13th ANNUAL REUNION AT MT. PLEASANT, IOWA

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At the Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Association Reunion, September 1962, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
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Picture taken in the summer of 1962 of members threshing beans. The picture shows NYSE A members Harold Snyder, Luzerne Ball, Bobo Marshall and Ray Alexander, 1.to r. See the New York Steam Engine Assoc. report.

Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

The forty acres of reunion activity of the Midwest Old Settlers
& Threshers Association presented a welcome sight to the many
old and new visitors as they drove in the gates of the ‘old
fair grounds’, now McMillan Park, for the thirteenth annual
reunion this past September 5, 6, 7, and 8.

The biggest noticeable change was the narrow gauge railroad, now
with a mile long track circling the grounds. Every twenty minutes
or so old No. 6 pulling its tender, two coaches and a caboose
filled with passengers, ‘flashed’ by whistling for the
various crossings and gates.

More land has been added so that there was plenty of room
although there was more activity and a bigger crowdexcept for the
last day when it rained.

The large buildings made it possible to store thirty-five of the
large steam engines, saving hauling and making it possible to get
them out and lined up some time before the reunion.

More than a hundred steam engines, large and small, took part in
the Cavalcade of Power before the crowded amphitheatre and crowded
track side, many of them later performing. Some tried out the Prony
brake and the Baker fan; others took a turn on the belt running the
old time threshers, a shingle mill, the big sawmill, a flour mill,
a straw baler and other equipment. Hill climbing was a new feature.
Largest engine was Bob Willit’s 23-ton, 40/120 HP under mounted
Avery. They ranged from that down to a 1/3 HP scale model.

The exhibit of old tractors and stationary gas engines was
larger. There were over thirty tractors and seventy-seven gas
engines.

The two-story concrete building housed over a hundred antique
cars-many of them rare collector’s items.

The steam operated carrousel, with its calliope music
accompaniment, was back. Seemed like as many ‘oldsters’
rode the merry-go-round as youngsters.

The five church-run eating tents with their fine old threshers
meals did their usual large business and contributed immensely to
the success of the reunion.

The many exhibits were a continual attraction – – the antiques,
the gun collections and Indian relics, the pioneer period household
appliances and the farm equipment came in for their share of
appreciation. The various items of yester-year bring back many
memories as visitors recognize familiar ones.

The Ladies Auxiliary prepared and took part with floats in the
Cavalcade of Power; with demonstrations and other entertainment
during the day, so that the reunion was truly a family affair.
There were demonstrations in flower arranging; with household
appliances; in cooking and exhibits of various kinds. Music –
girl’s barber shop and organ, too – were features.

The shade and many benches were appreciated. Just watching the
crowd was enough for many. Others enjoyed the checker tournament,
the horseshoe pitching, the old fiddlers, and the famous Fife and
Drum Corps.

The Cavalcade of Power was also part of several evenings’
entertainment. The big feature again was a pageant commemorating
the Civil War Centennial. It was written and produced with local
talent over 700 persons actually performing in it. Props included
livestock (60 horses, too) and thirty authentic flags, making very
real the settings for fourteen different events shown.

The 1891 cabbage stack, narrow gauge locomotive, its coaches and
caboose, ’roundhouse’ and authentic old time depot, was a
major attraction. Local conductors in uniform punched tickets and
honored life time passes of the many stockholders-those who had
bought one or more $10 shares in the Midwest Central Railroad and
could therefore ride free. Another narrow gauge locomotive and car
is being rebuilt and will make possible two sections leaving from
opposite sides of the grounds at the same time during the 1963
reunion.

The Mark Twain Zephyr, its complete diesel power unit ‘Injun
Joe’, and three coaches, plus one coach from the original
Pioneer Zephyr is the most recent addition to the exhibits on the
grounds. For twenty five years the streamlined Burlington Mark
Twain Zephyr was a thrilling sight as it streaked along between
Burlington and St. Louis, from Chicago to Denver for awhile, and on
several other runs before its retirement. Now engine fans can enjoy
seeing it in its permanent location at the reunion grounds.

Rain on the last day of the reunion reduced the record
attendance that appeared certain up until then. But visitors were
in general agreement that it was bigger and better than ever and
well worth coming to next year. The 1963 dates are September 4, 5,
6 and 7.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment