McKenna Process Company
Plant formerly located in Joliet, Illinois - ca. 1920.
The Life of George Langford, Sr., 1876-1964
by George Langford, Jr., 1901-1996
Transcribed & lightly edited by George Langford, III, 1936-

Author's note: I feel exceptionally well qualified to act as Father's biographer; we were very closely associated in a number of ventures during practically all of Father's life: Oarsman; Scientist; Steel Mill Operator; Pater Familias; Personality; Social Life; Paleontologist; Archaeologist; Paleobotanist; McKenna Process Company; Life Partner; Genealogist; Artist; Sculptor; Author; Poet; Musician; Epilogue.
OARSMAN: Very early in my life, I came to know Father as a famed athlete.  I was very young when I first learned to read, and my favorite "textbook" was four fat scrapbooks of Father's, full of newspaper clippings of events that had interested him:  college football, club track and field events, professional boxing, and, of course, rowing.  There were many pictures and descriptions of races between college crews: Harvard, Penn, Cornell, Wisconsin, and Yale.
So; here was Father, tall and slender and tough-looking, along with the rest of the Yale eight-oared varsity crew.
Father was frequently given special attention; he had been chosen, as a freshman, to row stroke on the varsity crew ... a position usually filled by a seasoned veteran oarsman ... but by a Freshman ? Never.
In the last quarter of the 19th Century, the heroes of sports were champion boxers, bicycle riders, runners, and oarsmen.  Father, rowing on an extra good Yale crew and singled out for attention for his selection as a Freshman stroke, got a full share of publicity.
During my growing-up years at home, some of Father's famous athletic friends would drop by to see him, so I got to meet several of his crewmates and some of the legendary footballers of the period: Ross Hickok, Orville Hickok, Pudge Heffelfinger, and Amos Alonzo Stagg, later to be a long-time football coach at the University of Chicago.
It didn't strike me as unusual when Father took up golf.  He could do practically anything he wanted with his good right arm.  The loss of his left arm made him develop a roundhouse golf swing, and he was the longest and also the wildest off the tee at the Joliet Country Club, where he earned a twelve handicap.
Years later, on visits to St. Paul, he rowed a few times in a pick-up crew, just to see if he could row with one arm and for old times' sake.
SCIENTIST: Also, when I was very young, I was familiar with Father's reputation as a scientist, not only because of his active scientific ventures, but also because in Joliet he was viewed as a sort of resident scientist, and whenever an event occured involving any kind of science, the newspapermen would come to Father for explanation.
Father also had many visits from scientists in various special natural science fields; men from Yale, Harvard, the Universities of Chicago and Illinois, and from the big museums.  They would discuss their specialties with Father, and I would listen with both ears, comprehending very little of it at the time, although some of it eventually rubbed off on me.
STEEL MILL OPERATOR:  Father's job with the McKenna Company was a hard and demanding one.  He spoke freely about operations problems, and when I was only about six years old, he would take me on occasional Sundays to the mill to see what was going on.  I didn't understand what the problems were, but I was very much aware that they were serious and hard to deal with.
PATER FAMILIAS:  Our family life revolved around Father.  In my early childhood I viewed him as a combination of athlete, scientist, steel mill operator and general advisor. 
He was always available to anyone: Mother's artist and club women friends, visiting family members, scientists, newspaper people, and very much to my sister and me and our friends.
PERSONALITYEndowed with superior intellect, he never let it overpower people; he never talked down to them.  Father had a modest, unaffected personality, a natural charm that inspired the affection of his friends, men and women alike.  Most of the memorials that I have saved speak of this quality.  He was a truly lovable man.  The Unmack boys - Al, Fred and Henry - and I treated a two-mile square area as our personal domain.  We knew every square foot of it, where each bird type nested, where the animal burrows were, where Indian relics were to be found, all the geographical twists and turns of our Sugar Creek.  We found all sorts of interesting things, and we constantly asked Father for answers.  We got straight-out answers, often full of scientific words that needed explanation; and so we learned.
SOCIAL LIFE:  Despite all of his scientific and mill-business interests, Father led a far from anti-social life.
In our living room at home, he and Mother had evolved a geographical setup that worked out just fine.  This room was unusually large; in the center was a social area in front of the fireplace, with two large davenports at right angles to the fireplace wall forming an area about twelve by sixteen feet.  This is where Mother gave bridge parties and received guests.  At the south end [nearer the front of the house - George, III], behind one davenport, was my sister's baby grand piano and Mother's writing desk.  The north end of the room, behind the other davenport, was Father's workplace.  He had a bookcase, two tables and a large worktable.  Father could write or work mending clay pots, repairing Indian skulls, and still see over the davenports and engage in the general conversation, or take a hand of bridge, or whatever.  Visitors were always welcome to come back of the davenport and chat with Father as well as see what he was doing, and Father treated these visits as welcome diversions and not as interference.
Father was well content to have Mother handle the social side of their life together.  She loved to give dinner parties and bridge parties.  They went to dances and out with their friends.  Mother had a special talent for making their home an hospitable place to visit.  She was the ideal hostess, and she and Father made a much sought-after couple.
PALEONTOLOGIST:  In 1887 at age eleven, Father collected marine fossils in the limestone outcroppings on the banks of the Mississippi River at St. Paul, Minnesota.  Aided by his father and grandfather, he learned what they were, their scientific names, and their geological history.  Not long after, he collected fossil fishes in a small, specialized Wisconsin quarry.  By the time he entered the Sheffield Scientific School, the Engineering part of Yale University, he had acquired more knowledge of paleontology than Yale offered in the first two years of that subject.
Father applied for registration in the course taught by Professor O.C. Marsh, then regarded as one of the top men in the field of Paleontology.  But the rules of the university required formal completion of its first two years, and Father felt that he was not entitled to divert that quantity of credit hours from his three-year Engineering course.  The university even denied him the privilege of auditing Professor Marsh's advanced course.  As the result, Father never had any actual, formal training in Paleontology.  This did not weaken Father's interest in the slightest.
In 1898 after receiving his degree in Mechanical Engineering, Father moved to Joliet, Illinois, to take his first job, as an engineer for the McKenna Process Company, which reprocessed worn railway rails for the railroad industry.  The Joliet and Lemont limestone quarries were noted for their extra well preserved marine fossils: crenoids, trilobites and many other species, and Father amassed many superb specimens.
In 1904 while Father was in England, monitoring the construction and initial operation of another McKenna rolling mill, he used odd moments to study the huge British Museum fossil collection and also to collect marine fossils and coal plant fossils, specimens small enough to take back with him to America.
Whenever McKenna business trips took Father near a collecting site, he would resume collecting.  He built up a very large collection of fossil shark teeth from Plum Point on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, which was widely admired by his museum friends.
Father also bought small sized fossils from Charles Sternberg, a professional fossil hunter from the Wyoming Badlands.  And Father had an arrangement with some of his scientific friends to trade his shark teeth for their surplus fossil items.  As Father had no space available to exhibit large specimens, he concentrated on small sized fossils, which he kept in spool cases wangled from department stores [I still have one of these J.&P. Coats cases, albeit filled with mineral specimens of George, Sr.'s - George, III].
In 1907 Father bought from Charles Sternberg a slab of chalk from the Wyoming Badlands, three feet by four feet by four inches thick, that Sternberg felt held the pieces of a lizard-like skull, possibly an entire skull.  Father set this slab up on a sort of easel in the small barn behind our home on Union Street in Joliet.  Although he had lost his left arm in a rolling mill accident in 1900, Father used his right hand very skillfully.  Chipping the chalk away, he soon uncovered piece after piece of a skull and lower jaw.  In areas where we could do no damage, I and one of my playmates were allowed also to chip away the chalk.  I can't remember how long it took, but eventually Father assembled the lower jaw and skull into what is known as an "open mount," that is, unsupported by its chalk matrix.  This specimen, Clidastes Tortor, is still on exhibition at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.  This display brought Father his first real recognition as a serious Paleontologist.
In June, 1911, Father was near Minooka, Illinois, looking for Indian relic collecting sites and, remembering John Bamford's 1902 discovery of mastodons, drove over to see him and ask what had happened to the excavated bones.  Bamford was still living then and told Father how he had found the deposit while digging a surface well to water his livestock.  He had felt that they were valuable, but the price he wanted was more than the Field Museum and the American Museum of Natural History were willing to pay.  Bamford continued work on his well, stacking the bones on the nearby ground, where they lay for over a year, exposed to the weather.  Then he moved them to one of his old barns, where they were still piled when Father talked with Bamford.
Father felt that the site was well worth exploring for more animal remains and for possibly associated human bones.  He interested the American Museum of Natural History, and they secured the right to make such an excavation.  But the territory to be explored was so large, the depth of excavation in marshy soil so great, and the probable cost so large, that the Museum decided not to undertake the project, to Father's great regret.
But the bones were still there in Bamford's barn, and Father felt that they should be protected and preserved.  Bamford was agreeable to their removal, and so Father bought them for a nominal sum, about $150, as I remember.
Father owned a Hudson two-seater with no means for carrying freight.  He and one of his mechanics rigged a six-foot-high chicken wire enclosure around the rear of the car and made several trips lugging bone and mastodon tusks and crates full of bison and elk and other animals from Minooka to his home in Joliet.  I made at least two of these trips with Father.
Father stored them up in the third floor of the house, taking over Mother's studio, while he patched and protected the bones and tusks.  There were fourteen identifiable mastodon skulls, some small tusks, and one tusk that was nine feet tall.  All these animal bones eventually found their way to Chicago's Field Museum.
The Bamford site still remained unexplored in 1986.  It lay just above glacial gravel, and the museum people estimated its age at about ten thousand years.  For years, a prized posession on the wall of my bedroom in Joliet was the skull of an extinct bison, much larger than the modern species.
Father never outgrew his interest in Paleontology.  His last collecting occured in 1945, when he and Mother were returning through South Dakota from a nostalgic trip to Yellowstone Park.  Driving along a little-used road, he noticed a patch of exposed bare ground by the edge of the road.  There, on the surface of the Pierre Shale, was the almost complete skull of a large fish.  Near it were the toothed jaws of a small flying reptile, an immediate ancestor of modern birds.  Father brought the specimens back to the Field Museum to add to their collections.
ARCHAEOLOGIST: In the Summer of 1892, Father read in his grandfather's library a report by Squire and Davis, two professional archaeologists, who had done some exploration of one of the large effigy mounds on the farm of a Mr. Hopewell
Indian burial mounds are common all over the central states and usually contained, in addition to the burials themselves, the arrowheads and  axes and the like, usually found on the surface.  But these Hopewell Farm burials were totally different; with them were artistic items made from shell and sheets of mica, copper items, ornaments made from river pearls, carved bear teeth, obsidian spear heads, and shells from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.
Squire and Davis felt that these mounds had been made by Indians more advanced than the modern Indians of the last few hundred years and gave them the name, "Mound Builders."
Father and sveral of his young friends went by train to Lake Pokegama in Northern Minnesota and camped on the shores of the lake.  Two Chippewa men visited their camp, said they had no knowledge of any mounds, but said there was a cemetary across the lake.  As a lark, the boys rowed across the lake, selected what looked like two small mounds, and dug.
Two feet down in the soft sand, they found two skeletons and expected to find strange and valuable relics.  What they did find was an iron cooking pot, some china dishes, some traces of cloth, and two pennies with post-Civil-War dates.  Disillusioned and conscience-stricken, they filled in the graves, rowed back to their camp, packed up, and caught the morning 6:30 train back to St. Paul.
Very soon after, a lawyer located Father and, assuming him to be the ring-leader, threatened trouble if he didn't make restitution.  Grandfather Robertson got Father a lawyer, and the two lawyers worked out an agreement, that the honor of the Chippewa would be restored by the payment of $25.00, which Father paid.
Later in 1892, Father read a newspaper article about a party of archaeologists exploring the Hopewell mounds and planning to exhibit their finds at the Chicago World's Fair.
Professor Warren K. Moorehead of the Philips-Exeter School, the professional archaeologist in charge, took a remarkable collection of showy specimens to the World's Fair, and in 1893 Father spent time there, mainly to see their exhibit.
