Clarence Young's Quest

Clarence Young's property near Great Falls

Gerry Lestz

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The photos for this article were taken by GerryLestz, IMA editor-publisher, on Clarence Young's property near Great Falls, Montana.

Clarence Young, of Millegan Route near Great Falls, Montana, has probably traveled farther than any other steam traction engine collector to assemble parts for his big 110 HP Case.

The quest has thus far taken several years, and it may be one more before the engine is completely restored. He has researched the history of the engine thoroughly; now all he has to do is put it together again.

'It is No. 29589, and it is unique in one respect,' he relates. 'When it is finished it will be the latest one of this type. Case built 50 of these in 1913, and the last of the series was 29592.

'Although they quit on this type in 1913, they listed it in catalogues through 1918. I don't know whether they still had new ones or figured on going back into production.'

Looking back, Clarence says the day he bought this engine gave him the biggest thrill of his life. And this is not his only engine; he's got dozens of them on his property.

The 110 Case project started when Reg Lamb, a friend in Alberta, called him and said 'some parts' were on sale. 'What parts?', Young asked. 'A little bit of everything,' Lamb answered, suggesting he call Stan Johnson, who was holding the sale.

Lamb had first called Kenneth Kelly, a friend of both in Pawnee, Oklahoma and Kelly told Lamb to call Young. Both Kelly and Lamb have 110 Cases.

When Young got to see the 110, it was something of a wreck but he vowed to put it back in top condition. It had been used as a plow engine at Taber, Alberta. When it had been wrecked in the early 1950s, a crew was bringing it on a two-wheel trailer. It proved unweildy, so they cut off the wheels and let them roll in to the ditch.

The wheels lay in the ditch several years and then disappeared. These are big wheels7 feet plus in diameter and very heavy. Young went hunting for them and found one by accident made into a water tank for cattle. The 1 man who 1 had it said 'if I was interested, he knew where the other one was.' So Clarence went after that one too. He had to make two trips up there to get them, and have them hauled to Montana. Then he had to jackhammer the cement out of the wheels so they would be usable as wheels again.

Kelly has two bearing caps which Young duplicated by having casts made. Kelly also cast a drive for the steering worm. Young now has also a brand new piston rod of stainless steel, and new rod bearings and rings. He found a set of wheel extension rims last year.

His travels for the engine job have taken him as far as Dawson Creek, 900 miles from home; Leth bridge, 200 miles, and to various parts of the United States. He has a Case 1913 catalog, a Case parts book, and an almost complete set of 110 original blueprints, which serve as guides.

Young has sandblasted the boiler, and will follow the Case pattern for decoration black boiler, green engine, red wheels. He figures the work will be completed in a year.

The 110, which is under cover, has a lot of company among the many engines Young owns. He has two different 80 HP Case steamers which create an odd situation. 'I bought one old one and on it was the number 28955, and I bought another one later on. I looked at the number and it was 279551,000 numbers apart. It's kind of unique.'

He also has a 'real nice' 65 Case. His first purchase, in 1958 was a 25 HP Russell steamer and he recalls, 'I didn't know what I was doing.' Cases run in the family; his grandfather bought an 80 HP Case in 1912. It was later scrapped, but Clarence has the purchase order with his grandfather's signature.

The collection also includes many tractors and stationary engines. Walking around Young's land is like a visit to a museum where dozens of engines are awaiting full restoration.

He even has the schoolhouse he attended as a child a frame one-roomer which originally stood a mile away.

Mogul, Titan, Hart-Parr, Avery, Taylor you name it, Young probably has it.

He farms 3,000 acres2,300 of it in wheat. His grandfather came to this land in 1910 and Young still has the original 600 acres. Young is third generation on the land and his son Dana is fourth.

We made the visit to see Mr. and Mrs. Young through the courtesy of our niece, Lynn Gardner. Mrs. Lestz, the former Margaret Gordon who was born on the family ranch at Cascade, helped take the notes as the camera was snapping and ye editor was interrogating Clarence. He attends regularly the annual September rally at Culbertson.

(This note was received from Clarence Young just before deadline.)

John Tysse, of Crosby, North Dakota (one of my best friends, asked, 'Why do you want to stand on a 110 Case?' My reply was, 'I don't know myself but I know if I had started five years ago I would have had one now.'

Ray German, of Oihmont, Mt., has machined a new crank and we put the disc back on again. I now have the bearing caps machined and ready.

I have a 16' South Bend lathe and also a milling machine. I could not make it without these two.

I would like to mention some of my good friends that have helped me. Without them I could not have made it: Joe Richarson, of Orofino, Idaho; Kenneth Kelly, of Pawnee, Oklahoma, and Redge Lamb, of Charsholm, Alberta, Canada. They all have late model 110 Cases.