Peabody Singing Tower

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Source: CFH Files, Presentation to NMHS on July 9, 1984, by Glen Beery

BLACKSMITH SHOPS & LIVERY BARNS

                                                             

BEERY – Those of you who are regular attendees to these meetings will recall that in April you had a program on the doctors and medical care back in the early days.  I think you will agree that Dr. Bunker was a real good choice of speakers on that topic.  In May we had a speaker  talk on early churches in the community.  Orrin Manifold was your speaker that evening and I’m sure you’ll agree that he is well qualified to speak on that subject.  Last month we invited Jack Miller to talk about the interurban.  After a short talk on that subject ,he switched to a talk about the early founding of Wabash County and many of the early towns.  And I’m sure you’ll have a hard time finding anybody better qualified than Jack to talk about the history of Wabash County.  Now tonight, you have a program on blacksmith shops and livery barns, and it’s beyond me what qualifications Keith Ross thought  I have to speak on this subject.  Some of my friends even asked me what I knew about blacksmith shops and livery barns.  I had to say not one darn thing!  So if you’ve come here tonight with the intention of hoping to hear a professional speaker like you’ve been hearing these past few months, you’re in for a disappointment!

To set the mood for this tonight, I’ve asked my wife to read some familiar words.  I think most of you will recognize it when she reads it.

MAURINE BEERY – By this time you probably already know how I’m going to start –

Under a spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands.  The smith a mighty man is he with large and sinewy hands, And the muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands.  His hair is crisp and black and long; his face is like the tan.  His brow is wet with honest sweat.  He hears what ere he can,  And he looks the whole world in the face for he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night, you can hear his bellows blow.  You can hear him swing his heavy sledge with measured beat and slow.  Like a sexton ringing the village bell, when the evening sun is low, And the children coming home from school look in at the open door.  They love to see the flaming forge and hear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly like chaff from a threshing floor.

BEERY – I think most of you, when you hear the word blacksmith, what she read there probably is the image that comes to your mind about the big burly fellow and the shop and the bellows and the fire and everything.  Many people think too that the main thing a blacksmith did was to shoe horses.  But the poem doesn’t say anything about shoeing horses.  But I think many people think right away of a blacksmith as shoeing horses.  A blacksmith did a lot of things besides shoeing horses back in the early days.  We’re talking about the horse and buggy days and I don’t know how many of you can remember back that far.  I can.  I drove a horse and buggy and worked a team of horses in the field.  There were a lot of other things they had to do with iron in those days.  The days of welding and that kind of thing was not known then, so everything had to be done by the blacksmith by heating and hammering iron.

One of the things you’ll notice during my talk is that many of these shops were closely related to wagon manufacturers or buggy-making jobs with the blacksmith shop.  I have out in my garage at home a set of old wheels from an old wagon.  Wooden spoked wagon wheels with a steel rim around them.  And after doing some work on this speech, I decided to go out and look at the steel rims around the wheel and see where it was put together and where it was welded.  Now most fellows who do welding, even the best ones, you can usually find out or see where the weld is.  But I swear I took that round and round that rim and you can’t see where that band of steel  is put together.  That’s how good a craftsman they were.  Plus that was a perfect circle of pretty stiff metal and when it was done that had to fit snug enough on that wooden spoked wheel to stay on there.  And you didn’t have a lot of degree of tolerance there to make those things.  Those guys were really craftsmen.

