WASHINGTON CROSSED HERE


| September/October 1979



Army Across River

108 Garfield Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940

On Christmas night in 1776 Genera] George Washington lead his tatered army across the Delaware River at a point known as McKonkey's Ferry and Johnson's Ferry to attack Rail's Brigade of Hessians garrisoned in nearby Trenton. This daring maneuver was made possible by the famous Durham boats commandeered from Durham Forge and the pig iron trade between Easton and Philadelphia. These sturdy boats of 60 to 66 foot length overall and 8 foot beam were capable of carrying 15 tons of cargo and were, therefore, admirably suited to the task. Our history books tell us that the Colonials surprised the Hessians in a resounding victory before recrossing the river to return to base. The British from Princeton reinforced the town the following day in the seesaw battle for our national independence. A hardy band of history buffs from the Princeton area gather on Christmas day to reinact this scene to remind us of the hardships endured.

However, in the intervening years this beach-head has been secured beyond a doubt to the point where the newly organized Delaware Valley Old Time Power and Equipment Association felt that the Washington's Crossing State Park would make an excellent place for their first gas engine show September 23, 24, 1978. And so it did!

The Association held its organization meeting in September 1977 just one year ahead of their first show. Charles Runkle was elected President with Marvin Fleming as Vice President, Nancy Brokaw (Mrs. John) agreed to be Secretary and Charles Morrell looks after the Treasury. This group did such a good job that they got themselves elected to carry on and to plan the next show which is now scheduled for the same place and the same time this year.

It takes a lot of work to put together a show that will attract a large audience and attract exhibitors from both near and far as this one did. S. B. Voorhees, Sr., of Livingston, New York, was there with his American Sawmill Machinery Company wood splitter. This machine was built in Hackettstown, New Jersey, circa 1900. It was powered with a 4 horsepower Alamo Engine Company 1917 hopper cooled engine. John Brokaw set up his buzz saw rig to cut feed for the splitter. This made an interesting sequence of operations. The saw also doubled as the cut off rig for feed blocks to John's single mill operation.

Marvin and Elsie Fleming brought there extensive collection of machines and tools. Among the ten or so gas engines was an Ottawa drag saw that was in operation for demonstrations from time to time. There were early models of washing machines and a collection of hand implements. In fact, there was such an extensive collection that Marvin's brother, Romulus, was kept busy helping.