Content Tools

Box 320, Rupert, Idaho 83350

I never before was an engine man as you nearly had to have an engine in the family to get familiar with them. However, I was 'water monkey' for one when I was about 15that's what they called the water wagon man in my neck of the woods. The outfit was a Case and I can smell the smoke and. oil from it yet and it still gives me a lift!

I used to like to listen to the Old Portland Rose leave Ogallala on frosty nights. The tracks were about twelve miles away, but it sounded like it was in the backyard when they cut loose with that whistle!

I never was near an engine blowup but an old man in Arkansas told me he witnessed one at a town in Missouri and that the boiler sailed right over the town!

I have put many a bundle through the old grinders and the best feeder I ever saw was a Garden City Extention Feeder made at Garden City, Kansas (I think).

My uncle, Joe McKillip, who was a born steam man and all-around mechanic plus an Army railroad engineer in France during World War I, used to tell a story and laugh about an outfit he was threshing with when he was a kid.

They were threshing a stack yard and I guess had the wind behind the engine and no screen, I suppose. Anyway, they got a fire going in the stacks and the boss of the outfit seemed to be concerned only with the engine. So instead of jerking the separator out, he kept yelling at the engineer and the separator went with the stacks.

My uncle was at our place one time when they were threshing in our neighborhood and the engine man had to take a day off to get to town for one thing or the other. My dad says: 'Joe, can you run the engine today.' Joe agreed and ran it for us.

I remember during the Depression days my brother and I hired out to haul bundles for a big stockman who had the reputation of one man coming one man going. Well this hot-shot man would stand over the feeder and watch you pitch and this finally got on my nerves. We were threshing long, heavy rye and one day I thought the separator seemed to be slowing down, as you will instantly notice if you are pitching into one.

I looked up and this guy didn't seem to notice anything wrong, so I kept on as it continued to slow down. He still didn't notice and I thought 'Mister, you are going to learn something about a separator.'

When he finally caught on, it was too late and that thing was as tight as a hay baler inside!

The straw racks had come loose and blocked the blower and did he ever spend a few hours in the hot sun digging it out!

I have always felt a little ashamed of myself for doing this, but at the same time, I felt he needed an education.