Another thing I discovered I had out there, when I got to messing with this topic, is a chimney saddle.  How many of you would know what a chimney saddle was.  It’s made out of wrought iron in the old days, when they had a house that they wanted to have some heat in the upstairs and didn’t want a stove there, they would run the stove pipe through the ceiling up into the room and then into a chimney so you would get heat from the pipe as it would come up through to the outside.  Now you didn’t want to build a chimney clear down through the house to the floor in order to have a chimney, so they would get a blacksmith to make this wrought iron metal saddle thing made out of heavy metal.  I would have brought it along if it hadn’t been so clumsy.  It’s up to about this high, out this way, and way down this way, and then down at the bottom a metal cage or platform is there where you start to build the chimney on.  They would hang that over the joist at the top of the ceiling of the room divider and that would hang right against the wall and they just built bricks right up on that and right on out the roof.  We’ve got a chimney hanging in one room of our house now and that’s the reason I have it.  When we did some remodeling we tore one of those out.   That’s where it came from.  You can see the marks of the hammer on this wrought iron metal where the ole boys hammered it out.  In those days you could take anything you wanted made, if you had the right dimensions, and those fellows could hammer it out the way it ought to be, out of steel or metal.

I wondered what “blacksmith” really meant.  So what do you do?  You go to Webster.  And Webster says that a smith is a man who works with metal.  And the word “smith” is used many times in connection with various kinds of trades: gunsmith, coppersmith, silversmith, locksmith, and a blacksmith.  My image of a blacksmith was always of a man with a dirty, heavy apron on.  I thought he was called a blacksmith because he was dirty looking.  But in reality black iron or wrought iron is black, so it’s a black metal.  Therefore, he’s called a blacksmith. So that’s where you get you word “blacksmith”.

I would like to give credit to some of the sources of my information for tonight.  I know on television they give credits after the show, but tonight you are going to get the credits before the show.  One source was the Heeter family letters.  Those are the first and second generations of Sebastian Heeter, from 1842 to 1888.  Edith Heeter is a member of this club although she isn’t here tonight.  An old classmate of mine gave me this book when she heard I was preparing this program.  This book was put together and edited by our own Lester Binnie.  It’s right from our own hometown.  Many of the oldtimers around here remember the Straws in the Wind column in the News Journal by Harry Leffel.  Then there was Industries Past and Present written by W.E. Billings and Tales of the Old Days also by Billings.  We also spent some time interviewing a couple of people.  If I had been asked to do this ten years ago, I could think of half a dozen more people I might have talked to about some of the things I would like to know about the old blacksmith shops.  But they’re all gone now, so there’s no way to contact them.  But I did think of two people who might know something about some of the early days and might have been associated with horses.  Paul Shanahan was one who lives out south of Servia.  I spent time talking with Paul one day about it and I also stopped in Servia and talked to Roy Krichbaum.  Roy is a man in his middle 70s and he filled me in on some things I’ll cover later.  So these are the sources of my information.

 

LIVERY STABLES (TIE BARNS)

 

The topic is blacksmith shops and livery stables, or tie barns, as they were known.  I’m going to cover those rather quickly before I get into the blacksmith shops.  There were, in those  horse and buggy days, water troughs for your horses when you came to town.  One of those was located on Market Street north of Main on the east side.  That would have been located about where Mr. Dave’s is now, I suppose.  Another one was on the west side of Mill Street north of Main Street somewhere north of the monument works.

Now for the livery barns or tie barns.  I call them tie barns.  Some are called livery barns.  I’m not sure of the difference, but I think tie barns were more just a place to put your horse while you were in town.  And the livery barn provided additional services.  One of the first ones I have listed here was one owned by Al Ramp.  It was located on Walnut Street north of the alley between Second and Third.  That would be north of the post office.  He leased that to Al Martin and Matt Quinn, who were horse dealers.  They would buy horses and ship them to the eastern markets to be used as dray horses to haul brewery wagons, coal wagons, ice wagons, whatever it might be.  There was a note in part of that story that the people who lived close to that barn were quite upset by some of the language these fellows would use when it was time to handle and load these horses.  They probably used some words that I did when I had a contrary horse to handle.

