Not For Sale

Witte engine

Witte engine.

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RR#1,Box 165 Windsor, Vermont 05089

It was the 6th of May this year and I was ready to go engine hunting. I decided to stop to see my buddy Ed, to try to stir things up and see if he cared to go along. He decided he had things to do, so I went home to figure out my next move.

I was having a cup of coffee, thinking 1 might take a short trip into New Hampshire. You can almost spit in the Connecticut River from where I live- about a mile to the south is the famous Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, so it is a short trip to get to New Hampshire. Anyhow, the phone rang. I had asked my friend Bob Warren earlier if he was planning on going to the Hudson, New York engine auction on the coming weekend. Bob and his wife Pat are mainstays of the Vermont Gas and Steam Engine Club. Bob usually goes to the auction, and said he was going down to Hudson, and was ready to load my drag saw and other items to take to the auction.

I mentioned to Bob that I was about to go on a short engine hunting trip into New Hampshire and wondered if he cared to go along, before we loaded the things I wanted to send to the Hudson auction. It didn't take Bob very long to answer my question and say he'd be right down.

Since Bob lives just a short distance from me, he was here in a short time and said, 'Let's go!' We both hopped into my pickup and were off. I said I knew a guy who had a lot of rusty iron and I knew there was an engine there with a tree growing up through part of it. I had been there before and I knew the way- that was about five years ago.

This day, we were on the wrong road and wound up on a dead end road in someone's dooryard. There were people inside, so I asked if they knew where we had taken a bad turn and if they knew the place I was talking about. We were close, but we had to backtrack down the hill and take the first right to get to the place these people called a real junkyard. I call it rusty iron and I love the stuff.

We arrived at rusty iron heaven and treasures were stored all around the house, the barn, the fields. It was still early in the year in New England, with water and mud everywhere. We spotted a rusty Witte and thought we ought to take a picture of it in case we couldn't buy it. There were geese honking and chickens making noises nearby and, frankly with all the noise, we decided to go to the house, after we had snapped one picture.

I tried to get to the front door but it wasn't easy getting around the treasures. I heard someone holler from the house and I hollered back. I was near the part of the house that had been vacated due to a fire about two years earlier.

As I eased around to the inhabited side of the house, the lady wanted to know what I wanted. As I was telling her I wished to take pictures of the old engine, the man of the house showed in the doorway, so I repeated that I was interested in taking pictures of the engine and wondered if he wanted to sell. 'NO!' He didn't want to sell the engine, but I could take pictures and look the engine over and we did.

Across the road where the barn is, or was, was a pasture containing more treasures. We asked if we could go to the pasture and take a few more pictures, and the owner reluctantly gave us permission to check some more rusty iron treasures. I invited the gentleman to come along, as I would like to include him in the pictures, but I got another 'NO' for an answer and, 'It's too wet and muddy over there.'

Being unprepared for that amount of mud and water, Bob and I worked our way around the pasture and barn and came up with a couple other interesting subjects for pictures-the Fordson tractor and the model 'A' Ford doodle-bug with the Sears, Roebuck & Co. tractor adapter kit.

Meanwhile, back across the road, Ma and Pa were sorting metal to sell for supplemental income and Pa was a little reluctant to give up too many of those treasures to supplement that income. Ma had just lost her shepherd dog and wondered if I knew where she could get a pup. She also wanted a gander for the goose. We couldn't seem to help her much with that, but we offered to buy the engine, and Pa kept saying, 'No.' Finally, Ma says, 'Why don't you sell that old engine?' but Pa kept holding out. I asked if we could come back and visit, and they both agreed it would be okay if we came back for a visit. We bid them both 'good day' and headed for home.

Engine buffs-if you know where this story originated, remember-it's our find!