Peaceful Valley Reunion

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Frederic, Wisconsin

NIGH UNTO TWO YEARS had passed since purchased an 'Indiana Tractor' for my good friend, Rolland Maxwell, who hails from the Hoosier State. Seems he had experienced several set backs to hinder his efforts to retrieve it. Enroute to the 'Johnson place' he stopped at LaForge, Wisconsin, where Durward Steinmetz helped Rolland to load a Keystone thresher I had bought last spring. So from there on he had cargo both ways.

Rolland had hinted previously he'd like to take in some steam engine doings while up here (some 750 miles from home) and of course that is up our alley 100%. On short notice the Ray Lockmans, from Gordon, Wisconsin, were here and 'we all' took off for Archie Stevens at Millville, Minnesota. In spite of our haste we stopped enroute to look at a Gray tractor, which I hope to own someday. This, not our first trip to the 'Peaceful Valley' Reunion, but like the prior times we again got lost. To us, all those valleys twixed wooded hills spell out a sort of 'Close to Nature' feeling, calm and posessive. Wending our way over bridges and 'round curves then suddenly the Stevens homestead.

No swanky buildings here no fancy painted steamers, no society evident, this family sponsored affair still proves very active. For four-bits they stamp your hand and the ground is yours. (Ray got both his hands stamped, just in case).

The smoke over the valley was evident of things in action the steamers all hot, a little steam leak here or another there just like when they were being used day in and day out doing their work in days of yore. Here we see drive belts paralelled up twixt steam and machine. On the power end we find Case, Advance, Birdsall and single and double free lance engine jobs. On the receiving end we noted an 1864 hand fed thresher, an 8-roll corn shredder, a steel thresher (Case of course), with all attachments, a saw mill, a shingle mill and a lathe mill. Water was being pumped by steam power. Several engine models were on display or working their way through the crowd. The line up of old tractors included 10-20 Titan; English Fordson; Waterloo Boy; and two 8-16 Internationals.

Between the lunch stand and the display of antiques was 'staged' a truck thereon the old accordian playing requested numbers by Clarence Vosler of Lake City, Minnesota. Spelling him off was Elmer Pearson from Red Wing, Minnesota, with his Concertina playing Scandinavian tunes, like most Swedes I 'got loose all over.'

As the western hills cast long shadows over the playground and the crowd had wained our fun was just beginning that's when Archie's son got the Model 'T' alopys going from a stripped down wire wheeled job to an old fire truck with all the trimmings Free rides and how! It made you forget all your troubles including rheumatism, and gave you a lift like no pills or medicine could ever do. Glancing around we saw Mrs. Lockman driving the Advance engine. -'Lot's of fun' she said.

We all got home by midnight, and the next morning at breakfast commenting on 'Archie's Day' we all agreed with Rolland when he said 'I could go back there again just awful easy.'