Father went off to Yale in 1894 and, after graduating in the 1897 Sheffield Class, went to work in Joliet, Illinois, for the McKenna Company.  He learned that there were two very large Indian mounds fifteen miles from Joliet, but he was just starting his first job as a cub engineer and had no time available for his hobby interests.  He was made an understudy for the Joliet plant superintendent, was sent to Kansas City, Kansas, to build and put into operation a second McKenna rolling mill, met, wooed and became engaged to Mother in 1899, lost his left arm in a mill accident in Joliet in 1900, married Mother in 1900, fathered me in 1901, then my sister in 1903, and moved his whole family to Liverpool, England, for the years 1904 and 1905, where he monitored the construction of yet another rolling mill for the McKenna Company.
Back in Joliet in 1906, Howard Calmer persuaded Father to drive with him on a sunny Thanksgiving morning in his one-cylinder Cadillac the sixteen miles to Dan Fisher's farm to see the two big mounds.  The mounds were pockmarked with scars from small excavations, and they were not equipped to tackle such a big job.  Instead, they selected one of the smaller mounds and dug.  About two feet down, they came upon two skeletons and many relics.  There were steel knives, a small mirror, and many objects of German Silver: small broaches, bracelets, arm-bands, a crescent-shaped gorget, and a large silver cross, all obviously post-European.  It started to snow hard, so they hastily filled in the hole and drove back to Joliet.
In the Spring of 1907, Father and Mr. Calmer again drove to the Fisher mounds, planning to dig deeper in their earlier excavation.  They found that unauthorized poachers had beaten them to it and found that they had unearthed a great many more silver items, some glass beads, and glass and ceramic articles, all of post-European origin.
However, Father and Mr. Calmer decided to try again.  They shovelled out all the disturbed dirt from their two earlier excavations, dug down to the underlying gravel, and then about two feet into the gravel.  Father, ever alert to the possibility of multi-layered burials, noted that the skulls in the upper layer were "round-heads," while those deep in the gravel were "long heads."
In 1912, Father recruited two big, healthy men from McKenna, and they explored another small mound, digging two, four-foot holes several feet apart.  They again found "round head" skeletons in the upper layers and "long-heads" in the lower layers, clearly a stratified mound, something not yet known in Illinois.
This discovery really fired Father up; he felt that if he had found two small stratified mounds, perhaps the two large mounds might also be stratified.  He felt that the proper thing to do was for trained professional archaeologists to excavate them.  So he made contact with the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.
After repeated efforts to convince these universities of the potential importance of his discovery and failing to arouse their interest, he told them that, as long as they declined to excavate the two big mounds, he would do it himself.  The university officials begged off and wished Father good luck.
During the years of World War I, the McKenna rail rerolling mill was busy night and day; there was never any time to continue exploring the two big Fisher mounds.  But Father was interested in whether a "refuse heap" site several miles away from the Fisher mounds might be linked to them.  The "refuse heap" site had been known for many years to arrowhead collectors, who could always be assured of finding quantities of small, triangular, finely chipped arrowheads known locally as "bird points."  I had collected them with Father ever since I was five years old, and I had about two hundred of them.
In countless trips to this "refuse heap" site, Father had never found human bones or any evidence that it had been a permanently lived-in site.  All the bones and teeth were those of animals and fishes.  There was only one variety of thin-walled, rather poor pottery.  Father discovered no link to the Fisher site.  Instead, he concluded that the "refuse heap" site was simply a nomadic Indian hunting campsite.
Father's first recognition as a serious archaeologist came when "The American Anthropologist," in its July-September issue, published Father's article, "The Kankakee River Refuse Heap, Evidence of a Primitive Culture in the Southwest Chicago Area."
Father, Albert [Tinnik] and Tom made occasional quickie scouting trips to the Fisher site.  It had always been farmed, but in 1922 heavy equipment had been used for the first time.  A second heavy plowing in 1923 had almost obliterated traces of the small mounds and the large pits.  And worst of all, the Congress Construction Company of Chicago had bought the site, was already excavating gravel at the west edge, and they planned to continue across the mound site.
This was too much for Father.  Foreseeing the destruction of the two big mounds, he decided to excavate systematically both of the two big mounds.  I was at first away at college and then doing a great deal of travelling on my first job as an engineer for the Belden Corporation of Chicago, so I rarely had the opportunity to do actual digging.  But Father, Albert and Tom kept steadily at it, proving, hole after hole, that both mounds contained stratified burials.
After eighty days of digging, the discovery of 300 burials, eighty pots, and considerable weapons and tools, Father decided that it was high time that he report his findings.  So, in its July-September, 1927, issue, "The American Anthropologist" published Father's 55-page article, "The Fisher Mound Group, Successive Aboriginal Occupations Near the Mouth of the Illinois River."
The article contained maps of the burials in the two big mounds, photographs of the mounds, some of the burials, tools, weapons, skulls, and even the diggers themselves.  The article established two things: first, that mounds had been discovered in Illinois containing stratified Indian burials of two different racial types, and more importantly to Father, it had established him as a qualified archaeologist, not just an "interested grave-robber."
In March, 1928, Father published another article in the "Journal of the Illinois Academy of Science," again reporting the burial stratification of the two big Fisher mounds: "Short" or "Round Heads" in the upper layer, "Long Heads" in the lower layer.
Some of the professional anthropologists and archaeologists became interested and visited the site.  Dr. Fay-Cooper Cole of the Anthropolgy Department of the University of Chcago requested and reveived permission for a group of his graduate students to excavate at the Fisher site under Father's watchful eye.  Following their super-careful technique, they excavated one small mound and then some lodge pits, which by that time had almost been obliterated by the intensive farming cultivation.  This was a happy period for Father; he made many life-long friends among the attractive group of young people. 
In 1929, when Father, as he put it, was "ejected" from the Fisher site, he undertook an excavation on the Adler site, near the outskirts of Joliet, which consisted of one large mound and several small ones.  He and Albert Tennik were joined by several University of Chicago people.  Their findings were totally different from those at the Fisher site and led to speculation, never resolved, that the Adler mounds were in some way related to the Hopewell culture.
Dr. Fay-Cooper Cole and Father developed both a scientific and a personal rapport through their common interests during these years.  By this time, Father had filled shelves in Mother's third-floor studio with row after row of toothfully grinning skulls, mended pots, and the like, and she and Father both felt that it was high time a permanent home be found for the whole collection.  Dr. Cole wanted them for the University of Chicago, and Father wanted them preserved somewhere near the Fisher site, so it appeared to be an ideal arrangement.  The Department of Anthropolgy people transferrred it all to Chicago, pleasing Father very much.  The gift resulted in Father being appointed "Research Associate" by the University of Chicago, and Dr. Cole kept Father up to date on his exploration plans.
In 1930, Dr. Cole invited Father to join his excavating project in the Jay Morton mounds in Putnam County, Illinois, and Father spent a couple of weeks there observing.  The university team spent too much time and effort in cautious, centimeter by centimeter layer digging and record keeping and too little time in actual dicovery, for Father's taste.  The scientists had found nothing in ten days of work, so Father secured permission to make a small excavation of his own.  In half an hour, he found a fine clay pot and some implements.  Father's modus operandi was to dig down rapidly in the upper, non-productive layers and then very carefully as he approached the burials, the total opposite of the "scientific" technique.  Fortunately, each camp was tolerant of the other's methods.
It became apparent to Father that Dr. Cole was in the business of Anthropology and had to protect and enhance the scientific aspects, while Father was no longer planning any research on his own, so, in a sense, their ways parted, even though their personal rapport continued.
About 1931, Father received word that Don Dickson was excavating a large mound on his farm near Lewiston, Illinois, and wanted Father to come down to see it.  So I drove Father to see what it was all about.  Don Dickson had eracted a roofed structure to protect the mound and his excavation and had left all burials in situ, protecting them by glass plates so they could still be seen.  He had built a walkway around the walls of the building so that visitors could see everything that he had found.  At that time he had exposed 190 burials, with many pots and artifacts.  To Don Dickson's disappointment, there was no evidence of stratified Indian races.
This, as I recall it, was Father's last visit of any kind to mound exploration, although as the Joliet expert in such matters, Father was often consulted by the local nespapers when any digs were reported.
About this time, the University of Chicago and Dr. Warren Moorehead engaged in what they called a "reconnaisance" of Indian Culture in Illinois.  Its original purpose is obscure, but the outcome was a vigorous effort by Dr. Moorehead to have the state government protect "Monk's Mound," the famous huge Indian mound of Cahokia, near St. Louis, Illinois.  The State had theoretically protected it by creating a state park around it but had allowed concessionnaires to create what amounted to a Coney Island around it.  Dr. Moorehead strove to have a very large protected area created, about 7,000 acres, to protect both the mound itself and the village areas surrounding it, which he felt apeared to be a more advanced culture, similar to what he had found at the Hopewell mounds in Ohio.  He failed in his attempts, and the Cahokia Mound area still looks like a big country fair.
Father's well known collecting activities in the Fisher mounds had aroused a much-delayed bit of research that revived his memories and really pleased him.
When Father was excavating and came upon animal bones and teeth, he saved them, interested in what the hunters brought back for food and other uses.  Most excavators simply discarded this sort of material.  But [the late] Paul W. Parmalee [formerly] of the Illinois State Museum, learned that all these animal remains from the Fisher mound site had been preserved in the big collection that Father had given to the University of Chicago back in 1930.  He secured permission from the University of Chicago to study this material, and he published his findings in the "American Midland Naturalist" issue of October, 1962, entitled, "The Faunal Complex of the Fisher Site, Illinois."  [See also this PDF of another Parmelee article - George, III]
Parmelee identified 16 species of freshwater mussels, 10 of fish, one amphibian, 10 reptiles, 38 birds, and 22 species of mammals.  He noted many interesting facts: the largest single species was the white-tailed deer; there were almost as many mussel shells; an unexpectedly high count of snakes; a wide variety of turtles and waterfowl; another unexpectedly high count of hawk and eagle species; and one lone bison bone.  Deer meat was obviously the standard food item; the mussels were used both for food and for conversion to implements and decorations; hawks and eagles, probably for their feathers; the bison was one of the last of his kind East of the Mississippi.  But, why snakes ?   Maybe: only in hard times.
Note added by George, III: see also the recent work of Michael Strezewski, "Prehistoric Warfare at the Fisher Site, Will County, Illinois," describing his analysis of George, Sr.'s notes and materials.
Dr. Cole led a group of professional anthropologists in a project to identify tribes of pre-European Indians by their degree of progress in the art of flint chipping, their use of bone, antler and shell, their skill in the mixing of clay for pots, the making of the pots themselves and the decoration of the pots, and in their use of copper and mica.  Dr. Cole asked Father to participate, but Father felt he could not add much to their data.  Besides, Father was then Curator of Fossil Plants at the Field Museum. 
Before Father died in 1964, he was pleased when the State of Illinois made the Dickson Mound area a state park and appointed Don Dickson Curator of the Dickson Mounds.
PALEOBOTANIST:  Father's Grandfather Robertson had acquired a few Mazon Creek fossil plant nodules in the 1890's, and Father saw a lot of them at the British Museum in 1904.  So in 1907 he took me on a "search and collect" trip to this long-known site.  We went by horse and buggy from our home to the railway depot in Downtown Joliet, then on a Chicago & Alton Railway local to Morris, Illinois, then by rented horse and buggy to a spot near the creek.  A farmer showed us where other people had collected, said that he "didn't see any fun in it," and left us.  Wearing only a pair of shorts, I waded in waist-high water, feeling the nodules in the soft mud with my toes.  I would bring Father a pail-full at a time, and he would crack them open on the riverbank, saving only the nice ones.  It was a hot day, and the farmer came back with a cantaloup, "to cool us off."  Then, back home to Joliet.  We may have made more than one trip like this; I can't remember.
For many years, Father's time was fully occupied managing and operating the three rail rerolling mills of the McKenna Process Company and, in spare moments and, on holidays, excavating the Indian burial mounds on the Fisher farm southwest of Joliet.
In 1937, we learned that the strip mine spoil heaps contained nodules just like the Mazon Creek nodules, and our dentist-naturalist guided us to where they were being found.  At this spot, they were scattered by the hundreds all over the ground, but they were all of one species, so we spent about half of our time looking for other, more interesting sites.  We were very successful and found a very wide variety of leaves and bark and a few animal specimens. 
We didn't know what any of them were.  So Father, using his appointment as "Research Assistant in Anthropology," found from Dr. Cole of the University of Chicago Department of Anthropology, that a Dr. A.C. Noe, considered the top man in paleobotany, was Professor of Paleobotany at the university and arranged a meeting at the university to have him look at the specimens and tell us what they were. 
