1708 White Oak Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland
Attached is the picture of the 1890 Case outfit owned and operated by the Darling Brothers, of Meadville, Missouri which I promised to send you. The following data were supplied by Mr. Clyde Darling, of Meadville, a son of one of the owners. The engine is a 16 hp. J. I. Case center crank and the separator is a Case 36-60 with a slat stacker. The outfit was manufactured in 1890 and this picture was made about the turn o: the century. It was taken on what ij now U. S. Highway 36 about mile south of Meadville and at the time taken the outfit was headed for the Fruin farm several miles east to thresh. Left to right the men in the picture are Bert Bisset on the engine; on the ground Bill Darling and Jim Darling, owners; Joe Young, Quill Royser and John Belshe and son Troy. On the separator the first four men are the Powers Brothers of Laclede, Missouri, and the man sitting on the elevator is John Sensenich. Most of these old timers have since gone to their rewards, but the Darling Bros. threshing rig is still remembered with a bit of nostalgia by the younger generation who used to look forward to threshing time each year when the neighbors all got together and traded work and followed the engine and thresher from one end of the community to the other till the small grain was all out of the shock and in the bin. One can't turn back to those days without remembering the meals those farm women used to get for the threshers. They were out of this world and it's a wonder we were able to work after stowing away such quantities of that wonderful food!
It was usually my luck to draw a job pitching bundles in the field or running a bundle wagon. I remember I could always pitch a load off a lot faster when I drew the dusty side of the separator unless the man on the separator kept an eye on me and made me slow down and he usually did.
My Dad, J. W. Jackson of Meadville, had a 13 hp. Nichols & Shepard engine and sawmill and one of my earliest memories was the smell of oak sawdust and the sound of that little N & S chawing its way through a big knotty oak log with little Joe Hodges, our engineer, keeping an eye on the steam gauge and water glass end feeding slabs and edgings to the boiler. Our sawyer was Uncle 'Tie' Jones, a kindly white bearded old man who could get more board feet out of a log than any man alive. He was not a relative of our but I would gladly have claimed him. Dad was and is a good steam engineer (he is now 79 and retired) but he usually had so many jobs to do that he left the engine and mill to Little Joe and Uncle Tie. We used to shut the mill down in the spring when farming season came on and put in a crop, then in the fall there would be a long pile of logs waiting that had been brought in by the neighbors for miles around as well as some logs of our own. Dad used to work until almost too dark to see and when I was small my Mother used to take me out in the evenings and fix me a seat on a stump at a safe distance from the mill with the admonition to stay there and watch the fireworks. We didn't have or need a spark arrester on the engine and when Uncle Tie would open the throttle wide and start a big oak log into the saw that little Nichols & Shepard would spout a geyser of sparks 100 feet in the air on a still evening. Dad used to make the rounds each night with a water can looking for smouldering sparks and eventually he missed one and we lost the mill and some of our lumber by fire. Dad got another mill and continued for a few years more but by that time most of the good logs in the immediate area had been cut and he sold the mill and quit. He kept the engine a good many years longer and did some silo filling and shredding of corn with it but eventually sold it.
A short time after he sold the saw mill he bought an interest in a new 16 hp. Nichols & Shepard engine and Red River Special thresher. That was a good outfit and it put very little grain in the stack. This rig operated for many years until the small combine put it out of business. The engine is still in operation on a sawmill near Chillicothe, Missouri, and when I go back to Meadville on my annual duck hunting vacation in November I am going to see it in operation again. I am told that the present owner declares that it is the best engine he ever built a fire in. We had a good many other makes operating in our part of Missouri from 1900 to 1925 including Case, Reeves, and Aultman-Taylor, all good engines.