MY THRESHING DAYS

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R. 3, Eden Drive, Quarryville, Penna. 17566

I was born July 8, 1887. I have voted two or three times or more. I am going to write about threshing seventy-five years ago in southern Chester County.

Most of the threshing was done with a two horse tread power and a small No. I Chaffant threshing machine, made in Lenover, Chester County. My early job was to move the chaff from the back of the machine to possibly a hole in the floor, leaving the chaff drop into the cow yard, - also pigs - not so fussy about being together in those days. About twenty bushels per hour was the limit.

In 18981 saw that rig thresh one hundred and one bushels in two hours and thirty minutes. Most farmers had someone thresh enough for seed and some to exchange for flour at first, then come later and finish.

On January 3, 1904 my father bought a six horsepower gasoline engine and that fall we hired that machine and started threshing and stayed at it for about fifty years. We were working for an Irish man one year. We came into dinner and sat down. He turned to Ellis and said, 'Ellis, if you have anything to say, say it!' Ellis answered, 'Say, what you damn please, you can't turn my stomach.' At supper time, Patrick says, 'Help yourselves, 1 am at home and 1 wish you were.'A grand old man to work with and for whom I did work in later years.

I worked that rig in 1904 and 1905. In 1906 we purchased a larger engine and started baling hay. We didn't push that too hard - about six or seven hundred tons a year.

A couple of things happened in 1904. I hired with a neighbor to bale hay. He used a steamer so there were five of us went to breakfast and I am sorry to say six of us sat down to the table. I am sure I could have eaten all on the table and would hardly been enough.

Another time some years ago we pulled in late one evening and set up. We were ready to go home. The farmer said as a joke, 'What time will you be here in the morning?' My brother told him 5:30. The farmer said breakfast would be ready. We were and it was. We started baling before daylight, using two lanterns to see - one at press and one at scales. The engine and press were all in the barn. It snowed nearly all day.

In the summer of 1907 we bought a second hand Chaffant No. 3 size undershot feed, straight carrier. That machine ran nice and did good work until one day the wheat was dry and the man at the end of the carrier just quit. The machine choked up with straw and that machine never threshed clean again.

We bought a Farquhar in 1908. It was worn out by 1925 because we used it too much. In 1927 I bought a small Frick 20-34 blower and bagger. It was a fine little machine. In 1932 wheat was making 40 to 50 bushels per acre or more. We could thresh 100 bushels an hour. Not many that 1 worked for had many hours work.

In 1955 I sold all and left the farm. When I first worked we put in ten hours a day for $1.00 a day and furnished two horses and two men and threshed for 4 cent a bushel.