An old Indian motor cycle comes to life


The F.I. Maggert 76 th reunion drew many family members this year. The locals from miami county, and cousins from Texas, Flordia, Minnesota and Iowa. Friday night we had a weiner roast as usuall. Some come every year and some had missed the last few years so there was a lot of catching up to do. Emmit Maggert the oldest present, is 90 his older sister Grace Saunders age 95 his only surving sibling, could not make it this year. Emmit and his brothers Glen, Everett and Arthur when they were young all owned cycles before they could afford cars. Most all had one or two Harleys swapping and trading between brothers sometimes in the 1930s and 40s.

Saturday’s events started with a pancake breakfest , with a big meal later and family auction for to pay for expenses which is a great way to pass family heirlooms to the younger generation. Tall tales abound but one is standing out this year. Eileen knew her husband Everett’s love for cycles so in 1953 she went to a junk yard and purchesed a special Christmas present a 1913 indian moter cycle in Alpena Mi. It didn’t run and was in terrible condition but that didn’t matter Everett parked in the barn and made plans to rebuild it. Things don’t always go as planned. Later on Everett needed a welding torch and had not done much on the Indian so he traded it to his son Phil in Flordia.

After another few years Phil passed the rusty Indian that made its home in a basket to his son Jeff. Jeff loved his old grandfather’s cycle and was sure he would see it rebuilt. He would not part with it for anything. Some projects were started to repair parts of the engine. The cycle is getting close to 100 years old and parts are extremly hard to come by and very expenvise. The tires had long ago rotted away.

Jeff’s second cousin Kip Maggert had heard of the Indian and he ran a machine shop out in iowa and rebuilt old motor cycles, although not quit this old. Jeff wanted to see the old Indian run but they weren’t making much progess. There were many talks between the two and the hard decision to sell the bike with a promise to see it run someday, and it had to stay in the family.

Kip Maggert went and picked up the bike last Thanksgiving. Kip and his son Toby started working on it right away, many late nights after work were spent on it. Some parts had to be made from scratch and also wired and timed to run. It has no kick start you need to pedel it up to speed then switch on the engine. A week ago the last bolts were tightened and the prosscess of firing up the engine proceded. Kip Maggert hauled the Indian into the reunion friday night with great anticipation. Saturday he put the bike up on it’s rear stand so he could pedal and pedal he did a few pops and backfires. Then some more pedeling and now there is a crowd watching as this old Indian that hasen’t run in 70 years fires and takes off running to the applause of the crowd and the happy faces of Everett’s boys.

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