| July/August 1993

  • # Picture 01
    Postcard sent to Joseph Williams inside a letter from the Reeves company.
  • # Picture 02

  • Dr Robert T. Rhode's oil painting

  • # Picture 01
  • # Picture 02
  • Dr Robert T. Rhode's oil painting

735 Riddle Road Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

Having grown up during the heyday of agricultural steam power, my father made annual journeys to the threshing reunions at Pontiac, Illinois. During those pilgrimages, Dad told stories about the engine his uncle had operated a Reeves, for which the owner, Joe Williams, had built a special shed in three compartments proportioned to shelter not only the engine but also the water wagon and separator. When Dad later acquired the Williams property, I tried to picture that gray, tumble-down building as new, the proud Reeves looming up inside. What follows is a reminiscence.

In his trademark blue jacket, Joe Williams commanded the men of the threshing crew. He owned the twenty horsepower Reeves engine but preferred to run the separator, to supervise the stack, and to give orders to everyone from the engineer to the water boy. He considered himself something of an expert on separators, and told farmers not to buy a Hart weigher for their threshing machines, but to purchase what he knew to be the superior Garden City weigher. No one minded Joe's bossing; he was respected and liked.

Joe had masterminded the formation of the threshing circuit in his corner of Warren County, Indiana, and he had purchased the water wagon, separator, and engine from the Reeves Company in Columbus, Indiana. For over a year he shopped around to replace his portable engine with a more powerful traction engine. On June 21st, 1910, a Mr. J. W. Fee from Clarks Hill, Indiana, wrote to Joe:

'I received your card and write you stating that I have a Rumely Ideal Sep 34 x 56 Ruth feeder wind Stacker all in good Repair or The Best of Repair

'Rumley Single engine mounted on Eighteen Horse Boiler made to order one of Rumleys late Style Boiler and Fire Box


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