SHIRLEY REMEMBERS EARLY HISTORY

By Paul Shirley from the March 99 and May - June 99 newsletters.

Paul Shirley remembers back to 1976 when he and Ed Fincham had opened an auto repair and John Deere lawn and garden equipment shop in Louisville.

They had taken a Hercules engine in trade and mentioned this to Harold Derushia, a machinist with the Plattsburg Motor Service in Massena. He told Paul and Ed about a group that was getting together to talk about old engines and invited them to join them.

Meanwhile, a customer in their shop had wanted to buy the old Hercules, so Paul decided he needed to learn more about them and their value.

There were two or three informal meetings before the group decided to form a club. At a meeting at Leon Page's house in Stockholm on December 12, 1976, bylaws and officers were approved by those present, officially forming the St. Lawrence Gas & Steam Engine Association.

The twelve founding members were Harold Derushia, Paul Shirley, Leon Page, Ray Page, Vernon Hogle, Harlow Hogle, Rodney Hogle, Kyle Latrace, Edward Fincham, Brice Winters, Leonard VanEss, and Henry Besaw.

The first officers were Harold Derushia, Director; Harlow Hogle, Asst. Director; Paul Shirley, Secretary; Ed Fincham Treasurer; and Vern Hogle, Leonard VanNess, and Brice Winters, Directors; Leon Page, Senior Advisor.

The purpose of the new Association was the preservation and enjoyment of any type of historical or special interest power plant designed to make production of man's necessities and sports easier.

Dues were set at $5.00 per year, a rate not changed for the next 22 years. Dues cover the cost of the newsletter. The Association has a complete set for anyone interested.

The original bylaws called for four meetings each year with a dinner meeting in early spring to plan summner activities and a banquet in January or February.

Membership would be by application and sponsorship of another member.

The first show was held in June, 1977 at the Louisville, NY Fireman's Field Days. There were 26 engines, 2 tractors, and a Model A pickup.

The Association was incorporated in the spring of 1983. This allowed the organization to insure itself against liability. As a non-profit organization, it also made it possible to receive the gift, the $1.00 purchase, of a steam engine from Saint Lawrence County.

Harold Deruchia donated an International gas engine which was sold to raise money to pay for legal fees.

Leadership has been provided by Presidents including Harold Derushia (3 years), Paul Shirley (6 years), Bill Pharoah, Ron Day (3 years), Gary Crowe (7 years), Marty 0' Such (2 years), and Bill Shirley (2 years).

Other officers have included Ed Fincham, Gary Hargrave, D. Woodside, Lowell Nicholson, Linda Parmeter, and Roger Austin.

Annual banquets have been held every year since 1978.