8/30/2016 Article that was never published Part 1: Questions sent and thoughtfully answered
How did you learn about blacksmithing and how long have you considered yourself a blacksmith?
GJ- I began smithing with John Cummins of Moores Hill. We have a common interest in Period camping and shooting of Flintlock firearms. The blacksmithing was an extension of this interest, making utensils and fire sets for trade or barter with our fellow campers. This began about 35 years ago. John and I forged a trigger guard for my .62 caliber Southern Mountain Flintlock in 1983.
Who were some of the earliest blacksmiths to arrive in Indiana, and/or to work in the area?
GJ- I am sure every community eventually had a blacksmith, just like the general store or livery. The Blacksmith in early times may have served as the town fix-it man and was the closest thing to a dentist. They had the means to pull teeth or could make something that could.
Herman Diem was a Blacksmith in Versailles that shod horses for us when I was very young. We rode across the Versailles State Park to his place on top of the hill above the Busching Bridge. I am sure this was my first encounter with a Blacksmith of any kind. I have Herman's post vice, bought from an auction. In fact, almost every piece of equipment I use has its own story about where it came from or who owned it previously.