Old-Time Threshing

| 8/1/2017 3:58:00 PM

Sam MooreAnd now, here are a couple of tales of old-time threshing that I lifted from the pages of a 1927 copy of The American Thresherman.

Three men, their clothes covered with black grease and dirt that told of their vocation as threshermen, drove their tired teams as they laboriously climbed the “Hog-back” that led into Sugar Tree Bend.

The darkness of night was closing over the greasy trio as they turned into the big bend of the Pecatonica River on this late October evening.

Big Chris Swanson was in the lead with his high tail Case separator and following him was Long Chris Norslie with the two-wheeled Dingee-Woodbury horse power. Bringing up the rear was Little Cooney Doring driving the trap wagon, loaded with the odds and ends of tumbling rods and sweeps, along with the straw carrier.

Eventually they reached a little clearing in which stood a cabin surrounded by a rail fence. In another enclosure were four small stacks of wheat and a log stable with a straw thatched roof. Inside the little home an evening meal was fixed and waiting to fill the stomachs of the tired, hungry men. The meal consisted of sizzling sow belly, potatoes boiled in their natural habiliments and corn dodgers, to be washed down with a combination beverage of coffee, toasted rye kernels and chicory.

By 4 the next morning, with the aid of the light from tallow candle lanterns, the men were setting and staking down the machinery that was to separate the golden wheat from the straw in the handbound bundles.