We put four piles of cracked-open nodules in Father's car, each specimen carefull protected by wrappings of Saturday Evening Post pages, and showed them to Dr. Noe.  Dr. Noe nearly exploded.  These were the finest specimens he had ever seen, and he brought out all his graduate student class to share in the excitement.  As fast as he would identify a specimen, I would write the name down on the wrapping.
But, time after time, he would say, "This is new to science," and, "I believe this is new," and persuaded Father to leave them with him so he could take a more careful look.  Dr. Noe was awfully nice to us; he persuaded Father to bring him a load of specimens on a routine weekly basis, and we did this most of that Summer.  He always returned the new-species specimens to us. and Father carefully preserved them as "type" specimens, valuable to science as being the first of their species ever found, and Father gave Dr. Noe a great many particularly fine or showy specimens of the already-identified species.  This was really a fine period for both Father and Dr. Noe, but it lasted only the two years until Dr. Noe's death.
Father and I made many collecting trips to the strip mines during the periods when the McKenna rerolling mill was awaiting orders.  We would fill five-gallon pails and leather postman's bags with nodules, bring them back to Joliet, and crack them open in the rear driveway at home.  But only about one in twenty-five or so was worth keeping.  The big percentage was of poor specimens, copralites (fish dung) or blanks.  So we changed this highly inefficient modus operandi to another system that served far better.
Father, having only his right arm, hung two leather bags from his neck, cracked open nodules as he found them, wrapped the fine ones in Saturday Evening Post leaves, and continued until both bags were full.  I, with two arms, followed the same procedure, but filled two, five-gallon pails at a time.  Then we would carry our finds to where we had parked our car and drive them back to the McKenna office, where Father would wash and identify them.  This style of collecting was hard, physical work.  We parked the car as close as we could to a collecting site, but we often had to walk between half a mile and a full mile each way.  Father's bags weighed about 35 pounds each, and my two pails, about 60 pounds each.  After they were filled, we would start walking towards the car, stopping each time my fingers got so tired that I couldn't carry the weight.  And all this, not on level, clean ground, but over steep, pebble-strewn clay hills and valleys, through marshy spots, and in, through, and out of drainage ditches.  We got pretty tough, physically, and we found thousands of specimens.  After about 80 trips, Father did a little counting and computing and came up with a total of 250 thousand nodules that we eventually cracked open.
We were the first serious collectors, and we really skimmed the cream, so to speak, from the spoil heaps.  But more and more collectors were attracted to the site, and they, too, found fine specimens and new species.
Our specimens were piling up, and Father started sorting them into collections.  He had no intention of keeping a personal collection; he hadn't the space for one, and he felt that these things belonged in museums.  He built up one especially large and fine collection and negotiated its sale to the Illinois State Museum, where it became the subject of Raymond E. Janssen's publication by the museum in 1940, entitled, "Some Fossil Plant Types of Illinois."  Janssen had been one of  Dr. Noe's students back in 1937 and was always a good friend of Father's.
In addition to Father's deep interest in the scientific aspect of our collecting, we both had a very personal interest.  We were making collections, selling them, and crediting the proceeds to McKenna as we struggled to keep that dying mill from going under.  Father assembled collections of about 125 fine specimens each, which we offered for sale to colleges and museums.  As I recall, there were about 12 or 15 of these collections.
Father also kept building and improving a very large collection of type specimens, specimens new to science, and exceptionally handsome or showy specimens.
During this 1938-1941 period, the McKenna Company was forced out of business, and Father and I spent full time salvaging all we could to stay financially alive.  The decision was finally made by the trustees to turn in the company's charter and liquidate the company's equipment, land and anything else of value.  Father stayed on to complete the liquidation, and I left to seek another job.
I had left Belden in 1929 in good standing, they had an engineering job opening, and so I commenced my second Belden career.
Father's big super-collection now filled an entire floor of McKenna's office building.  Father tried to get the Field Museum or the Illinois State Museum to buy it, but money was tight, and eventually Father donated this big collection to the Field Museum.  Father then sold his Joliet home and surplus furniture, and he and Mother moved into an apartment at 1726 North LaSalle Street in Chicago, across the street from Lincon Park.
Without a job to keep him busy, and with the fruits of his hobbies of paleontology, archaeology and paleobotany all safely installed in museums, Father had time on his hands.  So, in 1947, Father requested and received permission to curate his former fossil plant collection as a volunteer.  This proved mutually satisfactory, and in 1950 Father was appointed Curator of Fossil Plants at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.
At the museum, Father was attracted to the fossil plant deposits in the southern states by articles by E.W. Berry in several U.S. Geological Survey reports.  So, in 1951, he and Eugene S. Richardson organized four collecting trips in Tennessee and Mississippi, followed by two more trips with Dr. R.H. Whitfield.
Those specimens occur in the beige-colored clay used commercially for flower pots, kitchen ware and the like.  They are cut out in large chunks of clay with a mattock, and then each specimen is carved out in nodule form with a jacknife.  Back at the museum, the nodules are further trimmed more closely to the leaf itself.  The surfaces dry out very quickly and must be protected before they become dust and blow away.  Father modified the "developing" technique he had invented for preserving the Mazon Creek leaf forms, brushing on a dilute dextrin mixture that hardened the whole surface of the nodule, preserving and darkening the leaf impression.
On their earliest and most successful trip, they found such a tonnage of soft clay fossil-bearing chunks that they had to hire a big truck to take them back to Chicago.  On subsequent trips, they took the museum's truck, collected until the truck was fully loaded, and then drove back north.  This large, handsome collection is now on exhibit at the museum.
Many collectors had followed us at the strip mines and were acquiring fine specimens, but they didn't know what they were.  Expensive scientific books had been published and were available at scientific libraries, but these books were both figuratively and financially out of reach of the average, local collector.  A group of collectors belonging to the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois (ESCONI) often visited Father's office at the Field Museum, and the idea of a "field guide to fossil plants," similar to Roger Tory Peterson's "Field Guide to the Birds" was born.  ESCONI offered to bear the publishing expense, the museum was agreeable to the venture, and Father went to work.
In June, 1958, ESCONI published Father's first book on fossil plants, "The Wilmington Coal Flora from a Pennsylvanian Deposit in Will County, Illinois."  This book was a success, filling the need for which it was designed, and so ESCONI increased their association with the Field Museum and with Father.
Father continued to make collecting trips with Gene Richardson of the Field Museum and with his fellow collector, Dr. Whitfield.  They kept finding new species and rare specimens, and the material for a second book was accumulating.
So, in June 1963, ESCONI, again with the approval of the museum, published Father's second fossil plant book, "The Wilmington Coal Fauna and Additions to the Wilmington Coal Flora from a Pennsylvanian Deposit in Will County, Illinois."  This second book was also a financial success.  Father continued to collect occasionally, ESCONI continued their association, and other collectors began to send their collections to the museum.  Material built up for a third book, and again ESCONI offered to publish it. 
Father prepared a third manuscript.  The ESCONI people phoned me and asked if I would pick up the completed manuscript and bring it to them at Downers Grove, Illinois.  I was stopped on my way to Father's office and was told I was to attend a meeting.  The museum director, his assistant, and the head of the department of Paleontology told me immediately that the museum had withdrawn its approval and that Father's third book could not be published by ESCONI.
The grounds ?  That Father was not a "scientist," that he had no formal record of university credit in paleontology.  I asked whether two years of work with Dr. Noe, then the acknowledged authority on paleobotany, did not qualify Father as a scientist.  They answered that Father had not enrolled in his classes.  They volunteered that if Father had only be allowed to audition one course in paleontology at Yale, he could have been accepted as a "scientist."  I could hardly believe my ears.  I brought up the fact that, since Dr. Noe's death, Father's collecting, preserving, describing and naming ten thousand varieties of species had made Father the top man in paleobotany.  Their answer still was, "He is not a scientist."
I reminded them, rather tactlessly, that by elevating Father to their elite group of Curators, they had tacitly admitted him to scientist status, but that fell on deaf ears.  They repeated that they had withdrawn their approval for ESCONI to publish this third book, that I was to deliver it to ESCONI, and that I was to tell Father of their decision.  I told them that I would not tell Father of their cruel decision, even if they didn't have the guts to do it themselves.  They dismissed me, and I delivered the completed manuscript to the ESCONI men.
ESCONI felt that the museum people were unreasonable, but ESCONI did not want to publish it without some sort of consent from the museum.  They continued their efforts with the museum.  A long, acrimonious and eventually bitter controversy then ensued between the museum "scientists" on the one side and Father and ESCONI on the other.  I was not privvy to this long-continuing controversy, and I know, first-hand, only a little of what went on.  First, the museum stipulated that all fauna material be extirpated, then that all fauna references in Father's Book Two be disclaimed, then that all species actually named by Father be deleted, and finally that all the material on the flora had to be reviewed and done over by a paleobotany "scientist."
To make a long story short, the museum had by then so badly emasculated the manuscript that Father and ESCONI gave up.  Hoping that the manuscript to this proposed third book on the Wilmington coal fossils might still be preserved to await a favorable climate, I secured it from ESCONI, and I still have it [as do I now - George, III].
Oddly, the Field Museum people felt that there was a lot of valuable scientific material in the manuscript, and they would like to have it rewritten in scientific jargon so that they could publish it themselves, but that it would be very expensive to do so and would have only a very limited circulation.  But, in dog-in-the-manger fashion, they still would not let ESCONI publish it, at ESCONI expense, where it would have a wide, assured circulation.
Father's personal friends among the museum curators did not dare support him openly, and the other curators kept  their distance, so the air around Father's office was distinctly chilly until the museum "retired" him soon afterwards.
Gene Richardson and Dr. Whitfield took Father collecting several times, and in 1963 Father and I drove to the strip mines, just to look around, for old times' sake, sort of like a couple of old football players revisiting the scene of their triumphs.  Everything had totally changed; the hills were overgrown with trees and weeds, most collecting areas had been fenced off and posted, and any thought of collecting was absolutely impossible.  But it was a pleasant day, we enjoyed our renewal of our old collecting companionship, and we were content to drive home.
THE McKENNA PROCESS COMPANY:  Up to this point, I have written only about Father's publicly acclaimed achievements, but Father deserves even greater admiration for his life-long stuggles to keep the McKenna Company alive as a profit producer.  All of the following early history of the McKenna Company is from Father's notes.  Let me start from the beginning.
Edward W. McKenna was Chief Engineer of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company.  It troubled him that, when railway rails were battered and worn and no longer could remain in service, they still had about 95% of their original weight and yet had to be used in switch yards and side tracks, but were replaced in main line service by new rails.
McKenna reasoned that if the battered rail-ends were cut off and the worn head and flange-side of the head rerolled while preserving the rail height and flange track dimensions, the rerolled rail could be reinstalled in main line track right along with newly rolled rail and at a very large investment saving.  He worked out the idea in detail and secured a U.S. Patent on "the McKenna process."  He also invented meny mechanical machines required for this, worked out the process thermodynamics, the labor content, and a profitability analysis. 
He resigned from the Milwaukee Road and sought to form his own McKenna Process Company.  He consulted with a railroad friend, Howard Morris [married to George, Sr.'s mother's sister, Julia A. Robertson, and General Counsel for all properties to the Wisconsin Central Railway and eventually part of the Soo Line Railway - George, III] and a wealthy man.  Seeking adequate financial banking, they aroused the interest of two Boston financiers, Harry L. Burrage, who had built up a substantial fortune from several financial ventures, and Edwin H. Abbott, who had inherited and improved a very large family fortune.
McKenna and Morris felt that all railroads would seize upon the idea of the economical savings made possible by rerolling their worn out rails, and that the potential profits of a rerolling operation would be practically unlimited.  Abbott and Burrage were sold on the possibilities and agreed to put up the money required, but they had their own way of doing that.  They incorporated the McKenna Company as a trusteeship.  Abbott, Burrage and Morris were to be the three trustees and would retain sole voting rights.  They then issued what looked like stock certificates, but which really were what are now known as "certificates of beneficial interest," entitling the owners of the certificates to share in the profits, if any.  They split up these certificates between themselves and McKenna, making McKenna about a one-fourth partner in the venture.
With vast profits expected in the future, they organized the fledgeling company on a rather grandiose basis:

