New Castle buzzes with activity for 149th bean dinner

| August 22, 2016
Leanne Reed, who will be 2 years old in October, joined the Walhonding Rube Band with her harmonica for a few moments next to her Grandma Janet Doughty, who has been a member of the band, along with her three daughters, Judy (Martin), Elaine (Ross) and Leanne’s mom, Ellen (Reed), for many years. The four, along with two uncles (Walter Doughty, Max Mercer) and several cousins and relatives are just one example of several families with multiple members and generations of musicians that enjoy performing with the band. Mark Fortune | Beacon

Leanne Reed, who will be 2 years old in October, joined the Walhonding Rube Band with her harmonica for a few moments next to her Grandma Janet Doughty, who has been a member of the band, along with her three daughters, Judy (Martin), Elaine (Ross) and Leanne’s mom, Ellen (Reed), for many years. The four, along with two uncles (Walter Doughty, Max Mercer) and several cousins and relatives are just one example of several families with multiple members and generations of musicians that enjoy performing with the band. Mark Fortune | Beacon

NEW CASTLE – The village of New Castle, located on U.S. Route 36 near the Knox County line in Coshocton County, celebrated the 149th annual G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) bean dinner and the 100th anniversary of the Walhonding Rube Band on Sunday, Aug. 21 at McElwee Park. Regular attendees and guests alike enjoyed a beautiful sunny day and somewhat lower humidity as they enjoyed sandwiches, potato salad, pie and of course, beans that had been stirred in two large kettles over an open fire since 6 a.m. or somewhere around that time as the “official” start time is suspect.

Local historian Ken Smailes and Chris Hart entertained the audience that had gathered on the hillside under the large shade tree that has no doubt witnessed dozens of bean dinners.

Everet Beatty, who is the president of the committee behind the event, said, “This is about community fellowship. I had a guy from the Boy Scout troop tell me that his grandmother could make potato salad and he could make it with her guiding him on how to make it but it wasn’t the same because you couldn’t taste the love in his. And that’s the way with these beans – we have people come here that say, ‘I hate beans but I love your beans’, so I don’t know what it is – maybe they just taste the love in ‘em.”

“And you look at the people in the line – they’re talking and laughing – I suppose they know them but maybe they don’t. That’s what makes this event worthwhile. It’s just everyone enjoying each other’s company and fellowship.”

“We have someone here from Hawaii, someone from Texas and all around. The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful day – everything’s wonderful.”

Beatty said, “I enjoy the fellowship more than heading this up. Someone’s gotta do it – you hear about the Medal of Honor winners – they said that they weren’t the most qualified; they were just the ones that showed up and did the job. That’s the way I am – I’m not the most qualified by any means. We just enjoy doing it and serving.”

“We have lovely help here, there are people that just pitch in – there’s a guy over here stirrin’ beans for the first time. We have other people that just help out when they’re needed.”

“Allen Locke asked me about a break, saying that there are laws on this labor stuff – I said, ‘Well yeah, you get a break – every two hours – but we’re not busy now so take two or three of ‘em.’ As long as the lines are there we need the help.”

“Next year is the 150th anniversary and we’re going to have the Chestnut Ridge Band in the afternoon – we hope to stretch the event out if we – and the food – can last longer.”

Beatty said the menu will stay the same and the bean recipe will stay the same next year – we are not allowed to change it – Martha Young says no to that.”

Everet shared the bean “recipe” – “It’s very precise, we put in about six pounds of butter and then six to eight or 10 pounds of onions – it depends on how much we get chopped up. Then four picnic hams and we start ‘em at 7 a.m. and cook ‘em until they’re done. Then we add salt and pepper to taste – we used 84 pounds of beans this year. Then we just cook and stir until done.”

Karen Locke introduced the members of the Walhonding Rube Band around 1 p.m. with many returning “veterans” of the band joining in for the 100th anniversary performance of the group. Locke had several old instruments on display – including a drum from the early years of the Rube Band.

Glenn Allen and Tom Fry were recognized as their fathers were part of the original band. A special plaque was given to Jim and Mary Ann Williamson for their efforts in working on the cemeteries in New Castle Township along with several other projects the couple has completed in recent years. Brent Young of Millersburg was crowned the 2016 Bean King.

 

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I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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