NEWTONIA — A total of 14 blacksmiths converged on the Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia on Saturday during the second annual Hammer In.

NEWTONIA — A total of 14 blacksmiths converged on the Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia on Saturday during the second annual Hammer In.
As Dave McElroy and his daughter, Savannah, made some items, spectators came up to ask questions to the blacksmith.
"I saw a 90 year old blacksmith, about 20 years ago and it always  fascinated me," said Dave McElroy. "I just wanted to get into it."
For the past six years, he has been a blacksmith.
Back in the day, blacksmiths were seen on farms or ranches and also in towns.
"A blacksmith back in the day, would make everything from barn hinges to farm equipment, wagons, anything and everything that was metal, blacksmith would make," he said.
The Ritchey Mansion - which pre-dates the Civil War still stands in Newtonia. During the war, it was used as a hospital and headquarters.
"During the Civil War, blacksmiths would make nails, horseshoes, bullets, cannons, riffles, flints, muskets, they were a jack of all trades," he said. "Most of the time, most farms, everyone kind of did their own blacksmithing, the blacksmiths in town usually did specialized stuff that farmers or ranchers couldn't, did not have time to get to. they would go to them, they were more specialists. but most everybody back in the day had their own anvil or some type of iron work knowledge."
McElroy said that the art of blacksmith is also educational and fun.
"You are always learning something, something new, something different about metal, about heat, about the way that it works," he said. "Try to encourage as many people as I can, it is fun, it is a lot of fun."
The Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association (NBPA) and the Newton County Tourism Council sponsored the event.
NBPA member and organizer of the event Don Jessen was pleased with the event.
"We had a really nice steady crowd," Jessen said. "The blacksmiths worked and talked, sold things and good food, we made some good money and had some good donations. It was a win all way around. The money raised will pay bills for the mansion."
Blacksmiths were not the only ones in attendance.
There were clay artists, a weaver, a beekeeper, a furniture maker, a woodcarver, a metal artist, a drum maker, etc. Also, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe had speakers with presentations throughout the day.
A new feature this year was an art sale. Artwork from various artists included oil paintings, watercolors, pen and ink and prints. Local authors were in the Ritchey Mansion with books for sale and stories to share. The Ritchey Mansion was also opened for tours. There was also a quilt show and sale at the Newtonia Community Center.