Farm Collector

Buried 51 Years

Lewistown, Illinois

Some time ago in the ALBUM, there was a picture of a Port Huron
in Michigan, that was partly buried in the sand. I am enclosing a
couple of pictures of an engine that was buried 51 years and was
dug out about 18 months ago.

It sat on the banks of the Spoon River and ran a sawmill over a
half century ago. In the spring of 1901 the river came up,
undermined the bank and it turned over on its side in the river. At
the time an effort was made to get it out, but was given up. They
let a junk dealer have it. He tried to break it up but only managed
to get the flywheel and two or three small parts off of it. In time
the river changed its course and completely covered it up.

Lloyd Lassell and Russell Bolon, of Smithfield, Illinois,
decided two years ago to see if they could get it out, Lassell
remembered the engine when a boy and knew just about where it was
located. After some digging and probing in the ground with iron
rods, they located it. Then with a bull dozer and also a lot of
work with spades end shovels they got it uncovered. It was laying
on the cylinder side. The next thing was to turn it onto its wheels
and get it out of the hole. This was done with tractors and

They have done a lot of work on it, and still have more to do.
The engine and boiler are both in very good shape. They have made a
new smoke box and stack for it.

I don’t know how old it is. It is a 10hp. J. I. Case No.
1138 portable. The engine is at the Lassell farm northwest of Cuba,
Illinois. I live about 20 miles from them and have seen it a number
of times, also the hole they got it out of.

The man who owned it is still living in Arkansas and is past 90
years old, and is a relative of Lassells. Hope to have the engine
at the Illinois Threshermen’s Reunion at Colchester,

  • Published on Jul 1, 1956
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