CALAMITY OF OLD BLACK BILL

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This is the threshing that took place in August at my farm this year. 20 hp Aultman C. Taylor engine No. 9360 and a late model case High Deck 32x51, manufactured No.422678, threshed 1100 bushels in 4 hours.

This article was written by J. A. Finefrock of Canal Fulton,
Ohio. It was sent to us in 1949. We do not know if Mr. Finefrock is
still living or not. –Elmer

Abe, Ike and Jasper, the three Springer Brothers were threshers.
Mose was the summer and winter handy man, very large and heavy.
Sandy was a young neighbor boy of the Springer Brothers, quite
often the water boy to drive the water tank wagon. Freddie Boy was
a nephew of the Springer’s. Timney was a visitor from a near-by
farm, an eye witness of the tragedy. The year 1886. Place – Middle
Run, Carroll County, Ohio. Written by J. A. Finefrock, who has 45
years of service as an engineer.

‘Good Morning Ben! We have finished up another year’s
crop of thrashing. We would like to finish the stacks at the
Lexington Homestead today. Well, Ben, by the way, are there any
folks living there?’ ‘No, there has been none living there
for over a year. It is the real place for the coon hunters to hold
out on rainy nights, to rest their dogs. They have made some wood
and piled it in the old porch shed. So if it be cold weather, they
make some fire in the old fireplace and stay there for a good part
of the night.’ ‘It don’t seem like we thrashed here for
the first time ten years ago.’ ‘Well, Abe, we are not as we
use-to-be ‘Like the Old Bay Mare’. The years shust go mit
the wind.’ ‘Well, Jasper, you roll te belt. Ike, you and
Jasper take the bay team to te trasher and go ahead. Jasper can
pull the lock for you down that stony hill. It might fly loose for
Ike. Mose, you take te old grays and fill a tank of water at the
spring run ditch where the lads made a swing pool last Spring.
Sandy, go fetch the big mule team. Tom and Jerry, we will hitch
them in Old Black Bill. So don’t be so frisky Jerry, you must
take Black Bill down the hill safely.’

‘We have about one mile where we cross the field, across the
narrow valley, to the cabin. I will stand on the running board and
draw the lock for you, Sandy. So, Ben and Carrie, we must give you
Good-Bye, hoping to trash for you folks next year.’

Sandy, he yells Get-up; Jerry, All Aboard; we goes down te hill,
den someone opens te rail fence so te turn would not be so short.
Den we gets to te Middle Run ditch where Danie Webster, the owner
of the estate, made a home-made bridge; two logs and twelve loose
planks. This bridge looked to Jerry like a trap-door at a Commacery
Store. When he get on te edge he sets all four. Tom, he dinks come
along. Jerry, you and Black Bill must follow suit. So by
Jerry’s hanging to te haw side made Black Bill wobble to te
edge, one plank broke after te tother. So Black Bill rolled his haw
side in te edge of te ditch, mit his head on te tother bank. Sandy,
he fall back-end-first, in te mud and water. Tom and Jerry, ta
brake to pedistal bolt on te front trucks, den ta shust run shust
like two schack rabbits mit ter ears back, den ta lock wheels mit a
mulbery bush ta stop quick. Ta water bottle he bust, steam come up
on ever sides. Jasper, he come back all excited. He say shust pull
te fire quick te plug-of-safety will blow out. Den I says I dinks I
better. Ike, he shusts looks on and he say now by the John Rogers
we are caflomixed. Some of de men’s say Abe, you dinks he will
bust? I say no, you can’t bust a boiler mit forty pounds of
steam. Den dat man Mose he come mit te water wagon. He shust say
Well, boys we can carry logs from Danies log pile shust only a few
steps, where Danie hauled for a sheep shed a few days ago. He was
one strong mans shust like dat man of old ‘Goliah’ shust
not quite so big. By dat time some more trashing help come. Well,
says Mose, shust every mans help. We through to short logs side mit
te engine and use te long ones to bare down. Abe he says I dinks
dis will be some yob, buts we leave him to Mose. He say every mans
shump on one or te tother log. So up he comes inch by inch. Who
dinks dis could be? Bye and bye we gets him on his feets. He was
shust a little wobbly. Den we puts logs under his wheels, den te
next was to get te head end high enough to put te front wheels in
place. Den Sandy he bring tem back mit Tom and Jerry. Ta make Gu-Gu
eyes at Poor Black Bill, but turn te trucks end for end, so ta got
tem in place, den te boiler must be filled, so te next was for te
boys to go to a neighbor to gets buckets. Ta boys carry water from
te ditch. Mose he say shust wait boys we must move Black Bill on
dry-land. So ta get te big bay team, and hitch tem to te tong so ta
pull him up where it was flat. Den Mose he say now boys give him a
big drink, I puts in a new water bottle. And te boys gather rail
pieces from te fence and bark from te logs, so soon we had smoke
coming out of his old smoke-stack. Den some one say shust look up
te hill. There come Betsy and Kattie her oldes gal mit some basket
dinner. Abe say dats fine for we are all as hungry as hound pups.
We lay logs about for seats and doors for tables. Den Mrs. Webster
she say set up Boys, I know you are hungry and tired. One of te
boys he yell te soup is on, come dis way. Betsy, she say — Abe,
will you please give thanks. I say shure, Betsy. Abe he say Danies
bridge was shust like some of te plank in te pollitic platform —
‘shust a little rotten’. Den Jasper, he say shust looks at
Old Black Bill mit his mud schacket. Shust like a fodder shock
after a hail storm. Den Mose he say shust look here Jasper, I am a
little skeptical, he look mores to me like te Old Reck of te 97.
You may be right Mose. Poor chance for argument. Betsy she say
Danie shure had the logs hauled at the right place at te right
time. Well, thanks Betsy and Kattie for te big feed. Well says Abe,
Sandy, you may bring Tom and Jerry to te engine, we will hitch up.
By te time we gets to ti stacks the steam will be up. So here we go
forward march to Lexington.

Well, when we gets there te hole rig was ready for te engine. So
we sets Black Bill, puts on te belt. Every mans get to their
places. So I tutes te whistle, den we starts, te dust shust flies.
Den I looks up te hill side, den we see Freddie Boy — he came from
Washington, D. C. Uncle, he say — he was one great lad to ask
questions –he say what am that strap for, to turn that
whirly-thing. Den I tells him dat is te ding that government te
turns of te engine. Den he say we have a Government Capatol in our
city. Well it differs quite a bit. Dat goverment is to govern te
amount of gelt you may keep in your buck-skin pocketbook. Den Uncle
he say to Freddie, What would you like to do rait trashing? He say
drive te water wagon when he gets a Big Man. By te way how about
you Timney what would you likes to do? I would like to be te
engineer. Well, my little lad, I dinks you might have plenty of
troubles in dat business.

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