      McKenna was installed as Managing Director;
      David Lentz, with rail mill experience, was hired as Operating Superintendent;
      E.J. Tapping, an experienced railway supply sales executive, was hired as Sales Manager;
      They established a Transfer Office for the trustees in Boston, Massachusetts;
      The established a Sales Office in Milwaukee; and
      Under the watchful eyes of McKenna and Lentz, they acquired a site in Joliet, Illinois,
      near Chicago, which was then the terminus of most of the eastern and western railway

McKenna's future looked very rosy.
Lentz wanted an engineer to aid him and to replace the talents of McKenna, who had decided to retire from active business.  Morris, Father's uncle, knowing that Father was about to graduate as a mechanical engineer and enthusiastic about McKenna's future, persuaded Father to quit his railway job in St. Paul and work for McKenna in Joliet.
In his senior year at Yale, Father and a college friend had thought of starting a brass foundry, but they could not find the capital, and so Father went to work in St. Paul for the Chicago, Great Western Railway as a draughtsman, an essentially bottom-of-the-ladder engineering job.  Hired into the McKenna mill, again as a draughtsman and cub engineer, Father worked under, and set about learning from, Plant Superintendent Lentz.  Father was immediately introduced to McKenna's big, great problem: The Metallurgy of Steel.
E.W. Mckenna's basic idea was deceptively simple: take a worn-out, thirty-foot rail, heat it to rolling temperature, re-form the rail head geometrically to new and usable dimensions, put a slight, equalizing draft on the rail's base, roll it out to thirty-two feet, crop a foot off each battered rail end, and, behold !, you have a thirty-foot rail again, just like a new one, that you can reinstall in main line track service.  This was quite a bit too good to be true.
At this early period, the rails already in service had been made from low-carbon Bessemer steel that was soft and wore out quickly by becoming deformed at the rail head, on the top by rolling contact from the wheels and on the side of the head by cramping of the wheel flanges.  McKenna was right, that there was little wastage of the metal itself.
However, to reroll the rail, it had to be reheated to rolling temperature, and that often injured the steel.  Rolling from a lower temperature was not practical, so there was a constant battle to roll at the lowest temperature that the rolling mill could stand and thereby minimize the damage heating did to the steel.
To improve the wearing qualities of rails, the mills took to making harder, higher carbon steel made by the Open Hearth process, which (it turned out) was even more susceptible to injury from reheating, especially at the higher temperatures the McKenna mill needed to roll the rails successfully.
Rerolling had one small virtue, and that was that it culled all rails with transverse fissures [hydrogen-induced cracks - a bigger problem with Bessemer steel than with Open Hearth steel -  George, III].  Rerolled rails that passed inspection were therefore free from these dangerous defects. 
No rails, newly rolled or rerolled, came out perfectly straight; the curves had to be straightenened out when the rails were cold.  The crude straightening process broke many rerolled rails.
In March 1898, Father had gone to work at the McKenna rerolling mill in Joliet, Illinois, at $60 per month.  His job was to tackle mechanical engineering problems, do any necessary drafting, and act as all-around, general helper to Mr. Lentz, was well acquainted with the metallurgical problems that constantly harassed him.
In spite of rail breakage losses, the Joliet mill generated a good return on their investment, and so the three trustees decided to open a second rerolling mill to serve the western railroads.  They selected Kansas City, Kansas, as a good railway terminus, and bought a site for the mill.  Mr. Lentz recommended that the new mill be a duplicate of the Joliet mill, and Father was selected to move there, build it, and put it into operation.
Father had Yale friends in Kansas City, who introduced him into the Kansas City social stream, and Father, as a Yale man and a noted athlete, and a good guy besides, was immediately accepted.  There he met Mother, who was very much a Society girl; they fell in love, became engaged, and set a wedding date.
With the Kansas City mill operating successfully, Father was sent back to Joliet to resume his work as understudy to Mr. Lentz.  In June, 1900, Father had a terrible accident.  He was supervising the adjustment of the guides that steered the hot rail into the rolls, when he slipped and caught his left hand in the huge herringbone gears that drove the top roll in the two-high roll stand.  He was drawn into the gears, but he managed to squirm to one end of the gears, saving his life.
His left arm was so badly crushed that no part of it could be saved, and so it was amputated at the shoulder socket.  Mother and Grandmother Langford stayed in Joliet while he recuperated, and Father felt that he should break off their engagement.  Mother would have none of that, and they were married in November. 1900 in a big, Kansas City wedding, whereupon they moved to Joliet to live.
The metallurgical problem still plagued the mills, and broken rail rejections continued high, but with two rerolling mills generating attractive profits, the trustees got ambitious again.  With one mill in the Chicago area, another in Kansas City, and business still to be had, the trustees decided that a third rerolling mill should be built in the New York City area.
They secured a site on New York Harbor called Tremley Point, and Father was again selected to build and put into operation their third mill.  So Father moved my pregnant mother to a house in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where I was born in October, 1901. 
McKenna never operated all three mills simultaneously.  They operated them one at a time, carefully securing sensible schedules from the various railroads so that a run at Joliet would be followed by a run at Kansas City, and then one at Tremley Point.  To make this idea work, the mill superintendent would move to the appropriate mill, taking along a staff of skilled specialists, and then pick up the number of common laborers needed at the operating mill. 
This idea worked smoothly and profitably until the next big problem surfaced; rail length standards were increased from 30 feet to 33 feet, but all three mills had been designed and laid out for 30-foot rails.  Most of the operations and the buildings could be, and soon were, altered to handle the 33-foot rail length, but the roll stands, set 30 feet apart, could not be moved.  This dilemma was solved by redesigning the rail guides so that the rail ends could be briefly in both roll stands at the same time.
Then came another blow: the standard rail length was increased again, this time to 39 feet, and the roll stands were still only 30 feet apart.  The McKenna engineers solved this again by adjusting the rail guides, and they also adjusted the roll diameters so the second pass would be a little heavier than the first pass so that the rail would be placed in tension while being simultaneously rolled in two stands rather than in compression, which could prove disastrous.  This was a delicate dimensional problem, but they made it work.
The Joliet, Kansas City and Tremley Point mills, operating sequentially, were generating good profits, and so the trustees decided to expand yet again.  Lentz suggested a fourth mill in the Colorado area, but the trustees had greater ambitions; they wanted to build the fourth rail rerolling mill in England.  Experienced in the difficulties of operating rerolling mills in America, and very doubtful of the availability of the necessary super-skilled nucleus of experts in England, Lentz was dead set against the idea, but he was orverruled; the decision had been made.
So Lentz drew up plans for a fourth rerolling mill, based on the tried-and-true American mills, and Father did all the drafting work, putting in the many mechanical improvements that experience dictated.
Then came another blow: Morris and Burrage had gone to England, committed to a mill site, hired a sales agent, and contracted with the English engineering firm of Cammell-Laird to design, build, and put into operation a mill to reroll worn English 45-foot double-head rails.  They had done no research with any English railways as to whether there was a market for the rerolled rails.  They had simply assumed that a process that was acceptable in America would find equal favor in England.
Father was selected to go to England to monitor the English operation, so in 1904, Father, Mother, my new baby sister and I sailed for England, and we were duly installed in a house in Birkenhead, a suburb of Liverpool, the chosen mill site.  Father was given the rather intolerable order not to take part in the design and building of the English plant, but instead to observe and report back to Lentz, who had stayed in America to operate the three plants there.
Father observed at the start that Cammell-Laird had no experience at all in either the design or operation of a rail mill and that they were making one bad decision after another.  Forbidden to criticize or even to suggest, he dutifully reported back to Lentz, who in turn reported the bad engineering work back to the trustees.  Burgess and Morris sailed again to England, reviewed the problem with Cammell-Laird, were assured that the problems would all be solved, and then returned to America.
In Father's eyes, things were going from bad to worse, he reported so to Lentz constantly, and was eventualy told by the trustees to quit his complaining, that older and wiser heads had made the proper decisions and would continue to do so.  So the mill was built the Cammell-Laird way.
One other problem that had not been researched was whether a rerolled English rail could be returned to main line service.  English rails were of a design totally different from American rails.  American rails are Tee-shaped, installed in track with the wide base flat on wooden ties.  English rails were two-headed, called double-head design, with a dumbell-shaped cross section, the bottom head resting on steel chairs which in turn rested on wooden ties.  The heads of English rails wore out just like American rails, but the chairs wore crosswise grooves in the bottom head of the rail.  Father knew that rerolling would properly take care of the wear of the upper head, but he had serious doubts as to whether the cross-grooves could be rolled out, and so he reported to Lentz back in America.  Again, the trustees advised Father to quit complaining.
Came the time to make the first rerolling run.  The English sales agent had secured an order, and in came the rails.  They were badly worn, whch was no surprise, but they were 45 feet long, and that was a calamitous shock.  Another cabled report from Father drew the same answer as before, "Leave it to your betters to work it out."
With a heating furnace far too short to handle 45-foot rails, and with roll stands 36 feet apart, the Cammell-Laird solution was to cut the rails into 15 foot lengths and reroll them, not into rerolled, usable rails, but into blooms to be rolled into commercial shapes.  As this was in complete variance with the original concept of the English mill, Father so reported and received the usual answer, "Quit complaining."
Cammell-Laird's initial attempt to operate the mill was a complete disaster.  They had designed the mill to be electrically operated, including the roll stands.  But they had not analyzed the power requirements, which were extremely heavy during the actual passage of the rails through the rolls.  In the American mills, the surge of power required had been obtained from heavy flywheels that stored sufficient kinetic energy to complete the roll passes all by themselves, the steam engines simply providing the energy to get the flywheels back up to speed between passes.  The electric motors chosen by Cammell-Laird were far too small to stand the rolling overload, and all of them blew out. 
Additional visits by Burrage and Morris and further work by Cammell-Laird failed to solve the design problems, and the English salvagers failed to convince the English railways that rerolling their used rails into blooms for commercial shapes was economically acceptable.  The trustees had poured in most of their capital, they agreed that the English rerolling mill was a complete failure, and it was abandoned.
The trustees attached no blame to Father, and he was cabled to return to America and resume his job at Joliet; and so in 1905 we all sailed home.  Shortly after arriving home came the next crisis.  Lentz, who had been out of town, came into the Joliet office, told Father that he had quit his job and that Father was now General Superintendent of the three American rerolling mills.  This netted Father a welcome salary increase but a very unwelcome increase in work and responsibility. 
Improvements in the technique of straightening cold rail had decreased the percentage of scrapped rails, the three rerolling mills were solving their mechanical problems, but the metallurgy problems were still there and had no possible solution.
Then came the final, bitter blow: the railroads had had all their 30-foot and 33-foot rails rerolled, the standard length had been increased to 45 feet, and there was no economical solution to rerolling 45-foot rails in the existing three plants.
The only solution possible was to build completely new rerolling mills, the investment required was very heavy, even for a single rerolling mill, the English rerolling mill debacle had used up most of the trustees' available capital, and so McKenna was forced to go out of the business of rerolling railway rails in 1923.
Father offered the trustees a solution: build and operate a mill in Joliet to forge worn railway rail splice bars into usable bars, an idea just like McKenna's original rail rerolling invention.  Father worked with the Burlington Railway to get their views on such an idea.  The Burlington had a pile of an estimated 300 thousand worn bars, and together they and Father worked out a reworking tonnage charge that would attract the Burlington.  The trustees authorized Father to design a forging plant or bar mill and to determine the investment required as well as the possible return on investment.
Each railroad had its own design of splice bar, its length, and the number of bolt holes.  The smallest were about 18 inches long with four bolt holes, and the largest, 36 inches long with six bolt holes.  Father felt that the bar mill must be designed to handle these largest New York Central bars.  All bars by now were rolled from high carbon Open Hearth steel and presented the same metallurgical problems that beset the rail rerolling process.  That is, they had to be heated hot enough to be forged, but not so hot as to make them brittle.  The correct temperature was not only not accurately known, but such a temperature could not be accurately maintained.
Designing and building a heating furnace that could be charged continuously from one end was no problem; nor was designing and locating an oil-filled continuous quenching tank; but the forging presses were an unknown area.  So, Father made a number of trips to Pittsburgh for advice from the E.W. Bliss Company, then the leading maker of forging presses and dies.  They made two separate types of press: knuckle-jointed coining presses for small, accurately made products, and crank presses for larger items like automobile axles and connecting rods.  Bliss recommended a 2,000-ton crank press as the right machine for McKenna's proposed bar mill.  This was a massive machine with 20-inch crank shaft, 24-inch diameter crank bearing, and a structure held together by four, 9-inch diameter tie-bolts, each 20 feet long.
