William Smith
About a year ago I was disappointed to hear my dad once owned two blacksmith ledgers but sold them in the 1970's. I went right to ebay to look at blacksmith ledgers for sale. While most with names of the blacksmith and location makes them sometimes very valuable. I found one with no name or location. A large completely intact leather bound one going back into the 1880's. I was amazed to realize I won the auction at 50$! Wow! I spent tons of effort looking for a location somewhere in the ledger. After going over almost two hundred of the blacksmith's customers, I was getting very disappointed. Each page had the customer's very beautifully written names and purchases, yet not one location.

I got to the end of the book, and on the last page was a bunch of addition and subtraction scribbles...and right in the center...Joseph Peters, Snyder County, Bannerville Pa! I looked it up and was floored to find out this blacksmith had the very first Bean soup Festival/gathering. 125 years ago on the second floor above his shop. they have since moved the festival to Mcclure Pa. They are celebrating their 125th anniversary and having a big historical display. it is an eight days long festival and the president gets soup flown to him every year.

The story gets better. The main legend and first two paragraphs of the festival tells about how the civil war soldiers were getting too old to keep up militia duties. In the meeting at the blacksmith shop they decided to start a Sons of the civil war (Sons of The Union Veterans) (G.A.R. post)group to pass on the knowledge before it was lost. They say it was one of the fist groups and around the same time Philadelphia and Pittsburgh started their sons of the civil war group. One of the attendees in the Group, Com. Ner Middlesworth, offered to procure real civil war "Hard Tack" from the Government, to eat with the bean soup...guess who is a customer in my blacksmith ledger...Ner B. Middlesworth. Wikipedia tells us this is his son!

I contacted the person in charge of the Mcclure Bean Soup Festival to tell them I would loan them the ledger for their Historical display/125th anniversary. They were happy to allow this and upon realizing I am a blacksmith to offer me a spot next to the display to perform demo's. I am now planning on going to use period tools and clothing and even have a sign saying I am Joseph Peters. I am so excited and can't wait! What a fantastic Chain of Events! To think... the ledger was in the building during the first meeting and now I will have returned it for the 125th anniversary! My first Blacksmith Demonstration will be one I will remember for sure!


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Too cool.  Take pics to show us the festival and your demo.

Rule #10;  "I can make that" translates to; "I'm to cheap to buy it new."

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Hank Rearden
I don't think people know how important the ephemera is to the historical relevance of a craft is.  It's one thing to pass on stories it's another to show actual time capsules. Your find is important on several levels. How Cool!

I just checked out the calendar. What day will you be demonstrating?

Thanks for sharing William Smith.
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