Threshing at Don Irwin's farm cast of Grass Lake, Michigan, September 1983. Case engine and 28 x 50 Case separator owned by Don Irwin.
The first annual Black Swamp Steam Gas Reunion was held at Auglaize Village near Defiance, Ohio on June 14-17, 1984.
This is the first time Auglaize Village was used for a steam and gas reunion, and I must say it is an excellent grounds for an event of this nature. The grounds consists of a 19th century restored village, museums with antique farm machinery, a Corliss steam engine, and a good railroad display with a mile oval track around the village. There are six steam traction engines on loan to the village, one being a very rare D. June portable which was fired for the show.
There were 12 traction engines present for the four day event. This could have been called the show of 16 HP engines as seven of the twelve were 16 HP. Makes represented were Advance, Aultman Taylor, Frick, Gaar Scott, Keck Gonnerman, Minneapolis and Russell. All engines were very nicely restored and in fine running condition.
Ken Monk from Mio, Michigan had his portable sawmill there. Ken had his mill set up with a double pulley line shaft so that two engines could saw at the same time, and that we did! Often two engines could be seen pulling in tandem.
John McDowell came in from Plain Field, Ohio with his Power Eater Generator. John was a real pleasure to have at the reunion, as he will work an engine the way the engineer wants him to work. There was almost always an engine belted into the power eater. Set up close to the power eater were three Baker fans, which were used quite often.
The big event for this show would have to be plowing with steam traction engines. There were ten acres available for plowing. A number of plows were used, but mainly we used a five bottom supplied by Vic Johnson. The ground was quite hard and gave the engines a good workout. We plowed all four days; sometimes in groups. I will say that the Lash away family and their 16 HP Frick certainly enjoyed plowing, as they could be seen hooked to the plow two or three times a day.
On Friday and Saturday, as the day wound down into evening, engines could be seen belting up to the Baker Fans, John McDowell's Power Eater, and Vic Johnson's dynamo meter waiting for darkness to set in. At just the right moment, the engines were started up, the result was some of the finest spark shows that have ever seen in this area for some time. Friday night there were four engines sparking at one time and on Saturday there were five.
There is certainly plenty of room for the engines and tractors to roam about. There is also an incline for them to play on.
The Village Railroad personnel were giving rides on their gas inspection cars around the one mile track. It is a good way to get a look at the grounds and the steam engine activities.
The Antique tractor pull was held on Saturday afternoon by Dewey Hetzel of Sycamore, Ohio.
A big thanks goes out to everyone who took part in our first show, especially to the families of Howard Miller and Vic Johnson. Due to their hard efforts this reunion was made possible.
Show dates for 1985 are June 13-16. Please plan to attend our second reunion.
Some of the engines shown on the back cover are: David Kemler's 16 HP Advance, #11495, Howard Miller's 13 HP Gaar Scott #14261, Lashaway family's 16 HP Frick, Todd Johnson's 16 HP Russell #13099, Dan Greger's 16 HP Ault-man-Taylor, Harold Holp's 16 HP Advance #12896, and Sam Myers and Bill Scheiding's 16 HP Keck Gonnerman #1227. All pictures on the back cover were taken by Sam Myers, 9318 Wengerlawn Road, Brookville, Ohio 45309. Sam wrote the story, too!