Father presented the investment cost of a Joliet bar mill to the trustees, together with his feeling that the outlay presented an opportunity for them to regain part of their capital losses from the English rail mill debacle.  Fortunately, the trustees had salvaged enough capital to make this Joliet bar mill possible.  The trustees accepted the resignation of President Tapping, shut down the Milwaukee sales office, elected Father President of the Illinois McKenna Process Company, and authorized Father to hire a sales manager, which Father did.
The Bliss Company delivered the big crank press to Joliet and designed the dies and die shoe required.  The first forging dies were designed of a barely machinable steel alloy and were the same shape from end to end. They did not work successfully; used splice bars wore out unevenly, with the heaviest wear at the center where the two rails abutted.  The next heaviest wear was at the two ends of the bar, and the lightest wear was at the two half-way points between center and end.  Also, the bars had developed incipient cracks at the center, near the bar's contact with the rail head at the point of heaviest load.  The center cracks were machined out with a grinding wheel, and that further increased the center wear of the bar.
Father then designed dies that were shaped so that the forging pressure would be the same at each point along the length of the bar.  This was the correct solution, of course, but is was difficult to machine these complicated die cavities.  The next problem was the bolt holes.  Forging the bars distorted the holes, and almost closed up most of them.  Punching new holes in the hot bars just as they came from the forging press proved impractical because the bars cooled too fast and could not be oil quenched at sufficiently high temperature to obtain the correct properties.  Next, presses were set up to punch the bolt holes cold, but the unsymmetrical holes tended to break the expensive punches, and so that method had to be abandoned.  Father solved the bolt-hole problem by incorporating pins of the same shape as the original bolt holes and placing them, loosely held, in the upper half of the die.  The pins would prevent the holes from being closed in while the rest of the splice bar was being forged.  These pins were made of a special, expensive tool steel alloy capable of high strength and wear resistance.  [See also these two innovations, for which George, Sr. had models made: US Patent No. 1,890,687; and US Patent No. 2,034,046 - and here is a pair of McKenna's splice-bar specimens - George, III]
All of these ideas were new and patentable.  Working with a Chicago firm of patent lawyers, Father secured a total of 75 patents in his name that covered the methods, means and products, all intended to build a wall of patent protection around the infant McKenna bar reforming business.  This steady stream of patents being issued to a man named George Langford of Joliet, Illinois, caught the attention of David Wohlhampton, patent attorney for the Rail Joint Company of New York City.  He recognized that Father was doing for McKenna exactly what he (Wohlhampton) had done for the Rail Joint Company, who had a wall of patents protecting their highly successful specialized railway crossing connecting assemblies.  He suggested to the Rail Joint Company executives that perhaps they should add a reforming bar mill to their crossing-assembly plant near New York City.  They requested a license under Father's McKenna patents, and as a New York Mill would be far enough from Joliet they would not be directly competitive, McKenna worked out a tonnage royalty agreement and granted them a license. The Rail Joint Company had licensees under their patents in Alabama and Colorado, and aided Father in granting them McKenna patent licenses.  They all started paying royalties, as substantial addition to McKenna profits.  This led to licenses in Texas, Pennsylvania and Canada and eventually to a too close plant in Aurora, Illinois.
Most of these licensees did not have organized cost systems, did not know what to charge their railroad customers, and asked Father's advice.  Father wrote that McKenna had no cost system either, but that a $20 per ton charge was acceptable to the railroads and profitable to McKenna, so that this $20 per ton charge became the norm for the bar reforging industry.  And the royalty payments to McKenna grew to very substantial proportions. 
While Father was working out claims for his bar patent applications, he applied in jest for a patent on the first tool invented by Man, 250 thousand years ago.  The staid old Patent Office was amused by this and duly published the application along with their other patent applications in their Patent Office Gazette of May 1937.  The head patent examiner took the trouble to point out that although the invention of the first flint tool was patentable, the patent could not be granted for two reasons: first, because Father was filing as the inventor's attorney, and the law required that the inventor file it himself; and second, that the 250 thousand year delay in filing precluded granting the patent.  Father's archaeological friends got a big kick out of this episode.
Meanwhile, two of Father's most trusted aides at Joliet aburptly left McKenna, found financial backing, and set up a reforging plant in Joliet.  Father, in rather desperate need of help to operate the Joliet bar mill, asked me to leave my job with the Belden Company in Chicago and come to work with him in Joliet as Bar Mill Superintendent, engineer and general assistant to him.  I had worked at McKenna before, knew all the key men and their specialties, and they liked the idea, so I moved to Joliet to help Father in late 1929.
During the 1930-1931 Depression years, the railroads, making savings wherever they could, sent McKenna a great deal of bar reforging business, and so we were operating at full capacity.  We had a welcome windfall because the railroads, again seeking cost savings, found caches of worn-out rails and sent them to us for rerolling.  We sorted them properly and prepared the rerolling mill for what we expected to be its final operation.  This rerolling mill run was both successful and profitable.  Royalties from our splice bar licensees were pouring in.
The trustees came to Joliet for a special policy meeting with Father.  Victor Morris had replaced his father.  Victor, Burrage and Abbott then comprised the three trustees.  In light of the unusually high profits of the 1930-1931 years, they accepted Father's view that a second forging press was needed to ensure uninterrupted operations of the bar mill, and so Father was authorized to purchase an appropriate model.
As the rerolling mill could not accommodate the current standard 45-foot rails, and as the railroads had all their 30-foot and 33-foot rails rerolled, Father was also authorized to liquidate the rail mill to the best possible advantage.  However, it was agreed that the machine shop and Joliet office be retained.  The trustees then paid out a very large dividend, most of it going to the trustees themselves, but retaining a relatively small capital balance.
Father and I had both been refining the design of the bar-forging dies to equalize the pressure required to re-form each segment of the length of the splice bar so that we could easily handle the largest splice bar.  Reviewing our improvements with the Bliss Company, they recommended a 1,500-ton forging press as being quite adequate.  We therefore invested in a 1,500-ton knuckle-joint coining press, which operated about 50% faster than our 2,000-ton crank press.  Even with two presses operating at the same time, we were hard put to keep up with the influx of orders, McKenna's profits were exceptionally good, and the trustees felt it appropriate to pay out a large percentage of the profits to the certificate holders, largely themselves.
McKenna had the bar re-rorming business of the Chicago-based railroads pretty much to ourselves, but the Lentz bar mill in Joliet and the Wilbur bar mill in Aurora were competing for the business.  The Burlington and the Northwestern Roads insisted that we share their orders between the three bar mills, forcing us to do so.  As our royalty income was now a major source of revenue, this was not a very serious blow, and our profits remained very good.
But then came a really serious blow:  Wilbur, in Aurora, claimed that he was not actually using the McKanna patents and stopped paying royalties.  As he owed us about $20,000 in unpaid royalties, McKenna filed suit in court in Aurora in order to collect these debts.  On top of that came another serious blow: W.D. Heise, McKenna's longtime Joliet attorney, suddenly died, and no equally competent attorney was available in Joliet.  Our Chicago-based patent attorney's business was largely in procuring patents, not defending them, they were not set up to work in Aurora, and so they were not available to help us.  The Rail Joint Company, in New York, had defended their own patents many times, and so we suggested that their very successful patent attorney, David Wohlhampton, take our case, but his company felt that it might affect their own license arrangements adversely, and declined.  While we sought a solution, the suit languished.
An Aurora attorney, a former judge, was recommended to us, and we hired him, expecting him to persue the suit
aggressively.  Judge John Newhall was a disappointment.  He was a judicial type, not at all aggressive.  He knew nothing about patents, nothing about McKenna's bar-re-forming business, and he resented being urged to act.  W.D. Heise had been an aggressive lawyer, had felt that we had a good case, and, had he lived, would probably have won the suit.  As it was, we lost our suit to collect the past due royalties and were enjoined from collecting any more royalties from the Wilbur plant.
The loss of this lawsuit really put the fat in the fire.  All of our other licensees, learning that McKenna's patents had been successfully bypassed, refused to pay royalties that had accrued to a total of $245 thousand.  They also refused to pay any royalties that McKenna claimed had contined to accrue.  McKenna filed additional suits to collect past-due royalties, and one of the recalcitrant licensees claimed another defense: that McKenna had established a standard of $20 per ton re-forging charge, and that McKenna was fixing prices, then against federal law.
This charge brought the Justice Department into the act, and they had the F.B.I. come to Joliet and search all of our records for anything they could find, a "fishing expedition," now illegal.  The Justice Department filed suit in Federal Court in Chicago, charging that McKenna had fixed prices and was therefore a "combination in restraint of trade," then illegal, and that McKenna should be enjoined from continuing to operate.  McKenna's Chicago patent attorneys, now defending McKenna, were promptly joined by the Rail Joint Company's patent attorney, who feared that this lawsuit might also involve the Rail Joint Company.
The Justice Department case was based entirely on the casual letter that Father had written long ago, to the effect that McKenna had found that a $20 per ton re-forging charge was acceptable to the railroads and profitable to McKenna.  McKenna's attorneys' repeated arguments, that in no way had Father suggested that McKenna had told them to charge $20 per ton, fell on deaf ears.  Judge Barnes' verdict was, first, that McKenna could not continue to charge this $20 per ton re-working charge, and for good meausre, he had all McKenna's patents declared invalid.  This really sounded McKenna's death knell.  It was the blackest day in Father's life.  As he noted: "It just about washed up my approximately 45 years of life in a business that I should never have gotten into."
We tried to keep McKenna alive by operating our two-press bar mill, but now we had heavy price competition.  We hired a cost accountant, and he computed our break-even re-forging charge at $12 per ton.  We eliminated one expense after another: Harvey Lynch resigned, and so Father and I became McKenna's sales staff.  We let our diemaker go, and so I made dies as well as templates for the dies [I still have the Starrett layout tools that George, Jr. used - George, III].  We laid off all of our employees, recalling them only when we had bars to re-form.
We got some business at $18 per ton; then we had to go to $16; the, $14; and even some at $12, our break-even price, but we were hard-pressed to pay our own salaries, and so McKenna's obituary was ready to be published.
In liquidating the rail mill, we first tried to sell the two, large Corliss steam engines to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, as they were already museum specimens when McKenna acquired them in 1894.  But the cost and difficulty of transporting and then installing them in Chicago were more than the museum people could handle, and they were eventually scrapped, including the two, 22-foot flywheels.  We found a buyer for the locomotive crane, but the rest of the equipment and buildings went to the scrap dealers.
In 1933 and 1934, we operated the bar mill in a feast-or-famine market.  McKenna faced price competition from the Joliet Lentz bar mill and the Aurora Wilbur mill, and the Chicago-based railroads were splitting their business three ways at re-forging charges of $18 to $16 per ton. 
The railroads had been forced by the economic conditions of the Depression to examine their true costs, such as including the previously absorbed freight costs of shipping the bars from the rail line to the bar mill and the also previously absorbed cost of scrapping a percentage of the bars.  A new welding technique had been introduced by the big oxygen-producing companies, which eliminated the shipping costs entirely and substantially reduced the labor costs.  Weld repair of the worn splice bars therefore turned out to cost less than re-forging them.
A technique for evaluating the condition of the rail ends and for finding transverse fissures had been developed by the Sperry Company.  An inspection car would be run over the track to identify magnetically each rail end and each transverse fissure, paint-marking them as it proceeded down the track.  Next, the railroads would send a maintenance crew to remove the splice bars from the rail ends and then use oxy-acetylene weld overlay of high-quailty steel to replace both the metal lost from the centers of the splice and the metal worn away from under the heads of the rails by rubbing against the splice bars.  They would then grind the weld overlays smooth and bolt up the rail joint once again.
To keep the bar mill going in order to generate a little income, we had to quote prices in the $10 to $14 per ton range, and to supplement this income, Father and I collected, assembled and sold fossil plant collections to a number of colleges and museums.
In 1938, Father requested a meeting with the trustees to discuss McKenna's future.  We had this meeting in the Union Station in Chicago in a private dining room.  It was attended by the two old trustees, Burrage and Abbott, by Victor Morris, by Father as President of the Illinois McKenna Process Company, and by me, as Plant Superintendent, Secretary, and Treasurer.  Father pointed out that McKenna was at the end of its rope.  All accrued royalties had been ruled uncollectible; McKenna was enjoined from charging any royalties on its voided patents; the Joliet bar re-forging mill had been obseleted by the gas welding technique of repairing rail joints in situ; and that McKenna had no source of income and no prospects.
That meeting reulted in the following decisions:

