Box 137 Athens, Illinois 62613
Clyde Duddleston's saw mill on the Prochnow Farm near La Valle, Wisconsin in 1917.
Over the years that I have been a reader of the Iron-Men Album, I have seen several articles on saw mills. In looking through my box of steam engine snap shots, I found several pictures of steam engines on saw mills. The picture of the 18 Hp. Advance engine is the reason the mill was set up on this particular spot. Mr. Prochnow was planning to build a barn that summer so they were sawing out the frame. The engine and mill were moved by Claude Duddleston of La Valle. In later years, Mr. Duddleston had a permanent location for his mill near the village of La Valle and built a shed over it. I watched his saw there as late as the spring of 1949. In later years, he used a 20 Hp. Rumely engine. He sold the engine and mill a-bout three years ago.
Two other pictures were taken in March of 1929. The location is on the same farm as above mentioned. I was about 8 years old when these pictures were taken and I recall the day when they moved the engine in to start sawing. The ground was quite soft so they eventually rolled logs into the ditch next to the road and drove the engine over them. I also recall the we drove to La Valle with the horses and lumber wagon the next morning and the owner of the engine asked us to bring him some steam cylinder oil. The engine was a 60 Hp. Case. The owner of the engine and mill was Frank Neglas of Wonewoc, Wisconsin. Since my home was just a-cross the field from the mill, I spent much time there listening to the exhaust of the engine. In later years the engine was used and sold in a saw mill near Necedah, so I suppose it was sold for scrap in 1942.
In 1946 I tried to look up all of the steam engines that were still around La Valle. One of the pictures shows a 25 Hp. Advance-Rumely in a saw mill in Wonewoc. This engine was owned by Edward Schroeder and was used until 1949. I left home that fall so I never did know what happened to this engine.
The other picture is of a M. Rumely Co. engine in a saw mill near Ironton, Wisconsin. I took this snap shot in Sept. 1948. When I went back in March of 1949, the engine was gone. I assume it hit the scrap pile.
There are still a few saw mills around La Valle today but they all use Diesel engines for power. I have been privileged to attend the Central States Threshermen's Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois for several years and I certainly like to listen to the exhaust of engine when they are sawing logs. The Avery undermounted certainly has a musical exhaust. In my book the Diesel engine can never take the place of steam, either in a saw mill or as a railroad locomotive. Somehow the steam engine seems much more romantic!
I've never any pity for conceited people because I think they carry their comfort about with them. George Eliot