804 Gillette Ave. Gillette, Wyoming 82716
These pictures are of my father-in-law, Charles (Charley) W.
Morse of Carpenter, Wyoming and his two steam engines.
Charley and his father and brothers homesteaded in the Carpenter
area and in 1910 they purchased a 1904 Case 25-75 steam traction
engine #13489. This engine was used both as a plowing and threshing
engine for many years. Much of the virgin sod in southeastern
Laramie County was plowed with this engine and a disk plow.
In 1913 they purchased a 36 x 58 Case separator with re-cleaner
and an extension feeder. This was combined with the 25-75 Case to
do custom threshing. This separator is still owned by Charley and
is in running condition. Charley was one of the last in the region
to combine wheat as he has always liked to feed the straw to his
cattle. For many years he used a header with a long extension
elevator and a large low wagon of his invention. Stacks were built
right in the wagon, then the rear was opened up and the wagon
pulled out from under the stack. He continued to use this outfit
even after the combine was in use as it only provided feed for the
cattle, but it enabled him to start cutting the wheat earlier and
get it out of the reach of the frequent hail storms that rake SE
Wyoming in midsummer. The stacks kept well in the high dry
atmosphere of the Wyoming plains and enabled two men to cut and
stack the grain, one to drive the tractor pulling the header and
large barge and one to build the stack in the wagon.
The old 25-75 Case went the way of many during WW II to the junk
dealer as scrap iron. Charley hated to sec it go, and always
dreamed of again owning a steamer. In 1961 the Platte Valley
Equipment Co., of North Platte. Nebr. held an auction of
construction equipment at Cheyenne, Wyo. Included in their offering
was a 20-60 Minneapolis steamer #7559. Charley was the successful
bidder on the engine and proudly had it hauled 40 miles to his farm
home near Carpenter. He spent many hours reconditioning the engine
and made a cold water pressure test of the boiler before firing it
up for the first time.
In the fall of 1962 he announced that he would have the
Minneapolis ‘fired’ and threshing at his farm on a Saturday
in October. Over 200 people from SE Wyoming, western Nebraska and
NE Colorado arrived to ‘help’ pitch bundles and operate the
Charley has attended many steam shows in the western part of the
United States. He has removed the lugs from the drive wheels of the
Minneapolis in order to be able to enter it in parades, where it
always creates much interest. Charley is still active with his son
Donald in operating a 2,000 acre wheat and cattle farm. He admits
that the new diesels are easier to operate and keep supplied with
fuel, but nothing will ever be as smooth on the belt as the steam
engine; and diesel exhaust certainly does not smell as nice as
steam cylinder oil.