       Liquidate the Joliet bar mill;
       Sell the mill's real estate;
       Sell the Joliet office buiding and its lot;
       Abandon the Boston transfer office;
       Terminate my employment;
       Surrender the McKenna charter to do business in Illinois; and
       Terminate the McKenna Process Company and go out of business.

In 1939-1940, I stayed on without salary to help Father liquidate the bar mill.  We sold the machine shop equipment locally.  We advertised the two forging presses for sale in machinery journals with no success.  Mechanical forging presses had been obseleted by hydraulic forging presses.  Modernizing our mechanical presses by installing hydraulic base cushions would be prohibitively expensive and could not increase their operating speeds.  We eventually had to scrap both presses.  We offered the mill property for sale to the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, but we were horrified to find that McKenna had never had a deed to the land, just a lease for the business life of the company.  We finally accepted $1,000 for a quit-claim to clarify E.J. & E's deed.  By 1941 McKenna's bank account balance was close to zero.  We surrendered Father's McKenna life insurance policy for its cash value.  I went looking for a job, and in 1941 I went back to work for the Belden Corporation in Chicago.  Father sold the McKenna office building and its lot, and that closed the books on the McKenna Process Company.
LIFE PARTNER:  In 1899, Mother and Father met each other in Kansas City, Missouri, as members of the same social group, where they had mutual friends.  Mother, pretty and vivacious, was a popular, established socialite.  Father, the newcomer in Kansas City, came as a well known athlete, a Yale graduate, good-looking, and a member of  new business in Kansas City, Kansas.  They very promptly fell in love, became engaged to be married, and set a wedding date in 1900.

