The Ritzman’s Take A Trip

By Elmer
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On a lazy Sunday afternoon (July 24th). The Idol's entertained this group of North Carolina Steam Engine men and families. From left to right are: L. R. Powell, Mocksville; Ed Carrick, Denton; Elmer L. Ritzman, Enola, Pa.; Jack Smith, Winston-Salem; C. C.
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The Water Wheel which furnishes power for the Grist Mill on the McCormick Homestead. It is kept in perfect order. (We are very happy about this.)
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Left to right, front row: Mrs. Powell; Mrs. Ritzman; Verda Jane Idol. Back row: Mrs. Surrat; Marsha Nelson; Mrs. Charles Idol. In looking this group over you can see why the men were so happy. This is one of the most enjoyable occasions we have ever exper
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Rear view of the buildings preserved on the old McCormick home. The one to the right is the blacksmith shop where the Reaper was made. There is a replica of one in the shop. The building on the left is the grist mill. Still in operation! They grind corn a
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The marker erected on the farm where McCormick built his first Reaper. The man beside the marker is the great grandson of the slave who worked for Mr. McCormick.

On the 20th day of July 1960 we started on a trip into North
Carolina. We had two families we wished to visit. The Charles Idol
family whose acquaintance we made at the Kinzer Reunion and the
Rev. Walter Byers and family. Mr. Byers and I were in School
together preparing for the ministry, we are both retired now.

As usual we got a late start. Our Volkswagen is equipped for
sleeping but not for cooking. We eat in restaurants.

We pass through Gettysburg, an historic place, but it being near
home (and having often been there) we stopped only for traffic

Our next historic spot was Harpers Ferry. Never had been there.
The scenery was wonderful. The old houses and places of business
were most interesting.


We get on the Skyline Drive at Front Royal and continued until
we arrived at Luray Caverns in Virginia. It was a most delightful
treat to visit this underground marvel. I had only been in one
other one before and then it was visited by boat instead of on foot
and it was not nearly so large. The Stalacpipe organ was most
interesting. All three of us were interested as we enjoy music.

After taking advantage of the very nice camp grounds there we
journeyed the next morning to the Natural Bridge. It wasn’t too
far but very hot. Since we wished to visit the performance called
‘The Dawn of Creation’ at night it gave us an opportunity
to find ourselves a State Park nearby in which to spend the night
and rest ourselves a bit. We were not sorry we waited for evening
to come to see the Bridge. I believe we all feel a bit closer to
the Good Man by experiencing this beautiful organ music and

The next day we had long and hard driving because we were
anxious to arrive at our friend’s home, the Charles Idol’s
near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We made it by supper time.
Eudora (Mrs. Idol) was so certain she was going to make us feel at
home, she was in the midst of preparing corn for the freezer, and
told us we’d just have to help if we wanted any supper. (This
part is not true because she didn’t know when we were coming
and although she was working on corn we helped very little and
supper was ‘on’ in a hurry without too much assistance from


Mr. Charles Idol, R. D. 3, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, asked
me to preach at his church the 24th. We did and there were
surprises! The congregation did not know they were to have a
strange preacher. Then Charles had written to a number of Album
Subscribers telling them of the event and invited them to worship
with them that day. There were 30 or 40 who turned out. That was a
surprise for me! The minister of the Church was a very kind man and
had a fine sense of humor.


It seemed all we did was eat, sleep and visit — but, oh, it was
fun! Again the lady of the household had planned, well ahead, by
baking a ham, preparing potatoes and cake on Saturday night and
early Sunday morning she was able to feed all her hungry visitors
after church in an outdoor setting under the trees. Our girls,
Verda Jane and Marsha, enjoyed a lazy afternoon on a blanket
reading and listening to the radio while the men gathered in one
little corner of the yard talking steam engines and the ladies were
a few yards away in a group exchanging their ideas of mutual


Monday morning the Idols piloted us to the Powell home near
Mocksville. Here we were taken in tow by their son, Bob. He has a
wood sawing mill and makes crating material for furniture
factories. That was interesting to me. I had never seen anything
like it. He had about two acres of boards piled for drying. This
takes three weeks. He saws and moves about that much every three

Bob has several engines but is a Frick lover and had two in very
good condition a double and a single.

He took us to see an old Grist Mill run by water power. It was
an interesting mill and a beautiful spot.


We were very disappointed that our friend, Rev. Mr. Byers, was
feeling so ill that he and his wife were unable to travel with us
to Cherokee (the largest Indian Reservation in the East). He was
taken to the hospital next day and the reports are good. We saw the
play, ‘Unto These Hills’. It was not only enjoyable but
educational. It was given in an outdoor theatre by the Cherokee
Historical Association.

The trip through these great Smoky Mountains is undescribable.
The scenery is simply beautiful and wonderful. We just journeyed
over onto the other side of the mountain into Tenn. and then turned
back. We hope that in the future we can take up where we left off
and continue southward.


I want to tell you about ‘Tweetsie’. A narrow gauge
Railroad near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. A very interesting and
pictorial Railroad and stock. A good sized engine highly painted.
All the trainmen wore guns. If it had not been for the smile on
their faces we would have been scared green! However, when we got a
little ways on our ride we had an Indian raid and the guns saved
the day! After going a little ways further we had a train robbery.
Then the fire did fly! I shall not tell you more or I shall spoil
your fun when you go there. By all means go!


Our last nightly fling — but by no means the least was taken at
Boone, North Carolina before turning homeward. Here, again in the
out-of-doors, we saw the ‘Horn in the West’ depicting the
drama of brave people in their tragedies and their laughs. A story
of the movement Westward in America.

Elmer Then we headed home. Beauty abounded everywhere beautiful
mountains beautiful fields beautiful homes. The South has it! We
were tired and weary when we got home, but with memories we shall
never forget.

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