Roe Watson

Picture was taken near Moundville, Vernon County, Missouri, September, 1889. (1), Roe Watson, driver of team. (2), Ditt Hubbs, engineer. (3) Warner Powell, owner of rig. (4) James D. McBride, separator man. (5) Hank Powell, (6), Ol Wilson, separator man.

Bert McBride

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Stuart, Iowa

About 1888 or 1889 my grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McBride and their two sons lived for a year or two near Nevada, Missouri. While there he ran a freight line and broke sod with a string of oxen, long horns evidently, since it is said that some of the horns overlapped when the oxen were yoked.

Mr. Warner Powell ran a threshing rig at that time and my father, James McBride, a young man then, hired out to him as a separator man. The engine was self propelled but was steered by a team of horses or mules, the driver sitting on a seat beside the stack. The separator was hand fed by two men, a band cutter and a feeder, part of my father's work. A slat stacker carried away the straw at the rear.

After my grandparents and their family returned to Iowa, near Greenfield, my father and his brother Otis rounded up a horsepower and separator to thresh around their community. The driver stood on a stationary platform in the center of the horsepower. Three of the teams were furnished by my father and his brother, one to move the horsepower, one for the trap wagon containing the sweeps, stakes for holding down the horsepower, the tumbling rods, lubricants, etc., and one team for the separator.

They soon disposed of this and bought an Aultman-Taylor rig. After threshing around Greenfield for a while the brothers married and the outfit was sold. My father then moved to a farm near Stuart and then into Stuart, but he still went threshing when he could.

One summer he ran a road grader (Adams Leaning Wheel, I believe) behind a Reeves double engine driven by his brother Ray. They also used a big Twin City tractor for a while.

Later my father spent several years working in Stuart's Municipal Light Plant. Two 72 inch by 18 foot horizontal return tubular boilers furnished steam at 125 lbs pressure for a Harris Corliss engine belted to a Fort Wayne (GE) generator, also a direct connected Ball engine and generator and an Ideal unit, also direct connected. All these were direct current generators.

Enclosed are copies of photos of the old steam rig and the Aultman-Taylor outfit which you may like for your files. I've tried to decipher the name of the older engine from the inscription on the boiler front but haven't been able to read it. Perhaps someone will recognize the engine.

You will notice that the Aultman-Taylor engine was driven through a shaft with bevel gears which leads me to believe that the engine was non-reversing. Was that the case?