Sugar Grove, Illinois
Accompanying this article are two pictures of threshing scenes:
one of the machines and crew, and one taken in the kitchen the same
day. These pictures were taken some time before 1900 on my
uncle’s farm, located southwest of Kaneville, Illinois.
Will describe both scenes the best I can in the following
My uncle’s name was Johnathan S. Dauberman, and he was a
farmer and thresherman all his life. He is standing on top of the
separator, with his hand on the elevator belt.
The engine in the picture was an ‘Ames’ engine, and the
separator was an ‘Advance’. Also in the picture was an
independent swing stacker, which I well remember, but I do not
remember the separator when it was equipped with the hand feed. I
remember the separator after my uncle put on a
‘Parson’s’ self feeder and discarded the independent
stacker and built a swing stacker on the rear of the separator,
supported by a caster wheel.
Today there are three men in the picture who are living. One of
them is my cousin, Clarence Dauberman, who is standing on the
ground on the left side of the belt (the smallest person in the
picture). At present he owns, operates and lives on this same
The barn still stands and is in use today, just as it is in the
picture, except the cupola. Of course the power windmill and the
Aero motor windmill have long since been taken down. Another
cousin, George Dauberman, is on the straw stack, the second from
the left, and he lives today in Kaneville, Illinois. Incidentally,
standing next to him, second from the right, is my father, who
passed away a number of years ago.
The other living person is Arthur Withey, who is standing on the
ground at the right of the belt, with his arm on the foot board. He
lives today in Kaneville, Illinois.
I remember the rest of the crew, but of course they have passed
away some time ago.
The engineer, standing by the engine, was Dolf Harter and he was
one of the best, always had steam up, and when they threshed with
that old rig, they really accomplished something. Every night,
after their day’s threshing, Mr. Harter would go over all the
engine with a rag soaked in linseed oil and it was always clean and
looked nice. I spent many a childhood day being around and watching
Mr. Harter and the engine.
I remember my father saying that it was so hot that day, they
didn’t start up in the afternoon until two o’clock. It was
so hot in back of the barn with very little air stirring because
the wind was from the northeast.
The other picture, taken in my aunt’s kitchen, shows the
efforts of the womenfolk preparing the meals in those good old
In the picture, on the extreme right, was my aunt, Mrs.
Johnathan Dauberman, and next to her was my Aunt Hattie Merrill.
Next to her was the hired girl, I do not know her name (in those
days nearly everyone had a hired girl), and on the left was my
cousin. Bertha Dauberman. These folks are now all deceased.
I can very well recall Aunt Mary’s big kitchen with the wood
burning cook stove, and the kitchen sink, but best of all, those
good home-cooked dinners. No one was ever hungry, I assure you!
Now we try to relive those good old days with our ‘Northern
Illinois Steam Power Club’.
We have a ‘Threshing Bee’ every August, and thresh from
fifteen to seventy acres of oats every year.
I am a member-director of the Club and own a complete
Minneapolis outfit, a 24 hp simple engine, a water tank, and a
40×64 Minneapolis, Roller bearing steel separator.
In our club we have eight or ten steam engines, five or six
separators of various makes and sizes, some large gas tractors and
numerous gas engines from 6 hp down to 1 hp.
Also have an old ‘Sandwich baler’ which we use and a
home made fan, besides different other engines and models also some
steam boat engines.