Letters to the Editor

Recalling the roots of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, show


| August 2006



OilPulltractor.jpg

The photo I submitted to the February 2006 issue of Farm Collector concerning the OilPull tractor and water wagon should have had more information. As for making silage in the 1930s, that was not too possible in southeast Iowa. Due to the drought, there was not too much green, and what the grasshoppers didn't eat, the chinch bugs finished. I wonder how many people remember the trenches, filled with oil, and then ignited usually at night, to kill the bugs. It finally took freezing weather to finish them off.

In 1947 I worked for an oil exploration company in Louisiana and asked why soybeans were planted around the corn fields. I was told it was to keep chinch bugs out of the field.

The photos are of the first Old Thresher's Reunion, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in September 1950. I thought they would be of interest. The event was planned by persons interested in exhibiting, demonstrating and promoting equipment used in the past. Some of the people involved were Milo Mathews, Pete Butcher, Ray H. Ernst, Shellabarger Implement and a Deere & Co. block man (name unknown).

The first show was held mostly by word of mouth. There were five steamers and some equipment on display, but not a great amount. The steamers were shown on the Prony brake and a separator threshing oats. One woman told me her father's steamer burned the floor of the trailer bringing it to Mt. Pleasant.

At the evening parade there was only a handful of people in the grandstand. The big part of the parade was Pete Butcher balancing his steamer on the teeter board - quite a feat! I also remember there was a LaCrosse tractor in the parade.

The reunion had phenomenal growth when we attended again in 1962. There were many more exhibits, including a building for antique autos. Railroad items were also shown. The Mark Twain Zephyr train was a surprise, since I had ridden it to St. Louis and it was the best train ride of many. It was amazing how the event had grown in 12 years. Since I now live so far away, I have not been able to attend but enjoy reading Farm Collector articles about the event.