Homesteader Orion Hapner Chooses a Pulled Wagon Over Gas Engines

The author describes Orion Hapner choosing a pulled wagon over gas engines when traveling to town for weekly supplies.


| March/April 1966



Little tin wagon

Photo courtesy of Joe Fahnestock, Union City, Indiana.

JOE FAHNESTOCK

Orion Hapner was happy to use a pulled wagon over gas engines to get his weekly supplies. 

Dayton Daily News & Radio's "Joe's Journal".

Last time I ever posed with Orion Hapner, was when I asked him to pose as my official chauffer in an ancient Tin-Lizzie outside the. eating tent at the Jim Whitbey Reunion, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He clambered up over the tin running board, despite his ninety years, like a schoolboy.

The ghost of the late Orion Hapner is stalking these parts, in the fabulous, unforgettable mem'ries he's left behind. For in the parade of human affairs, comes now and then the nonconformist, such as the bearded, iron-man Orion Hapner whose ways of living and doing things uproots the conventional patterns of man.

For the raw-boned and husky 94 year old Orion Hapner who lived up Mississinawa River-way in western Darke County, Ohio, it was not enough to be merely well-versed and well-read on steam locomotion and traction, gleaned from his gigantic library of American and European steam volumes when there was the subject of internal-combustion yet to be reckoned with.

"Steam is wonderful and powerful on both the farm and the railroads," the man-mountain, Orion Hapner, would always say. "But the big farm tractors and the diesel locomotives had to come," quoth the bearded prophet, brushing his whiskers with each turning page as he pondered his ponderous volumes of both steam and gas traction.