Another barn was Moe’s Tie Barn on the east side of Mill Street.  The feature about this one was that it was large.  When you came to town in your rig, you could just drive your rig and horse all the way in and tie up there and when you got ready to leave, just untie the horse and be ready to go.  You didn’t have to unhitch anything.  This was located at what is now Bryan Manufacturing or the old Leedy Building, as I call it, on Mill Street on the east side just north of Main.  At that time it was one of the largest tie barns around.  A. K. Denny bought it in 1909 and he hired F. P. Freeman to operate it for him.  In 1919 Franz Null and his brothers from South Whitley, bought the lot, I presume tore the building down, and built the present building there.  It was built for an automobile agency.  It was one of the largest and fanciest automobile agency buildings built in this part of the state at that time.  I bought a new car from there in 1939 and I remember going upstairs to look at it.  It was a – the building was built solid enough that they had a ramp on the north side so you could just drive a car up to the second floor and you could also drive it out.  I remember going up on that second floor and looking at the car they sold me and eventually driving it down out of that upstairs.  That building has now been made into a factory.

The next barn I have is the Harter Barn.  That was located on Front Street north of Fourth Street.  That one was a little bit out of the downtown—would have been then—and I figured it was located someplace about where the Woodcraft Furniture Factory is.  I think that would be north of Front and Fourth.  I had no other information on this one at all.

The Willis Barn was built in 1870 at the southeast corner of Main and Maple Street and that was bought by Al Ramp, the guy who had leased the one up on Walnut Street.  He bought that after they had a big fire at the old wooden hotel that was located on the corner where Maynard’s Store is now.  There used to be a big wooden hotel there and it burned in 1883.  Before that burned, Al Ramp managed, or took care of the tie barn for the hotel which was just beyond the hotel right on the ally beside of where Ace Hardware Store is now.  So after the fire when that hotel burned, he then, bought this Willis Barn.

Now the one that most of you are probably more familiar with than any around is the Jefferson Livery Stable.  That was right directly across the street over here on—close to the old Opera House—actually under the old Opera House, I guess it really was.  And he operated a taxi service.  I think there were somewhere close to eight or ten passenger trains stopped in a day here in N. Manchester.  He had taxis, horse taxis, that would meet all the trains.  There were two hotels, the Young Hotel and the Sheller Hotel, and he would have taxis, or buggies, with the name of the hotel on it.  So if you got off the train and were going to the Young Hotel, you knew you got into the buggy and came up to that hotel or if you were going to the Sheller Hotel, you’d go that way.  And if you just wanted to come uptown, you just got in to come uptown and it would cost you a dime to ride uptown.  If you didn’t want to pay the dime, you just walked and carried your luggage uptown.  That was there for a number of years and I’m not sure when that came to an end there, but in an 1875 atlas that I saw, it had ads for livery barns, one for S. P. Young and one for Witts and Clarley, and Johnson.  The Johnson address was the same one as given for the Jefferson Livery Stable.  And there was one that they called the Leevy.  By the way, don’t hold me to all these dates and things because some of our information was pretty sketchy and I’ve found lots of discrepancies in trying to make things jive with the dates that were given to us.

BLACKSMITH SHOPS

Now we’ll go into the blacksmith shops.  The first one I want to—I’m going to take it from this book that Edith gave me, the one that Lester compiled.  I got so intrigued with it.  This is a compilation of letters from the Heeters, back and forth between the ones who had moved out here and their relatives who lived over in Ohio yet.  And some of their wording and some of their spelling and things—I got so intrigued that I read a lot more than I should have in here as far as hunting blacksmith shops.  But I want to read to you about what must have been one of the first ones around here.

This is a letter, I think, from Abram Heeter to—that’s to Abram Heeter from Henry, and I’m not sure about the relationship to Edith, but they’re some of her relatives.  And he says in this letter dated February 18, 1851, “I made a first-rate log sled and a sugar sled and a shaving horse.”  (I’m not going into what a shaving horse is.  I think most of you would know what that would be.  I don’t know if any of you have ever shaved a horse or not!@!!)  [Crowd laughs]  He said, “I fixed my grindstone.  I bought 100 feet of poplar inch boards for six dollars.  And I must tell you, your brother, John Heeter, has built a blacksmith shop with hewed logs sixteen by twenty and laid floors in it for him to live in till he can fix his other house.”  So he apparently built a blacksmith shop before he built his house and he fixed the blacksmith shop so he could live in it till he got a house built.  I assume that’s what he means there.

