Archive for June 29, 2012

The Tannery   Leave a comment

Above:  The Tanner

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From Leaves in the Wind, page 10

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Time has taken heavy toll of our landmarks, and not many people living today remember Jake Moyer’s tan yard.  It was located in the main part of town, about where the pawn shop and Seymore’s Filling Station are now.  To my child-mind, it was a business any city could be proud of.

To me Jake Moyers was a gentleman and a scholar.  He had very definite ideas of what was right and wrong, and he took an active part in all religious and civic affairs.  It was said that he was active in the drive to rid the town of all saloons.  The campaign was hard fought, and Jake’s side was victorious.  The opposition then moved just outside the city limits and erected a huge saloon, which they immediately named “Jakeville.”  That part of town bears that name today.

Jake derived much pleasure from life, and nothing pleased him more than to have people manifest an interest in his vocation.  He was a master story-teller and a devoted student of human nature.  I learned by visiting him and by drinking in his stories of the past.  His philosophy of life, which made him steadfast for the right, is as sound today as it was then.

He did not have to advertise his business with any sort of sign.  That wasn’t necessary, for noses were standard equipment on people in those days, just s they are today.  The symphony of scents, composed by those acrid fumes rising from the vats, was something the nostrils would cherish through the years.

Jake’s tannery consisted of a two-story structure partially surrounded by a series of vats.  The second floor housed the work area where he fashioned various articles of leather.  His uncanny ability to create accurately the articles from the leather which he tanned still seems a bit out of the ordinary.  I never failed to get a thrill as I watched the leather on the numerous steps through the vats where the actual tanning took place, on to the completed articles so painstakingly finished at the tables upstairs.

JOHN DODSON TAYLOR, JR.