Algie Ray Smith, the author of this article, is a columnist for several county weeklies including The Logan Leader, which is home-based in Russellville, Kentucky.
Mr. Smith, through his column, Collector's Cornucopia, attempts to generate an interest in collecting, antiques and the preservation of historic Americana.
(We thank The Logan Leader and Mr. Smith for permission to reprint this write-up. We also give credit to J. A. Miller, Route 1, Russellville, Kentucky 42276 for making the communications on this available).
Welcome to Collector's Cornucopia, where we discuss each week items that people like to collect.
To say that the Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen's Association, Inc. Third Annual Threshing Bee was 'quite a show' is to say the very least. The Steam Tractor Engine and Wheat Threshing Show, held on the Bell School Grounds at Adams, Tenn. (home of the Bell Witch), was the very best we have ever seen. The agenda included grist mill and sawmill operation, threshing, baker fan and teeter totter, model engines in action, steam trains, mule team shows, antique cars, antique agricultural implement displays and household furnishings displays.
If you are over 50, you would have been overcome by waves of nostalgia; and if you are under 50, the thrill of the old-time steam power would have been a lifetime first. The Association, indeed, is providing an invaluable service to present day generations by keeping alive a part of our American heritage.
We attended the affair on Saturday, July 22, with our nephew Mike Smith and were well-pleased with the smooth operation and efficient organization that the friendly folks of Adams put into the show. Entrance and parking was well-handled and space was no problem.
Upon entering the gate we were given a program and button (the button is sure to become a collector's item) and offered the services of a guide. Instead, we chose to just wander around and see for ourselves the wonders of the farms of yesteryear.
Some of the machines that immediately took our eye were the 1918 International 8-16 tractor owned by Gray Farms of Trenton, a scale model of a Nichols Shepard 20 horse power train owned by Ernest Williams of Pleasant View, a 1918 moline Universal tractor owned by Soldie Stewart and Johnny Stewart of Whites Creek, a 1908 Peerless tractor owned by Dorris Bland of Lebanon, and a scale model J. I. Case traction engine (1915) owned by Willis Wilcox of Madisonville.
QUITE POSSIBLY the most unusual display was that of a horse-drawn hearse from the 1800's. The hearse, all original, had been recently refinished and used in a funeral near Murray earlier this year. Also with the hearse were two wooden coffins of the face-plate variety. (This type coffin had a screwed-on lid with a glass face-plate so that the body could be viewed without raising the lid.)
The inside displays depicted various modes of 18th century farm life. The exhibits were entitled 'The Ingenuous American' and featured an old country kitchen, household furnishings of pre-electric days, early American carpenter, mechanical and agricultural tools and implements, wood-working and bottle collections. This inside show provided local collectors an opportunity to display their proud possessions.
For the youngsters there were steam engine rides, miniature railroads, calf carts and mule wagons.
All in all, we had quite a day. And if you should happen to be interested in joining the Tenn.-Ky. Threshermen's Association, you can do so by writing Donald Bourne, Route 1, Adams, Tenn. 37010.
Do your part to keep historic Americana alive!