Gaar Scott Recalls First Romance

Gaar Scott engine

Harshfield 1904 16 HP Gaar Scott engine on arrival in 1952 at the Roy Kite farm, Bird City, KS on its way to Wichita.

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712 Chaps Road S. E. Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87124

Beautifully restored 1904 16 HP Gaar Scott #11647 after installation of the valance on engine top. Owned by Lewis Woods of Mustang, Oklahoma. Photo by Melvin Kestler.

Lewis Woods of Mustang, OK and his beautifully restored 1904 16 HP Garr Scott #11647. The engine has real good gears and the boiler is Oklahoma state inspected for 100 lbs. pressure. Melvin Kestler took the photo and had the pleasure of operating this engine at a recent Pawnee Steam & Gas Engine Show.

The Oklahoma Steam & Gas Engine Show was held at Pawnee, Oklahoma on May 6, 7, 8, 1988. The show had many fine and unusual attractions including Lyman Knapp's 1892 Canton Aultman Monitor 10HP traction steam engine, Chady Atteberry and his Elgin Watch Case 40 on the 50% Case incline, Amos Rixman operating the horsepower testing Prony brake, Kenneth Kelley's steam narrow gauge passenger train and his 110HP Case steam traction engine, etc.

During the show, I got acquainted with Lewis Woods of Mustang, Oklahoma 73064. Lewis had a beautifully restored 1904 16HP Gaar Scott steam traction engine #11647 at the show which he let me run. I told Lewis I had known of a 16HP Gaar Scott engine on a 21,760 acre sandhills ranch where I had worked as a ranch hand in the early and mid 1920's. We got to comparing notes and sure enough it is the same engine. John Harshfield who owned the ranch had purchased the engine and separator to thresh rye grown on his farmland. Harshfield carried on extensive farming operations during the 1900 period. Later on the engine was used on the ranch in the cattle dipping operations. Today, the Harshfield ranch is owned and operated by one of John's grandsons. It is located 20 miles north of Sutherland, Nebraska.

In the early 1950's Roy Kite of Bird City, Kansas got about 2 dozen of us steam fans interested in steam traction engines. Roy's farm was headquarters for the engines gathered up in the Tri-state area. I told Roy about the Gaar Scott engine on the Harshfield ranch. He in turn told Harold Ottaway. Harold purchased the Gaar Scott in 1952 and brought it to Kite's farm before taking it on to Wichita, Kansas.

In 1926 John Harshfield fired me because he thought I was too familiar with his daughter, Gladys. She is one year younger than me. Gladys was my first sweetheart. When Gladys' father canned me, I saddled up my rodeo trained quarter horse, Bogus, and headed for the Platte River Valley. If Harshfield had not fired me, I probably would still be in the sandhills because I loved the ranch life style and the country. Gladys' father caused me to change occupations. Later, I took up CPA accounting work for my livelihood. After meeting my 1930 model flapper, Jean, with rolled down hose in North Platte, Nebraska, I soon forgot about the sandhills.

Later, Gladys went away to college and married a fellow her father did not approve of. Her bull-headed father disinherited Gladys and she has lived a life of hardship ever since. Gladys and I have kept track of each other all these years by visits, correspondence and telephone. Gladys and her late husband and my late wife, Jean, have visited each others homes many times all through the years. My beloved Jean died last year. Recently, Gladys has telephoned me twice from California. The old spark is still there.

Some of Ken Kelley's Case steam traction engines at the 1988 Oklahoma Steam & Gas Engine Show, Pawnee, OK, with their engineers. Case road roller with J.D. Wilbanks; Case 40 with Dick Roe; Case 110 with Dave Bennett, Dale Wolf and Kenneth Kelley; Case 65 with Lloyd Haskin.

What every steam man would love to have in his backyard. Kenneth Kelley's Case steam traction engines. Submitted by Melvin Kestler, Rio Rancho, NM.