Then in a later letter, the same one that Henry’s writing to Abram, and this was dated November 20, 1851.  “It was reported that you are going to sell your land out here and buy a piece out with you.”  I suppose he means out by where he has some land.  “I think it would be a poor idea.  That is my simple opinion.”  Now there he’s telling him he didn’t think much of it, I guess. And a few lines to John Imler, “There’s a blacksmith shop with two furs,” (I think he means fires in it, or forges) “one set of smith tools, for two hundred and fifty dollars, that’s on a corner lot.  The lot’s fenced in, the man wants to sell and go to Illinois in the spring.” (Illinois is spelled Elenoy – now that’s the way I’d spell it if…)  There’s a lot of that in here and it just gets so intriguing you can hardly put it down.  The odd part of it is that nowhere else in all the hunting I did, did I see John Imler’s name mentioned anymore in any of the blacksmith shops around town here.  I have no idea where this one was.  It says in North Manchester, but I have no idea which one of these was the one that John Henry was going to buy.  You’ll find out a little bit later that what the village blacksmith said, that you could trace anybody because you didn’t owe anybody, is not always true with blacksmiths.  And it wasn’t true with John Imler.

Now the next reference to John Imler was in a letter on September 25, 1857.  I won’t read all of the first part of it.  “Further to let you know that John Imler is broke.  John would like to know what to do with your notes”.  He must have borrowed some money from Abram and he wants to know… “John was up to see John Heeter, the farmer and he told him he was bale (I don’t know what that means” and if he could see you they could fix these matters.  So I think if you’d come you would soon see how much John Heeter has bought.”  No, it says, “John Heeter has bought some of his property trying to save himself and help you.”  Evidently he had loaned him some money too and he was trying to buy property to save his money.

Then on a little later on here in a letter in November, he said, “John Imler was here the other day and wanted John to sue him for that note of yours and John said he could not.”  Now these were the Brethren people and in those days they didn’t believe in suing one another.  So I suppose that’s what he means there that he would not.  “But he told him he should go home and work and try to pay for it.”  What the fella meant by coming here and wanted John to sue him we can’t tell.  “He is going to move to the town of Lagro (spelled Legro).  “He has rented there and has a blacksmith shop there and he’s going to try his luck once more.”  And it said, “Your cousin John Heeter has bought some of the property but it wouldn’t stand.”  Now I assume he meant that there was a mortgage on it and he bought the property and it probably wasn’t—couldn’t sell it—probably couldn’t sell it because of the mortgage on it.  I’m reading that into it.  “So it’s all for nothing.  He owes David Shock a good deal.”  This is the one that I laughed about.  “He don’t like to lose and growls like an old bear about it.  He said he don’t give me any satisfaction at all.”  I was really intrigued in reading those letters in there.  I won’t take that much time…

By the way, besides people questioning my qualifications for this, I had several other calls about another matter about this meeting.  That was about the length of it.  I guess some of you last time thought that program ran a little long.  Evidently it didn’t seem that long to me because I think I snoozed through part of it.  So it didn’t seem that long to me.  What I had here was three typewritten pages of notes and rehearsing this it just took half an hour for each page.  So that would be an hour and a half to get through it! [Crowd laughs!]

