In keeping with the season, and in keeping with history, several members of the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association carried out an old-fashioned “pounding in” for the new caretakers of the Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia.
Admittedly, some of the people had to learn what a “pounding in” is, but they were eager to be a part of this age-old ritual.
Robert and Rebecca Martineau moved into the mansion on Dec. 5. The old home had been unoccupied since mid-summer. To welcome the couple, members of the NBPA showed up unexpectedly this past Sunday, bringing the traditional “pound.”
Long ago it was the common for people to welcome young people, especially newlyweds, into their new home. Friends and neighbors would show up at the couple’s home bringing a pound of something. They might bring a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of potatoes, a pound of bacon, or something for the kitchen.
Robert and Rachel do not probably fit the term newlyweds. They were married in July, after graduating from Crowder College.
The young couple are no strangers to Newtonia. This spring they participated in the PBS documentary that was filmed in town. After graduating from Crowder College, Rachel has taken a job at Scholastic, while Robert is continuing his education at Missouri Southern State College. He is studying to be a teacher and hopes to teach social studies in middle school.
The people at the “pounding in” brought apples, oranges, cake mix, turnips. a pound of butter, a pound of coffee, corn bread mix, and other delicious things.
Perhaps the most unusual gift came from Jim Ridenour, a member of the Newtonia board. Both Jim and Robert Martineau are Civil War re-enactors, so Jim brought Robert a pound of black powder for his vintage rifle.
Once everyone arrived, the Martineaus got to tell about themselves and how they had made it for a week in their new home. They said they were very happy, and Rachel expressed her pleasure with the kitchen, saying it was much bigger than where they had been living.
Several of the group answered questions about the house. The Martineaus are waiting for their first guests and trying to learn what they can. They say that if anyone wants to tour the mansion, they will accommodate them if at all possible.
The number to call to make an appointment to see the mansion is (417) 214-1851.
Even though Rachel is working and Robert is going to school, they will have the house open as much as possible.
The members of the Newtonia Battlefield group are happy to have Robert and Rachel and, quite possibly, they enjoyed the “pounding in” as much as the Martineaus.
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