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My Great-Great-Grandfather “Jessie” was the towns blacksmith. What he taught my Grandpa, my Grandpa taught me.

We want to share what we have collectively learned and passed down thru the generations, so our skills won’t be lost or forgotten!

I am a well-seasoned retired Union Carpenter. As a kid working with my grandfather in his woodshop was my favorite thing to do. My Grandpa “Arloe” was a lineman for PGE and taught me many skills. He always included me helping him doing plumbing, wiring, building boats, grandfather clocks, furniture-you name it. We played guitar, sang, hunted, and went fishing for Salmon and Dungeness crab. He’d always brag to his friends about how talented I was. I always admired him as did all who met him. He would do anything to help anyone and always with a kind word and a smile. I was so proud to be his grandson. He talked a lot about his grandfather, “Jessie,” the town blacksmith. He told me stories of the many skills his grandfather taught him while working as his apprentice in “Jessie’s Blacksmith Shop” after school starting at age nine. One story was of a nearby mill with a massive steel shaft, thirty-foot-long that snapped in two after a bitterly cold winter in Missouri late 1800s. Jesse and Grandpa went right to work firing up some coal and making some sort of contraption to handle this huge-heavy-long-steel-shaft. The only one Jessie let operate his forge was (of course) my Grandpa!

Several men with wagons and horses brought the monster to Jessie’s Blacksmith Shop to help turn it over his forge while he repaired it. When it got “white-hot,” Jessie split the ends, added a piece then beat the three parts together. Carefully filing and checking it every step of the way. After it was re-installed, the Mill owner swore up and down it ran smoother than when it was new. My Grandpa said Jessie was always so kind and giving. He only asked payment of whatever he knew they could afford to give as times were hard. He said when Jessie died, he’d never seen as many people come to town for his funeral, even more than during the state fair. My Grandpa had tears in his eyes telling me this story, as I do now to write about it. I am forever grateful to have been loved by such a kind, giving, and talented man.

Dan Deulen

 

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