This picture and story were given me by Mr. Hubert of Ronan, Montana 59864, which I thought was very interesting. Mr. Hubert had run the big Minneapolis steamer in Mr. Rathert's story in the Sept-Oct. 1968 issue of Iron-Men before it was used for the big irrigation pump. Mr. Hubert and I went up to Mr. Rathert's Steam Thresher Reunion at Forman, North Dakota, and saw the 'Mighty Minnie'. He had a very large crowd and had a splendid collection of steamers, gas tractors, and antique cars.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the good readers who wrote and told me that the engine I inquired about was a 30 hp. Robert Bell Canadian make.
Garth Pfutzenreuter R R 1 Box 14 Hecla, South Dakota 57446
I have been asked to write the story of the picture of the six-horse team and the threshing machine on sleds, which takes me back fifty-six years. The picture was taken in February 1912 on the Little Missouri in North Dakota.
The separator was a 26 by 46 Peerless. It was a sieve-less machine, weighing about 9600 pounds. It was powered by a 20-horsepower, single cylinder portable gasoline engine built by the Geiser Manufacturing Company, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, who also built the separator. It was taller than most separators as it had an extra rack to help separate the grain. The separating was done by three rollers and two combs and divide board.
I started to thresh on September 13, 1911 at the King-Ellison Brothers Ranch near the Theodore Roosevelt Elkhorn Ranch about thirty miles north of Medora, North Dakota, and finished about twenty miles south of Medora on February 21, 1912.
The winter of 1911-1912 was a hard one. We had rain in October which iced the hill sides so that I had to wrap the wheels of the separator with chains. Then in November we got about eighteen inches of snow, so on December first, I put the separator on sleds. Despite the weather, every rancher and homesteader had his grain threshed because this separator, not being equipped with sieves, was able to handle grain covered with snow or ice. About the first part of January 1912, the temperature was fifty-five below at the Parker Ranch which was north of Medora. On January 13, we had a seventy degree change in temperature with rain that put ice on the outside of the stacks of grain and a crust of ice on the snow. It was necessary for the ranchers to put boot tops on their saddle horses' front legs to plow the snow so their cattle could get to the river and creek bottoms where the straw piles were to get feed.
I had to move the machine up the creeks eight to ten miles and then back to the river. I know that it was moved more than one hundred miles that fall and winter. I had just passed my twenty-second birthday when I hauled the separator to Medora in about eighteen inches of water on top of the ice in the Little Missouri River.
Dick Stevens and Jack Schevger are on the separator. I took the picture. The picture was taken from the original.