4715 Lowell, Salem, Oregon,
As an old time thresher and steam plower I am interested reader of your fine magazine. I am taking the liberty of writing a few lines and sending some pictures taken a long time ago also am sending my renewal to the ALBUM.
I started in 1909 firing an Advance straw burner. In 1910 we moved to Colton, Washington, my father buying a 28 inch Case separator and a return flue Buffalo Pitts engine, now owned by Chris Busch and in his collection of engines at Colton. I ran this engine for about three years. It also is the time I first met Chris Busch and we have been friends ever since. I have never missed a reunion at Colton since the Steam Fiends were organized, in fact I was there the year before, as I had seen a story in the newspaper and have been going ever since. Chris puts on a fine show and it is enjoyed a lot as attested to by the thousands that journey there every year. He is doing a fine thing in helping to preserve the old engines before it is too late.
I kept to farming, threshing and plowing until 1928, moving to Brady, Montana in 1917. I bought a 110 hp. Case, eight bottom John Deere plow and 43 inch Russel separator. It was at Brady I met my very good friend Ernie Stinson. He and I broke more sod and threshed more grain than most people could imagine. I quit in 1926 but went back in 1928 and ran Ernie's 110 hp. Case and 44 inch Red River Special. We had 50 day run and as I remember it we averaged over 3300 bushel per day the entire run. When I finished it we put up the rig. I believe it Was the last big rig that run in that country.
I could write pages of incidents and disasters that happened over the years but find I have written much more than I had intended to about myself. What I want to say is that the Steam Fiend sponsored Threshing Bees here in Oregon are going to turn out good. Harvey Mikkelson had a fine turn out, Rod Pitts of Canby, Oregon had a very fine show with planned events including engine races and tugging contest, also they had the old cradle at work. We always enjoy the C. A. Miller Picnic at Yacolt, Washington. The sawmill is always running and two or three steamed up engines for us old timers to play around with.
All this interest helps for a plan I am trying to put over in Oregon, to get together several old engines and have a permanent place for them at the State Fair Grounds. They should be cleaned up and put in show-shape with one or two steamed up during fair week.
One only has to go to a few threshing bees to see the thousands of people who come from so far to just watch. I have three newspapers who are getting behind the movement, but it will take all the help we can get to put it over. I am sending you one of the articles that was run in the 'Can-by Herald' as an example of the way we are starting out. If you have any ideas pass them on to us. If you have a little space in the ALBUM it should help.
I must say again that I get a lot of enjoyment from the ALBUM.