being eight large steam rigs in a twenty mile radius, Dad traded the outfit for a 1916 Oldsmobile. After that he always said he had a nickle when he had the Huber outfit but after that he was broke. The rig, 18 H.P. engine 28-54 wooden separator were around our neck of the woods close up to the 1930's.
I sure was 'cock-of-the-walk' when I could run the engine. Seventeen years old when it went its way. Accidentally filling the boiler so full she wouldn't run and threw over the stack. I shut off and took off across the fields and five years later I was reminded of the incident by one of the neighbors who was there. Today there is a large recreational center, golf, etc. where this water incident took place. Now at age 73, my fingers still itch to handle the old engines again. I attend nearly all the engine shows within reasonable distance and enjoy seeing those old timers showing their stuff and wishing for a chance to do a bit of running again. In later years I worked in Huron, Ohio, Ore Docks as an oiler when everything was steam powered. This eased the want somewhat but they still were not traction engines. I have handled Huber, Port Huron, Buffalo Pitts double, and one or two others. They were all good equipment and engines. I also ran an Austin-Western single cylinder road roller, a good enough outfit but not comparable to steam. Starting 1921 at carpenter trade, was shelved by a coronary in 1969 so at present, sitting out second coronary. Memory Lane, thank goodness, is lonely and sometimes narrow but it's still sure one hook-up with the past life.