The only difference between April and March is that you expect it in March and, will we ever be looking for early Spring this year! We've had a whole winter already and it's only the middle of January as I prepare this friendly communication with our steam folks. Well, one thing you can say about SPRING it comes when it is most needed. So while the gardeners are ordering their seeds and scanning the brightly colored catalogs, our hobby fiends are counting ahead to the days of the Steam Reunions or else caught day-dreaming of last years fun.
And before I get on with the letters that I have for this issue, I'd like you to meet our two grandchildren Stacy Jo Branyan who was 3 in December and Lance Chandlor Branyan who will be 1 on March 3. This picture was taken a few months ago, but they really look a great deal like this aren't they adorable? and such pleasant personalities! Our only grief is that they are so far away, we aren't getting to enjoy each other as families should. And if you've forgotten these are the children of our eldest son Eddie and wife, Kathi and they live in Bangor, Pennsylvania. And though we don't visit very often I know they are keeping their Mommy and Daddy busy and it's a happy family that's what counts! Carl Sandberg said 'A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.' And here are two precious examples.
BLAKE H., BOARDMAN of 3654 Bradley Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44145 pens us this bit of news: 'While visiting in the Big Bend National Part at Castolon which consists of all adobe buildings, there is a steam engine. I took a picture of it, but somewhere I lost it and the information. I wrote to the forest ranger for the data. I'd like to know how they got it there as it must have been a terrific job and I also wonder what purpose it served. If you get any replies, I'd like to know about it and send the info back to the ranger as he didn't seem to know much about it. Big Bend is one of the most rugged parks I have ever been in and it is certainly worth the trip to see it.' Well, Blake, we're sorry you lost your picture of it and the writing about it sounds interesting anyone else out there know about this?? (In case you are wondering Big Bend Park is in Texas.)
EMIL KOPAC, No. 9 Baileys Trailer Court, 217 W. 26th, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69361 replies to a request about the Northwest Thresher. 'Page 25 of Jan-Feb. 69-Northwest thresher started as Minnesota Thresher Mfg. Then was named Northwest Thresher Co. that made Giant engines, started chain drive. One Steam engine I saw was rebuilt. A fellow threw a wet bundle in cylinder and that stopped the whole works. They pulled separator around with horses. One day when horses were not there, the engineer hooked on bent diff. shaft-like a dog's hind leg (cold rolled steel of pot metal). The factory was across the street from the Northfield bank where the robbery was by the James Bros. They escaped by separation and got away. Then they made new Giant gear drive return flue and St. Croix direct flue.' Well, I don't quite understand all this but I'm sure you old-timers will.
SCOTT TROSTEL, 652 So. Downing St., Piqua, Ohio 45356 is trying to compile a list of steam railroad locomotives. He doesn't care if they are in museums or gravel pits or junk yards. At present he has a list of 35 confirmed Railroad locomotives in Ohio. If you have any of this information, please let Scott know about it and also the condition of the locomotive. He is doing this to help anyone who likes railroad locomotives.
GILBERT ROOSEVELT, 204 W. Walnut Street, Albion, Illinois 62806 would like some communication on where threshing machines were made and also some of the steam engines. He says as far as he knows the Keck-Gonnerman engine was made in Mt. Vernon, Indiana; the Robinson Company was in Richmond, Indiana; the Jumbo engines were made by the Harrison Machine Works of Belleville, Illinois. He does not know where the Case was made and is wondering if the Port Huron's were made in Michigan. Any information you can furnish he would appreciate. I think he is more or less asking for a list of all engines and their manufacturers would anyone have a compiled list of this sort? Let's hear from you fellows on this little item. There is an article should be in this issue about a Billy Hall who wanted to take his engine into town at midnight New Year's Eve and blow the whistle seems he got it accomplished too. I guess he shocked quite a few people and as for his escapade, I'd call it 'having a blast.' Quite interesting and a bit different.
In closing, I'd like you to meet our other little grandchild, Ryan Robert Fortenbaugh, son of our daughter Dana and hubby, Bob. He was born May 12 and this picture was taken recently looks like he is saying 'Hye' to all of you he's cute as he looks and is such a joy to have around. It is wonderful to have these grandchildren. As a man named Don Herold said 'Babies are such a nice way to start people.' And this new person is a little doll.
Bye bye, and by the time this issue is being reread a couple times, the little green shoots should be coming up through the ground and Spring will be here and you will be getting those engines in shape for the big times this summer.