1170 Independence Street, Lakewood, Colorado 80215
I was born on August 21, 1915, and raised in Ontario, Canada. The 74 years have been good to me, until about six years ago when I was diagnosed with melanoma. I pray to hold on as long as possible. I thought the readers might like to know about the models I have spent my time building.
Born in the 20's, the steam traction engines were losing out to the gas tractors. My father liked the steam engine so much that he paid Mr. Henry Tait $15.00 a day extra for the steam engine to run the separator (thresher) to thresh about 30 acres of grain. This made quite an impression on me as I used to sit and watch this great engine puff and smoke, pulling that long belt to the separator. My big thrill was at 12 o'clock when the fireman would lift me onto the platform and let me blow the whistle to stop all operations so the hungry men could eat the largest amount of food I ever saw.
Before being discharged from the Navy in 1946 I had found my life partner, Mabel, who gave me three children. The eldest passed away recently from Multiple Sclerosis. Mabel has been a great encouragement to me in building and showing several scale models of the J.I. Case engines. Some of these great shows started when Mr. Porter of Ontario, Canada asked us to show the 1' scale Case engine and separator at Milton, Ontario in 1967. In 1971 we were invited by Russell Orth to show at Norwich, Ontario. We have missed only two shows thereafter, for 18 years, showing next to Jack McJannet of Ingersol, Ontario. It was the start of meeting some wonderful people and seeing some of the school kids I went to school with, in the 20's, in Burgessville, four miles away.
When I was able to retire I continued to work with steam, building working models of the J.I. Case 65 HP steam engine, so now have 1', 2', 3' and 4' scale engines. I have also built, without blueprints, working models of the 1' and 4' scale Case thresher. Three years ago we joined the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation and have met and been inspired by Helen and Brig Brigham, who through the past few years have given me encouragement to continue to live with my life threatening cancer by adding little notes on the Heritage Foundation correspondence. What busy and wonderful people! At our first showing at Kinzers, Pennsylvania, with the Foundation, we were transported with our granddaughter to and from the banquet with Helen. Our granddaughter still talks of that honor. We will not forget their courteous and thoughtful deeds.
At the J.I. Case Heritage Foundation Show in Manitoba, two friends from Calgary, Audry and Wray Broad, a former neighbor and classmate from the 20's in Burgessville, Ontario, came to help us through that show. As chance would have it, they traveled over a thousand miles from the south and as we entered Highway #1 Mabel spotted a trailer and van with an Alberta license stopped aside the road making an adjustment on the trailer. Yes, it was Wray and Audry 40 miles west of our final destination. We were all shocked and surprised to meet like this as we had planned to meet at the show grounds. Our 12 year old grandson was with us this trip. He was going to help run the engine, but fate took another turn and the ladies at the Case booth took precedence over our display. He helped (hindered) in the sale of tee-shirts, flags, etc. for the entire show.
In the induction of J.I. Case into the Agricultural Hall of Fame we were assisted by two friends originally from New Zealand who drove 800 miles from Indiana: Colin and Lynn Johnstone. They were a great help throughout the show gathering wood and getting water for the running of the 4' scale Case engine and thresher. At this time my cancer had not crippled me too badly.
Last year, while reading the 'For Sale' column in the Iron Men Album, I noticed a 75 HP Case engine for sale in Brainard, Minnesota. I called our son in Dillon, Montana and mentioned this ad. His reaction was the same as mine after talking to these fine convincing people we must go look. Sure enough, it was as presented to us on the phone, a beautiful engine in good to excellent condition. These two brothers, John and Judson Murray, were willing to part with it. This engine needed to travel 1008 miles to its new home. It would be out of the question to drive that far at 2 miles per hour. Knowing two fine people from Valley Center, Kansas, Lois and Tom Terning, who have had many miles of experience hauling these 11-ton engines, we called upon him to haul one more. They delivered. This beautiful engine now resides on our son's 300 acres, 14 miles northeast of Dillon, Montana on Highway 41. He does not have his storage building up yet so the tractor is sitting in front of their home a few yards from the highway. Before Christmas he put a few strings of flashing Christmas lights on the engine, outlining the contour and wheels so at night it looked like the engine was traveling. He received lots of comments. He also has a 32' Case separator and a McCormick-Deering grain binder to restore. He has the wish and ambition to do all this and is constantly asking for my help but each day it looks like my health will not permit that. I pray each day the Lord will restore my health.
Wray and Audry Broad have expressed their willingness to help show some of our equipment at the Brooks, Oregon show this summer, so Lord help me to be able to do that. What a joy it would be to see all of you again, there.