Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013: Letters to the editor

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Would you buy a Taliban-made car?

I see bumper stickers, banners, and print in the social media to support out troops. Then when you drive down the road, you see license plates for a retired veteran, ex-POW, ex-military, driving a Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Nissan or BMW.

Have we forgotten about the 416,000 men and women in the military who lost their lives in WWII, not counting the millions that were killed by Germany, but yet we still support their economy?

I know, you say that they are built in the USA, but all the profits go to their economy.

Yes, I buy things made in Japan and China. But when the item next to it is made in the USA, I buy it and don’t look at the price.

I just hope that the Taliban doesn’t start selling cars in 60 years. If they do, will your grandchildren buy them and think nothing of it?

Phillip Drake


Mast-Hensler barn outlasting them all

The large barn on the Larry Hensler farm, 2 miles west of Plevna, is 150 years old this year. It was built in 1863, when this country’s Civil War was raging. Who knows, they may have been working on it when the battle of Gettysburg was being fought in the east.

The barn was built by Amish pioneer Moses “Mose” Mast, who came to this area in 1853 from Holmes County, Ohio, along with fellow pioneer Christian Hershberger. Built in the Pennsylvania Dutch-style Mose Mast was familiar with back in Ohio, it is a “bank” barn.

In the rolling hills of Holmes County, barns could be placed against the side of a grade, with the basement level for the stock. Over this, the threshing floor and hay mow area was built, so that the farmer could bring equipment right up into the main level.

In the newly created Howard County the land was flat, so Mose Mast built a 41-by-90-foot basement, then made his own bank by moving dirt up against it to form a ramp. Over the basement he built a 43-by-90-foot main structure, overlapping 2 feet on the ramp side, and across the west front, he built a 7-foot roof shelter that was later extended down the south side.

The main floor consisted of 9-by-17 inch hewed log beams spaced about 2 feet apart and 43 feet long without a splice, an indication of what kind of timber was available at the time. Indeed, the county was covered with forests that had to be cleared, and on the Mast farm they kept adding to a pile that smoldered for three years without ever going out.

The east or back end of the threshing floor was raised slightly so that hay and feed could be pushed through to the stock below. The barn probably had a wood shingle roof, which was replaced years later with slates. A tornado once hit the property, and raked the slate roof off most of the barn. In the farmyard stood a wooden-wheeled wagon, and one of the slates hit a spoke and cut halfway through it before shattering.

Mose Mast also established a burial ground on a corner of his farm, and he was no stranger to tears. He lost his wife, Elizabeth, in 1887, and his daughter, Malissa, born in 1856, lived only one day. Magdalena, born in 1859, lived one year; Sarah, born in 1861, survived for 16 days; and Catherine, born in 1863, lived only for one day.

Moses Mast, born March 2, 1823, acquired his farm in 1854. He died on Jan. 25, 1890, and took his place at the back of his namesake burial ground. His daughter, Mary, married Ananias D. Hensler, son of another pioneer, Lewis Hensler, and thereafter the farm has been in the Hensler name, and the burial ground has been known as the Mast-Hensler cemetery.

Today Larry and Barbara Hensler live on the farm, and Larry maintains the old barn, though it was built for another time and has few uses nowadays. In an era when these barns are disappearing, the Mast-Hensler barn — with its new tin roof — is an exception. One of the first of its kind to be built in the fledgling Howard County, it is now beginning to outlast them all.

And it’s aging gracefully.

Jeff Hatton