Now we go on down to the blacksmith shop.  John Harmony on the northeast corner of Main and Market.  That would be about where the water trough was someplace down in there along the alley.  He bought the lot from Michael Henney after the fire in 1890.  In 1890 the corner up there where Mr. Dave’s is, that whole corner there clear to the alley-there were about four buildings in there—and they all burned.  Evidently John Harmony bought the north end of those lots and put a blacksmith shop in there after the fire in 1890.  Alvin Bugby (who will come up later in another one of the shops) was a smith for Harmony.  Henney sold the south part of the lot to W. J. Sirk to build a theater and Sirk died before he got the movie house built.  His wife then sold the property of Phil Goehler and Howard Rager.  Now Phil Goehler many of you will know I think, was a custodian at the Chester School for a number of years and I think maybe even at the post office in later years.  Howard Rager was from over around Laketon the last I heard of him.  I knew both of those men personally.  They bought the lot and built the first filling station that was ever built in North Manchester.  That’s the one—then in 1923 that Standard Oil Company bought—the filling station.  In 1925 our own Russell Michaels went to work there for Standard Oil.  So that was the history of that one.

Down on—there’s another one called Whitlow and Ed Enyeart on the southwest corner of Main and Mill.  That would be across over here where the block building is facing on Sycamore Street.  That would be facing toward the Standard station, I guess.  In 1850 it was a two-story building.  John first made wagons and buggies on the second floor.  In 1880 John Knowles made wooden pumps and sold the place in 1867.

Now in some of these Heeter letters it tells about one of those families had come to Manchester to help somebody to make wooden cylinder pumps.  He may have been working for John Knowles, I don’t know.

The next one is William Harper, south of the alley between Main and Second Street, facing on Sycamore Street.  That would be back of the old Leedy Building, facing the other way on the other side of that block.  I just read that didn’t I?  I got in the wrong line of my notes.  My glasses slipped down. [Crowd Laughs.]

This Whitlow and Enyeart over here, that was an area they called the “Beehive” area.  I couldn’t find any explanation to why they called it the “Beehive” area.  They always had the “Beehive” in quotes.  The old sawmill, as I understand, was along south further than that.  Whether there might have been—somebody uncovered a nest of bees and someone got stung sometime or what, I don’t know.  But they called it the “Beehive” area.  In the back of that shop they had a novelty shop in the rear that made wagon bodies, buggys, wooden harrows, ladders, and childrens’ hobby horses.  Then about 1900 S.S. Gump bought the lot and he built the present building that’s there now.

The Harpers, the one I read about on Second Street over here, was between Main and Second facing Sycamore.

Then we had one that was called Jess Miller, Sr., and His Son, Jess, Jr. on the east side of the alley between Walnut and Mill.  That would be right at the alley right east of the building here.  Later it was moved to the southwest corner of Mill and Second.  That would be over about where the card shop [Joyful Scribes] is now, just north of the Pyramid Oil Company right in that area there, where that would be located then.  Later you’ll find that another one of these shops gives the same address.  Whether it followed that one or preceded it, I don’t know which it was.  It was later moved to the corner of Wayne and Main and that would be down where the old—where Bonded Oil station is now.  And they built a brick building with a cupola for melting iron.

Miller, Sr. was an expert machinist and could mold and machine almost any part to repair machinery.  So if you had something that you wanted made and had the pieces, he could put it together and made a mold for it and he could mold it and then machine it out for you and you could get the piece repaired.  I think that building-I remember it still standing there back in the ‘30s and I am not sure when it was taken down.  As near as I can tell, sometime around 1938 or 1940.  I think perhaps that Harold Urschel owned it at that time. I’m not that positive of that.

We’ve got another one that is called D. J. Rupley.  That’s the shop that some of you referred to and told me about at the east end of the covered bridge.  Some people say that that bridge runs north and south, but I swear it runs more east and west than it does north and south.  So it was on the far side of the river on the other side of the covered bridge.  And he bought it from—in 1878—from Ed Taylor and John Heeter.  Whether it’s one of the Heeters in here, I’m not sure.  They had a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop and Rupley was the blacksmith and did the iron work for the buggies and Tobias Pugh did the woodwork.

