Farm Collector




Otterbein, Indiana

Seventy-two steam, enthusiasts met Sunday afternoon, April 29,
1953 at Mudlavia Hotel in Warren County, not too far from the
county seat, Williamsport, and the banks of the Wabash River. The
day was cold and raw but steam kept everyone warm. During the
afternoon registration was in charge of Mrs. Leonard Mann and Mrs.
Glen Brutus. The men registered on one page, naming their engines,
and the women registered on another page, naming their hobbies.

Three Monon Railroad films, in sound and color, were shown
through the courtesy of Ernest Cox, Monon passenger engineer from
Lafayette to Chicago.

Tours were made to the mud bath rooms. The humus decomposed
vegetation at Mudlavia is found nowhere else in the world. It has
been saturated for thousands of years with water from the lithia
springs, containing soda, potash, magnesia and lithua, forming, a
substance which has brought relief to many thousands. The mud is
heated by steam, and after it is used once it is discarded and
never used again.

A bountiful chicken supper was served at tables decorated with
miniature black and gold Purdue University Boilermaker steam

Afterwards, emcee Leonard Mann introduced James Whitbey, who
announced the Reunion at his farm near Fort Wayne, Indiana, in
August; Alva Trook, who invited everyone to his tracks for model
steam locomotives the last Saturday and Sunday in May and October.
His tracks are the second longest in the United States and are
located south of Lafayette, Ind., on State Road 43. All those who
owned steam engines were introduced, and they told what kind they
had. One of the wives who was introduced said, ‘I don’t
care anything about steam engines, but I think that steam engine
people are the nicest in the world.’

Gifts were given as follows: for coming the farthest, Jim
Whitbey; for being the windiest, Davis Sullivan; for having the
most engines, Fred Kemna.

The group decided to organize and elected the following

President, Leonard Mann, Otterbein, Ind.; Vice-president, Carter
Dalton, Ambia, Ind.; Sec.-Treas., Glen J. Brutus, Pine Village,
Ind. Board of Directors: Davis Sullivan, Markleville, Ind.; Fred
Kemna, Danville, III.; James Whitbey, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Lester Cork,
West Lebanon, Ind.; Robert Johnson, North Terre Haute, Ind.; Gerald
Hamilton, Hoopeston, III.; Ernest Cox, Lafayette, Ind.; Ralph
Shelburne, Zionsville, Ind.; Alva Trook, Lafayete, Ind.

Later, the movie, ‘When Steam Was King’ was shown,
through the courtesy of J. I. Case. Other slides and movies were
shown with tape recordings of puffings and chuggings. The time was
late when the last guest left, and all were full of enthusiasm for
the coming year.


This report gathered April 29, 1956 at the Steam Engine Party at
Mudlavia, in Warren County, Indiana.

The diversity of interests besides steam as shown by the wives
of steam-minded men is astonishing. Here are some:

Church activities; Musicorgan, piano; Sports bowling, golf,
swimming; Handicrafts sewing, embroidery, knitting, crocheting,
raising plants and flowers African violets; Landscaping the home
and farm; Collect: pitchers, salt and peppers, coins, stamps,
Indian relics, handkerchiefs, old books, old dishes, bells, antique
furniture, recipes and make books of them; Genealogies: Building a
reference library by saving all Readers Digests, National
Geographies and their indexes, all sections from Life of special
interest and cataloging them together; Identifying birds and making
bird books; Identifying trees of Indiana; Health foods, Slide

  • Published on Jul 1, 1956
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