Godfrey Arthur Humann and his wife Evelyn of Gerber, Tehama County, Gerber, Calif, pose in front of this Case 20-60 h.p. steam traction engine manufactured about 1911. Humann, an old-time machinery enthusiast, took possession of the engine very recently a
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It is often in the pursuit of an IRON HORSE that my Mr. B and I run across interesting people. But how could we ever have guessed that our latest one was going to lead us to the Encyclopedia Brittanica? We gained a history lesson, and even shared a home-cooked meal.
This past year our offspring in New Jersey decided it would be pleasant to have the 'old folks' come for Thanksgiving. So we took to the Indiana and Ohio roads after slinging our coins into mechanical mouths all the way around Chicago.
'How many of those things are there?' asks Mr. B, as he's done so many times before. I shudder as he dodges a huge truck.
'Six,' I answer demurely, knowing we have to have $1.80 dividable into six equal portions.
'Not six,' he argues mildly, 'there's not that many.'
'Six,' I insist, thinking I had better let his grammatical error go. THIS isn't the time for it. Idly I shuffle the coins around in the same old Christmas Card box we use every time we pray our way through here.
I remember fondly the days when people talked glibly of 'taking to the open road. Again I count my dimes, nickles, and quarters, and the pennies which total the score. Yep! It's all there! The thought crosses my horticultural mind that I could almost buy a cactus with a little red head for that amount. And then suddenly I cringe as a yellow sports car with an eager-beaver driver cuts in ahead of us. I have thoughts of grabbing him by his long, straggly hair. Is he as quick on the draw as he thinks he is? Be it guns or wheels he's a dangerous man!
We sigh with relief as we do take to a less hectic highway. Now, presumably, we can observe and talk a bit more freely. But THAT has frequently been our undoing. We miss a turn when we get involved in sight seeing. It is then I lean forward intently watching for the next necessary road identification.
I have never forgotten one sizzling drag-down battle we had while Mr. B was driving and I was looking around when I should have been watching and directing. We were both weary of the road, exceedingly edgy with four youngsters riding along that time. Enough ire built up within that unfortunate car to shake the spark plugs clear out of their holdings. NO! THAT WAS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN!
Nevertheless I soon commented on some unusual farm buildings we were passing. There stood a yellow silo and a yellow house a pink silo and a pink shedall on one farm. Bargain paint, or strange art? I wondered. It was also in upper Indiana that we concurred that someone is really pushing Mail Pouch Tobacco. Barns have huge advertisements on them. They didn't convince us in the least.
Just west of Ruggles, Ohio, on Hwy. 224, we spied a magnificent house set upon an imposing hill. The two made an impressive sight. The dwelling was large, lacy snow white. It seemed to be bragging a bit about its ornate trim, and it had something to brag about. Then just east of Ruggles our eyes were caught by another house, not quite as large, but with equally elaborate trim. This one hadn't been cared for through the years. My thoughts immediately transferred themselves to the steam engines one sees some rusting away shamefully amongst jungles of trees and weeds, and others oiled and painted in justifiable pride.
Total cost, including shipping, amounted to more than $4000. according to Humann. Part of the expense will be recovered next fall by displaying it during his biennial Steam Threshing Bee.
Steam power has always fascinated Humann, who built, runs and shows the South Shasta Lines model railroad in the basement of his farm home. He explains that it all came about because he wanted to be a railroad man as a boy. Courtesy of Colin Davies, Red Bluff Daily News, 1341 Washington St., Red Bluff, California 96080. (Associated Newspapers, Ltd. London, England).
Isn't it also something like happens to people during life? Now and again one sees a young woman who has early run to fat and flabbiness. She is frequently trailed by a thin, discouraged-looking husband and several untidy children. To contrast this what about these trim, energetic 70-80 year olds one also runs across? It would appear it is largely a case of how we look after ourselves and our possessions. Little did we realize what awaited us a few miles farther along.
It was at Hartville, Ohio that we met Mr. and Mrs. Henry Newton, and this eventually led me to the Encyclopedia Brittanica and seven generations back into early American history. It was an exciting run through a family book of genealogy which took us back to around 1586 or thereabouts.
It was in the year 1586 that a child was born in England who was later to be given the title 'the father of American democracy.' He was also the leader of the emigrants who in 1636 founded the city of Hartford, Connecticut. A-long with a man named Samuel Stone our man from history established the first church in Hartford, The First Church of Christ. The present building is near the sight of that early meeting house and adjoins the graveyard where our pioneer is buried.
In the earlier years of his life, Thomas Hooker, our child grown to man, sorely displeased one honorable Archbishop in England, by delivering his strong, evangelistic and moral lectures on Sundays and market days. When Thomas Hooker learned that the religious leaders were on his trail (and with no kindly intentions) he fled to Holland (to save his head, as Mr. Newton put it) and consequently came to America.
So it was that Rector Hooker eventually became a teacher at Harvard, which was then newly founded. The family line running down to Mr. Newton came through the marriage of Rev. Roger Newton to Hooker's eldest daughter, Mary. And I find some most illustrious Newtons in the Enc. Br. as well. That name certainly entered into our early history as well. We had fallen upon rich historical territory.
Here we had been remarking shortly before about what our fathers, both born about 100 years ago, would think if they were suddenly to come upon the Tri-State Hwy. around Chicago. And we had shivered just a bit at the prospect, and now we were in a home so steeped in much earlier history.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Newton made our visit a memorable occasion. The mementos they shared with us were beautiful and interesting. We hadn't even gotten warmed up in our conversation by noon so Mrs. Newton prepared a delicious meal. Dear people, we thank you for sharing! Isn't this what is so great about our country? My parents came here from Holland, Alfred's from Germany, Mr. Hooker's from England, via Holland, and we are all one people. And under God. May we all pray that it stays that way.