There were a lot of craftsmen in the woodworking and making buggy wheels and wagon wheels as well as the blacksmith work that goes into putting the metal on them.  And they advertised or bragged, or whatever you want to say, about their wagons.  They made a wagon that would track.  Now I’m sure most of you know what that means.  That means when you went down the road, that the back wheels tracked in the same tracks as the front wheels.  Apparently some of them made in those days didn’t always do that.  The assembling of the hub and wooden spokes and the felly—now the felly is that wooden part that surrounded the outer edge of the spokes that the iron band goes on that I was telling you about that the blacksmith puts on.  They call that “upsetting the wheel.”  Nobody seems to know why they called it that but when they go to put the wheel together, put the hub and the spokes and the felly all together, they were “upsetting the wheel” when they did that.  I’m not sure when that shop was discontinued but in later days he had a son, Mark, who ran a blacksmith shop in South Whitley.

Now here’s this S. P. Young whose name came up in a livery barn story back a little bit ago.  He was on the southeast corner of Walnut and Second.  That would be where the cleaning place [Town & Country Cleaners] is right now.  I think that there was a house there and Young lived in that and the actual shop was east of that a little ways.  They made wagons and buggies.  He had a foster son, George Shupp, who ran a coal yard from that same area there at the back of the blacksmith shop.  Then Shupp was the blacksmith and after the wagon and buggy making was discontinued (he ran the blacksmith shop until about 1915) then Von Shupp, the son of George, opened a tire and battery store in about 1915 when he opened that.

I remember Von Shupp running that place of business in the ‘20s because my mother bought an old 19-? (I don’t know what year it was) a Model T Ford anyhow, and went in there and bought a new set of tires from Von Shupp.  Goodyear tires and they weren’t worth a darn.  All four of them blew out with a month.  And if she had been a widow with seven kids…  Had an awful time in getting any adjustment out of Von’s Goodyear tires and I haven’t used Goodyear tires since.

The one that many of you know about, I think would be more familiar with, is the Thrush Blacksmith Shop.  According to the stories, I had some conflicting information about where all the thing was located.  It was first located on the southwest corner of Mill and Main.  That’s the same place the Whitlow and Enyeart was located to start with.  It was later moved to north Mill about where the Pyramid Oil Company is now.  That’s where this other one said he—on the southwest corner of Mill and Second.  But later that shop was moved to the east side of Mill Street just north of what I call the Leedy Building and that’s where it was, I remember, even after I was a young man—going in there and having blacksmith work done—at that shop.  So then Thrush had four sons and they were all blacksmiths.  Alvin Bugby worked for Thrush in there, but I’m not real sure about that.  I got the feeling that he might have been a partner with Thrush before it was all over.  I’m not real sure about that.  That was one of the last shops that I can remember being operated here.  Marie [Dillman] called me and said that she had given a picture of a blacksmith shop to the Society that was located on the west side of Walnut Street north of the Sheller Hotel.  That would be in the area about where the bakery shop was built, I think.

MARIE DILLMAN – No, it was on the east side.

BEERY – Oh well, then that would be about where that livery barn was then.  Someone said that Chet Ulrey had—he worked there as a blacksmith or worked there in the shop.  My brother, Dee, was telling me that he remembers going to that shop to have some work done on a bicycle one time.  I don’t know what a blacksmith would do to a bicycle.

DUANE MARTIN – John Penn was the bicycle man and was in there with John Parmerlee.

BEERY – Oh, that’s the way it was.  He said he thought there were two brothers.  Were there two Penn brothers in there?

DUANE MARTIN – Yes.  Jim and—I can’t remember the other one’s name.

BEERY – He said that he remembered that when they weren’t busy they had a croquet thing fixed out behind there and when they weren’t busy, were out there playing croquet when they didn’t have anything else to do.  So that must be the same place. 

Then in talking with Paul Shanahan about what might have been around Servia, there was a blacksmith shop in Servia and Paul worked there.  Even after he was married he worked there some.  And that was owned by Pete Baker.  Paul said he thought Pete was Noah Baker’s, the old shoe cobbler’s son, but I have some doubts about that.  I don’t remember the Baker family that well, but I don’t believe Noah had any sons, did he?