When Father lost his left arm in a rolling mill accident in 1900, he felt obliged to call off their engagement, but Mother would have none of that.  She came to Joliet, Illinois, where Father was living and, with Father's mother, helped him to recuperate.  They were married in a big, stylish wedding in Kansas City on November 14, 1900, and set up housekeeping in Joliet.

Mother and Father were different in almost every respect, but perhaps that helped to weld them into their relationship.  Their devotion to each other never wavered, and they lived to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary together.

Their social backgrounds had both similarities and differences.  Mother grew up as a rich girl in Kansas City's top level social stratum, accepted everywhere.  Father grew up as a member of a non-affluent group, socially accepted everywhere in St. Paul but not associating with the very rich families of railroad, mining or milling money.  Mother had never had any reason to worry about money; her father paid the bills.  Father, ever since his father's premature death, had always had to stretch his dollars.

Their educational backgrounds were totally dissimilar.  Father was a college graduate in Mechanical Engineering and a highly skilled, self-educated natural scientist, an intellectual.  Mother had gone to what were known as "finishing schools" at Monticello Seminary in Gadfrey, Illinois, near St. Louis, and to a small private school in Montreal, Canada.  She was well equipped with social skills.  Born with artistic talents, Mother sharpened them by formal attendance at Chicago's Art Institute.

Their first problem was housing.  After their 1900 Kansas City marriage, they moved to Joliet, Illinois, and set up housekeeping in a small rented house on Third Avenue on the East Side of Joliet.  This was quite a come-down for Mother, who was used to the social graces of a big, prosperous city.  Joliet, frankly, was an ugly steel-mill city, with practically none of the advantages that she was used to.  Mother hated Joliet all of her life, and that dislike led to problems.  The city of Joliet had three social groups: a prosperous group, mainly Catholic, on the west side of town; a business group, consisting of lawyers, doctors, businessmen and the like; and the workers and steel-mill laborers' group, which clustered around the mills themselves.

Mother had never learned to cook, but Mrs. Bedford's excellent Home Restaurant was nearby, and so that problem was solved.  On the other hand, soon, with two children, their home became crowded, and there was little room in which to entertain friends.  Therefore, a larger and better house was rented on Western Avenue, on Joliet's West Side.  Their Western Avenue house was comfortable and convenient to Father's job at the McKenna mill, but it was in an extremely Catholic neighborhood.  Her neighbors didn't accept Mother at her evaluation, and Mother liked very few of them.  Mother's and Father's good friends mostly lived on Joliet's East Side, so we all moved again, this time to another rented house on Union Street where we lived for a number of years.  It had a large yard and a carriage house in back.  It was also within bicycling distance for Father to reach the McKenna mill.  However, it was still within the city limits of Mother's much-disliked Joliet.  Mother's visitors from Kansas City made matters progressively worse and worse.  They kept contrasting gracious Kansas City with unattractive Joliet.  They also contrasted the large homes they owned with Mother's smaller rented house.

Mother persuaded Father that their happiness required them physically to move out of the city and into their own newly built home.  So they selected a site about two miles out of downtown Joliet and yet still only two miles from the McKenna mill.  They bought the large, pie-shaped lot in a thickly wooded Maple and Oak grove, with pretty Sugar Creek only a hundred feet or so in front of the house.  Only two houses had been built in their, The Maples, subdivision, and those were rather far away. 

Mother, talented as an artist, designed the house herself.  Unskilled as an architect, she designed all the rooms far too large.  Fortunately, they were scaled down to proper proportions by the selected architect-builder, who nevertheless preserved Mother's design while correcting the architectural blunders. 

Father, only a few years out of college, supporting a family of four on the salary of his first job, and having no capital of his own, negotiated with the local bank for financing. 

A couple of years earlier, Father had met an innovative mechanical shopowner named Karl Jensen, who custom-fabricated windshields for automobiles, which in those days were not so equipped at the factory.  Jensen had caught the eye of Henry Ford, who offered Jensen a contract for 1,000 windshields.  To fill this contract, Jensen had to build an adequate factory.  He had $20,000 of his own, but he needed $20,000 more, and he fancied Father as a partner in the venture.  The bank was perfectly willing to lend Father money for the house, but they were leery of Jensen and wouldn't lend Father the $27,000 total required to fund both the house and the business venture.  So Father had to be content with a $10,000 loan, which he used for the house and for the family's first automobile, a 4-cylinder Hudson two-seater. 

Jensen ultimately organized his Vanguard Company and made the windshields; he was both a good engineer and a good manager, and Vanguard was one of the companies put together to create General Motors.  Jensen's General Motors stock at his death was appraised at $6 million.

Our new house in the country was built just right for entertaining, but Mother still couldn't cook.  A succession of hired cooks didn't work out well, but she was offered a fine solution: a Montreal friend had read an advertisement that Mother had run in the Chicago Tribune; a cook-butler couple whom he knew wanted to migrate to America; and so they moved into the third-floor quarters.  Robert Baxter had been a Mess Sargeant in the British Army, knew how to dress properly and how to do his job, but he was an alcoholic who eventually had to be institutionalized, ultimately dying there.

Mary Baxter, on the other hand, was not only a marvelous cook and housekeeper, she was well read and a lovely person.  She truly enriched our lives.  Mother now had everything she needed to put her talents as a hostess together: a house built for entertaining; a gourmet chef who loved to display her skills; and an adequate household allowance.

Our home became the focal point of our family, very satisfactory to both Mother and Father as well as to my sister and me and to: Father's scientific and business friends; Mother's artistic and social friends; Mother's Kansas City relatives; Father's St. Paul relatives; Sister's friends and beaus; and my high school, college, fraternity, and business friends.

I could write a book about Mary Baxter.  She and Mother were equals as hostesses, and they both loved to entertain.  The had developed an amazing routine.  Mary would bring Mother breakfast in bed, and the two of them would spend half the morning planning; whom and when they should invite as couples for dinner, what were their favorite foods; should they have a large dinner party, with whom and when; and what visitors were expected; and how to entertain them.

Mother always had Tea in the living room in the mid-afternoon; anyone was welcome to drop in.  Mary just loved serving these tea parties.  She had two specialties: Scotch scones and Skotch shortbread, both super-good, and so when the rattle of the teacart sounded, Mary was deluged with compliments.  All our friends became Mary's friends, too, and they never failed to drop in to talk with her after the parties were over.

Mary was born in Edinburgh, remembered every poem that Robert Burns ever wrote, read every book and magazine in the house, and even took a Britannica Encyclopedia volume
[which I still have - George, III] to bed with her in emergencies.  In Mary's eyes, no one in the family could do anything wrong; to me she was both a friend an a third parent.  She worked for Mother and Father for twenty-five years until her terminal illness; a most lovable lady.

With our home well established pretty much as an open-house center of attraction, Mother's horizons widened.  She had a talent for writing about both her own and Father's interests, which led to her being in demand as a speaker, and she loved doing it.  She joined the Joliet Women's Club, was a good organizer, and was elected President.  She also joined the American Penwomen and became its Chicago President.

She had long acted as the family's accountant and treasurer, taking care of Father's income to the best advantage of the family, handling my sister's training as a pianist and mine as a mechanical engineer, and building a joint savings account.  Mother's legacy from her mother in 1929 was a motley array of local Kansas City stocks, California real estate ventures, and a few, nationally traded stocks.  Mother and a Joliet stockbroker house-cleaned the portfolio, retaining the good stock and putting the proceeds from the balance into her investment account.

Mother was impatient with the small investment return that she was able to add to their joint income, and when a Canadian brokerage firm got hold of her name somewhere and began offering great profit possibilities in a mining stock, she seized the opportunity to create a real fortune.  She invested about $20,000 in this stock and immediately began receiving dividends plus the advice to buy more stock.  Each time a dividend was declared, Mother took a small amount in cash, which went into the family's joint account, and used the rest to add to her stockholdings.  The unit purchase price was a little higher each time, and the broker kept promising large capital gains.

When Father inherited his mother's St. Paul house in 1931 and sold it, he consulted his college mate, Marvin Goodbody, owner of the brokerage firm of Goodbody and Company, and invested about $10,000 in good quality common stocks paying conservative but steady dividends.  The McKenna trustees had also rewarded Father with about $20,000 in McKenna Certificates of Beneficial Interest, which amounted to a substantial bonus whenever McKenna declared dividends.

With their home organized and operating so well, both children educated and on their own, the house all paid for, and money in the bank, the Mother-Father team appeared to have achieved success.  When the McKenna Company went out of business and Father's salary ended, they planned to sell their Joliet home and move to a Chicago apartment, living on the proceeds from the sale of the house, Social Security, Father's stock dividends, and Mother's stock dividends. 

But then, Mother's mining stock dividends suddenly ceased.  When Mother tried to learn what had happened, she found that the Canadian broker had gone out of business.  On further research it developed that the Canadian mining business had been fraudulent all along
[a classic, but long, drawn-out Ponzi scheme - George, III].  The mining business was entirely fictitious and Mother's stock certificate was worthless.  This was a heartbreaking blow to them both, but as always in their long life together, they acted as a team to sort things out upon starting their new life as retirees.

They decided that they would take a vacation together to plan their future, free from any duties in Joliet.  They went on a two-month trip to Yellowstone Park by automobile.  I loaned them my new Mercury for the occasion.  On their return, they found an apartment that they could afford, across the street from Lincoln Park in Chicago [big and comfortable but several flights up in a building with no elevator - George, III].  Aware that their income was barely adequate, Ethyl Holmes, Mother's sister-in-law and a fellow artist, gave Father $14,000 in IBM stock, which was paying excellent and welcome dividends.

Father, with no compelling duties, volunteered to curate the fossil plant collection that he had given to the Field Museum and did so without pay for about two years.  Mother worked with the Chicago Branch of the American Penwomen, eventually became its president, and acquired a new coterie of Chicago friends.  Father's Chicago scientist friends saw them often.  Most Joliet friends their own age had died off, but the new generation of friends came often to visit at their Chicago apartment.

