Dad’s Threshing Career

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My dad sawing on Crooked Creek about 1912.
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My dad sawing on Camp Creek about 1925.

221 S. 10th Street Burlington, Iowa

Jard J. Danielson was born the third son of John and Sarah Bodle
Danielson in McLain County, Illinois, March 10, 1875. He was born a
thresher, as his dad was a thresher before him.

Dad started out in 1900. He and his brother-in-law went to
Wichita, Kansas, and ran a rig for Oss Fry. Then in 1901 he bought
his own rig. He had a Geiser Engine, and a Gaar-Scott Separator. He
settled in Macomb the year before and in 1902 I was born.

I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old, Dad would sit and talk
of his threshing and sawmilling. We lived 3 miles east of Macomb in
1912. I remember Dad getting up at 4 a.m. and firing up to go shell
corn. He would be shelling at 6 a.m. I heard him say one time he
was putting out a load every 3 minutes and he said ‘That was

He had 30 teams on the road to town. He shelled 6,000 bu. one
day and set six times. His engine then was an 18 hp Gaar-Scott and
an Ottawa Sheller. Dad got the Scott stuck one time in a corn cob
mud hole. I went out with him and another man to get it out. They
worked 3 days getting it out.

When I was around 17 or 18 years old, I used to go with dad a
lot. We were out one time to move it to town. After he fired it up,
he looked around at me and said ‘Think you can start it?’ I
told him I’d try. I had watched him lots of times and thought I
could, but I gave it a little too much steam and about threw us
off. Dad looked at me and said ‘You’ll make an engineer,
all right’ and laughed. He said ‘We all do it.’ His
words were true. I threshed with him for 20 years then we also saw
milled. I learned to saw from him. I have sawed for 20 years, but
am not doing this now. I sold out, but am thinking of starting

In 1924 Dad was threshing east of Macomb on 20 acres of wheat.
Across the road was a 30-60 oil pull and a 36-60 Separator on the
same amount of acres. They had threshed off 2 bundle loads when Dad
belted up. He said, ‘Boys, let’s beat them done.’ Dad
had a 20-40 oil pull on a 32-54 Rumely. He said, ‘Boys, just
keep the lead next to butt but don’t slug it.’ We beat them
done by 2 bundle loads and never made a stop.

Dad always took pride in his work. He said, ‘What is worth
doing at all is worth doing right.’ He always put his machinery
in the shed when he was done.

I have always loved steam the best. I like the smell of it. You
can’t beat it. I take my hat off to all the old timers, they
can’t be beat.

Dad also had a 20 Advance Rumley, a 15 Case, a 20 Case, a
Nichols Shepard, Aultman-Taylor and 2 20-40 oil-pulls. He also
shredded fodder in the wintertime. We also farmed for 15 years. How
I wish those times were back. I never heard of Dad going through a
bridge. If he heard of a bad one he would go 5 or 10 miles out of
the way.

For a hobby I also pitch horseshoes, have for 40 years. My
average is around 65. Would like to get back your way – they have
open tournaments there.

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