SOMEONE – It might have been his brother.

BEERY – Well, I didn’t question Paul about it, but was almost certain that Noah didn’t have any sons.  And Roy Krichbaum said he remembered going up to this shop as a kid living there in Servia, and watching them hammer out things.  He was telling me how they made those rims on the wagon wheels.  This old boy could do it.  He would get both of the ends of the rod real hot and bevel one down and then the other one, and they’d place them together and put some kind of powder—he wasn’t sure what it was.  Paul Shanahan thought it was soda that they put on that hot metal before they really hammered it tighter and smoothed it out.  But they could make a weld better than you can make a weld with acetylene torch or electric weld now.  Roy wasn’t real sure when that shop discontinued but he thought sometime in the middle ‘30s.  I don’t remember the shop ever being there.  We lived out in that area north of Servia a few years before that and I don’t remember that shop being there.

 Now the other thing I want to cover here doesn’t have anything to do with blacksmith shops.  There was a wooden wagon factory here in town about that same time that was located in the brick mill on West Main Street.  It was in the first brick building that was built in N. Manchester and as near as I can figure out from deciphering all the information I had, it must be the old brick building that stands down toward the railroad tracks on the south side of Main Street.  Does anybody know for sure it that’s the one?

ORPHA BOOK – That’s the one where Joe Brown had a wagon factory.

BEERY – Well, that’s what it was then—Joe Brown.  That was the one then.  It was one of the first brick buildings—it was a brick mill.  They called it the brick mill, but there was never any bricks made there.  But they called it that.  It was the first brick building built, so that’s where it got its name.  It was owned by Eicholtz, Petry, and Valdenaire (I don’t know who he was) and later sold to J. A. Brown and Henry Mills.  They made wagon spokes, axles, neck yolks, and single trees.  Now how many of you know what a neck yolk and a single tree is?  I suppose most of you do.  I had some of them at home but I didn’t bring any of them in either.

As far as the trade of a blacksmith tradesman anymore, there aren’t any.  I mean there’s just not any around anymore that can do what those old boys used to do with black metal.  There are a few guys around here who still shoe horses, and I suppose they call themselves blacksmiths.  But the ones-names that I had were…There’s one at Roann; Welby Simpson.  Paul Shanahan said he has him do his work.  And by the way, Paul told me he was 76 years old and still training colts and breaking horses at 76.  I said to him, “It’s about time you learned to quit!”

Then there was another, Bud Rhoades, who lives in Wabash, and an Adkins who lives in Lafontaine, and there used to be a man in Bippus.  Now they didn’t have shops.  They had traveling blacksmith shops.  They had a little outfit they put in their trailer—the forge and everything.  So they really weren’t blacksmith shops.

Then on top of everything else, a week ago yesterday, in the Sunday Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, there was a big headline article about a fellow by the name of Kenneth Lynch, Sr. of Wilton, Connecticut.  He has a collection of 500 tons of blacksmith tools.  He has worked on the Statue of Liberty, he’s worked on the Chrysler Building, he’s worked on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and he had the Rockefellers as one of his clients.  The collection is valued at over two million dollars.  He’s hired a curator to catalog and help him set it up in a museum.  If I ever get to Wilton, Connecticut, I’m going to look it up.  The curator’s name is Ted Monnich.  He bought one set of tools-a 500 piece set-from a silversmith and he said the silversmith hated to part with those because—now this is in quotes, “He knew men would never be born again to make these tools.”  And I doubt whether there’s ever men going to be born again that will be truly blacksmiths as we understood them back in the 1830’s to ‘50s.

Now that’s the end of my notes, I think.  Yep!  So I appreciate you bearing with me.  It’s kind of a disconnected dissertation, but it’ll give you some idea of what went on in the 1800s.