Two old sawmill pictures, one taken in 1924 of a mill at Cedar Run Church, Culpeper County a Peerless engine and mill.

Robert Somers

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Route 2, Country Club Est., Greer, South Carolina 29651

Enclosed is a picture of my father which might be of interest to your magazine. It was taken in 1954 in Cuipeper, Virginia. The engine is a 10 hp Frick owned by C. W. Thornhill, who is pictured 2nd from the right. Beside him is O. R. Clark, and on the engine is my dad, C. H. Somers.

In 1947 I helped my Dad and an older brother during the threshing season on this very engine, using a Frick threshing machine. I was just a little fellow, but big enough to help out some, and to drive the '37 Buick with a trailer-load of gas cans and such. My brother sacked the grain, while Dad ran the whole show, and I operated the clutch on the engine when I was told to.

Great fun! We didn't get out of Culpeper County, and had to stay on the dirt roads, but it was a very successful season of threshing . . . and this was with steam power. This was the last season the Frick engine was used full-time, although it was fired-up periodically since then.

The engine is still in the Thornhill family and the last time it ran was two years ago at the Culpeper Farm Show. My Dad, of course, did the honors.

My Dad has been involved with threshing machines and sawmills since he was old enough to walk, and he's almost 77 now. His father was in the business, and he followed in his footsteps. I still remember Grandfather's old Peerless engine and a wooden thresher, which I can't remember the name. The '26 Fordson tractor is still there, and is used some to drag logs, and such.

Dad still saws five days-a-week for the Ward Rue Lumber Company of Culpeper (he's been there about 55 years), and most Saturdays he can be found running his own small mill, a Frick, which was his Father's. He's a sawyer, and actually does all the sawing and most of the maintenance on these mills himself. On rainy days, he practices some lost arts like hand working radial saws, and repairing old machinery and antique cars.

C. H. Somers is a real 'Iron-Man.'