The Field Museum appointed Father Curator of Plant Fossils  at a small but steady stipend, and so they were again successfully operating as a team.  There was one change: Father, well aware that their capital would not last forever, assumed the family treasurer-ship, never touching the capital itself except in cases of extreme emergency.  Father and I developed the habit of auditing their monthly profits and loss and also any change in their total capital.  My sister and I always added cash to any anniversary or holiday gifts.  Knowing that the apartment rent was always a monthly moment of financial pain, I took on those payments. 

But there were emergencies, serious ones.  Mother would take falls, unexpected and unpreventable, finding herself on the floor unable to move.  Each fall would break or dislocate something: her shoulder, a hip, a thighbone.  Each of these events would necessitate hospitalization, surgery, and licensed nursing care during recuperation, all in addition to their regular household help.  Father would then have to take money from their capital. 

[my mother - George, III] and I could see the time coming when we would have to become major contributors to my Parents' support, and we offered to do so ahead of time.  Father was counting on this, but he wanted to support himself as long as he could, and so we worked out an unoffical arrangement that when his remaining capital reached a certain low point, we would commence contributing.  But then Father died suddenly, before such point was reached, pleased, I believe, that he had managed the family finances as well as he had.

As Father's Executor, I administered his estate; it came to $6,500.  But Mother and Father had made it as a team.  Their life together had a bittersweet epilogue.  Ethyl Holmes, Mother's favorite In-Law, had made her a one-third beneficiary of her estate, and when it was distributed, Mother's share was appraised at about $160,000.  Mother had finally attained her life-long wish to become wealthy.  But she was now in a nursing home with badly advanced Alzheimer's disease and never knew of her inheritance.
GENEALOGIST: [The first section is by George, Sr., writing in the first person - George, III]
My first cousin Mary (Curran) Alden practiced genealogy for some time as her favorite avocation.  She tried many times to interest my mother, my brother, or myself in our family history, but none of us felt the slightest interest.  But after my mother's sudden death in October, 1931, there came a change.  She left many papers on family history which had to do more or less with her membership in the D.A.R. [Daughters of the American Revolution - George, III] and Colonial Dames [National Society of the Colonial Dames of America - George III].  These papers concerned in large part the proofs of ancestry entitling her to membership in the two organizations.

My brothers Tan and Will decided, for some unknown reason, that I was the one to determine what to do with these papers.  So they sent the entire batch to me.  As I examined them, my sentiments changed gradually from indifference to interest, and almost before I knew it, I was launched on a new career, genealogy, which I followed closely for about six years.  The reasons for this were what appeared to be unsolved mysteries regarding the origins of a certain three of my ancestors, as follows:

1. Northrup Langford, my great-great grandfather, whose ancestry, Cousin Mary Alden was unable to solve.;
2. Alexander Robertson, great grandfather of my maternal grandfather, Daniel Alexander Robertson; and
3. Lilias Mackintosh, mother of my maternal Grandfather Robertson.

I eventually solved all three of these problems, with the able assistance of my older brother, Nathaniel Pitt Langford [nephew and namesake of N.P. Langford of Yellowstone & vigilante fame - George III].  This opened up such a large number of my ancestors that I compiled a list of them by families.  I donated the original manuscript to the Newberry Library of Chicago and sent copies of digests to ten of the country's leading libraries.  My son, George, Jr., joined me in this avocation, concentrating on the ancestry of [Sydney Holmes - George, III] his mother.

From 1932 until his death in 1964, Father and I shared an interest in researching out family history and genealogy.  Neither of us had had more than a casual interst in these subjects until two events occurred:

October 26, 1931 - St. Paul Minnesota:
When Father attended his mother's funeral services, the three brothers (George, Wil and Tan) found that she had saved two packages of family history documents, and Father was elected to analyze them and plan the next move.  He brought them home to Joliet, where he showed them to Mother and me.  One package contained a group of letters, all in the same handwriting, written on soft foolscap paper on both sides of the paper.  The ink had bled through, making the letters extremely hard to read.  It developed that they had been written to Grandmother Elizabeth Robertson Langford's grandfather from his grandfather in Scotland [That's a six-generation jump to him, eight to me - George, III].

The second package contained an early attempt by a first cousin, Mary Alden, to work out a Langford line in New York and New England.  These papers aroused Mother's interest, and she produced a document of her own, a D.A.R. membership application that her mother had filled out for her some years before her death in 1929.  It contained portions of Mother's Massey, Hawkins, Picket, Lee, and Gilbert lines.

The three of us decided that we wanted to learn a lot more about our ancestral families; Father to work on his half; and I to work on Mother's half.  Neither Father nor I knew anything about the subject of family history and genealogy, so we visited the Joliet Library for advice.  They directed us to the Newberry Library in Chicago, said to have one of the largest collections on the subject west of New York City.  At our first spare moment, we visited Newberry, and Assistant Libarian Joseph Wolf became our advisor for many years.

1933-1935 - Joliet, Illinois:
Our genealogical research was strictly a spare-time project from the start.  We both had demanding jobs, familes to support, homes to take care of, and other interests, besides.  At no point were we able to make it our top priority.  All of our early research was done at Newberry, whenever we could find an open half-day or so.

N.P. Langford, Father's brother, combined with Father, and they collaborated by mail to decipher the Scottish letters, full of family information.  Then, in 1932, the two brothers and their wives made a family-history trip to Denver, Colorado, and in 1935, they made another trip, this time to Oneida County, New York.  In 1933 I visited Lexington, Kentucky, and Boonville, Missouri, seeking records of Holmes and Massey.   Father's Robertson and Mackintosh lines hooked onto over a hundred Scottish clans, all well recorded in the "Scots Peerage."  Father's other lines all extended into well recorded New England.  In a nutshell, Father made amazing progress on his half of our project.

In contrast, my progress was rather pitiful.  In the early 1930's there were few published records of the South and southern families, and I was badly bogged down on Mother's maiden name of Holmes, a very common name.  I compensated by joining associations in Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina.  Early on, I joined the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), used their Journal as a model, and borrowed books constantly by mail from their library in Boston.

Father and I had both established links into England, Newberry had a mass of English genealogical records, and I found a bargain copy of Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages in a second-hand store.  Father and I had real fun working with these English noble families.  At one time I had worked out our joint descent from sixteen Magna Carta Sureties and wanted to offer it for publication to the NEHGS Journal, but Father analyzed it and felt that a number of my marriage connections wouldn't bear scrutiny, so I withdrew my plan.

Father's time was so fully occupied by business problems and his scientific involvements that he decided to publish his results.  So, in 1936, he produced about twenty copies of his handsome family charts in blueprint form, distributed them to a few family mambers and to a few large libraries and historical societies of his choice, and took no active part in any more family history and genealogy research,.

Father had stopped genealogical research entirely, and mine was limited to an occasional contribution to Mother's Holmes family in Kentucky and to an infrequent piece of data from the NEHGS Journal.  We made a couple of trips to Newberry, mainly to visit with our old friend, Genealogical Librarian Joseph C. Wolf

I had hoped that I could have produced results approaching Father's, but it wasn't until I moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1969 that I was able to really make a start on what will end up in the Massey Book.  Father and I both enjoyed the fact that we had grown up together as family genealogists, starting as totally ignorant amateurs and ending up with actual competence in the field.
So far, I have written at length about Father's attainments in the natural sciences and in his business career, and about Mother's part in his life, but he had more strings to his bow.

Father had a natural talent for pen and ink, illustrating his scientific articles and his books.  He illustrated his penny-postcard messages to all of us with humerous and amusing sketches.  I saved about a hundred of them, but they got discarded long ago in an all- too-complete housecleaning episode.  Father developed competency in making bas-relief sculptures of animals and men.  A set of these is on display at the American Museum of Natural History.

One Summer, Mother was on a Hawaiian trip as her mother's guest.  I was away at college, my sister was studying at the Cincinnati Conservancy of Music, the McKenna mill was idle between runs, and Father was all alone at home with an idea: write a book about Early Man.  He had read Tarzan of the Apes, so he produced Pic, the Weapon Maker, about a young Early Man and his progress with flint tools and his association with animals.  It was well received by older children and by persons with scientific backgrounds, and it earned Father many new friends, but it did not attain commercial success; it was too scientific for the very young to understand.

Father's publisher, Boni and Liveright of New York City, thought that a sequel might improve Pic's circulation, so Father wrote
Kutnar, Son of Pic,  Mammoth Man, Stories of the First American Animals and then, Senrac, the Lion Man.  Publication of these books brought Father membership in Chicago's Society of Midland Authors and some more good friends, but very little income.  Considerably disillusioned, Father ruefully noted, "If an author expects that by hard work, he can make a profit, then he should stop writing."

As an outgrowth of his book writing, Father composed a poem, "The Dawn of Art," which the American Museum of Natural History published in Natural History, December, 1919, page 621.

Back in his teens, Father had taken violin lessons and had learned to read music.  He liked to listen to my sister's piano performances, and he had played the piano himself for his own amusement and for relaxation.  With only his good right hand available, he developed a technique for playing two-handed pieces.  Our home piano had three pedals, the middle one being the "sustennato" or sustaining pedal.  He would play the left-hand base chords with his right hand, press the middle pedal to keep those strings vibrating, and then play the melody, again with his right hand.  It worked real well.  He had a repertory of several pieces, but I can remember the name and melody of only one: Schumann's "Traumerei."

EPILOGUE:  Having worked together so closely and for so many years with Father, it was perhaps inevitable that we should be together when he died.  The evening before Father's death, I had made one of my weekly visits to their apartment.  I had brought along a Dover sole dinner for the three of us from the Red Star Inn, and Father and I each had a Old Fashioned cocktail.  Father had been watching an extra-inning baseball game and was in high spirits.  We had an exchange of news and events whiile Mother listened to us.  She was a little hazy, but Father was sharp as a tack as always.  So, when I hailed a taxi to take me to the the Union Station, I had no inkling that Father had a health problem.

But at 6:00AM the next morning, Mother phoned me in Hinsdale that Father was "very sick" and asked me to come right away to their apartment, which I did at once.

Father was in great pain,obviously more than just sick, so I immediately called an ambulance.  What we didn't know at the time was that he had suffered a ruptured aortic aneurism.  The ambulance came promptly, I got in back with Father, and we started for Presbyterian Hospital where Father's doctor was waiting for us.  My holding of Father's hand helped him stand the pain, so when his grip relaxed, I knew he was gone.

As I end Father's story, a thought keeps recurring to me about my father:  All through his adult life, accepting setbacks, frustrations, and disasters, Father had never been defeated, a truly gallant and courageous man.