Day Dreams

| May/June 1967

529 Elaine Road Columbus, Ohio 43213

When I was thirteen years old my father started me at the job of firing our old Russell engine. My older brother would handle the outfit when on the road but I was responsible for keeping it hot, oiled and watered while stationary. I remember at one neighbor's place we were baling and at dinner time the place where I sat did not have a fork. I was too bashful to ask for one but somehow managed to get enough to eat. When we were leaving the house it seems that some of the women discovered what had happened and I got a 'going over' for not asking for a fork. It did not take me too long to overcome my backwardness at the dinner table and many were the meals that I enjoyed while baling, threshing and silo filling.

When I was about sixteen, we boys talked our father into getting an engine plow. We now had a 16 H.P. compound Russell engine. This was a four bottom P. & O. 14' plow with individual bottoms. It worked O.K. in stubble but in sod a couple of the bottoms would break up the sod and leave it rough. The P. & O people finally sent a man to line it up. If I had known then what I later learned it would not have been necessary for the company to have sent a man. I am sending a couple of pictures of the outfit. It was one of the first, if not the first engine plow in central Ohio. (see pictures)

After father died mother made a sale and when the engine was up for bid, junk men were about the only ones bidding. My brother and I ran up the price to about what it was worth and I ended up with an engine. The other machinery seemed to get better offers, so were sold to neighbors.

The next spring I got a 31' Garr-Scott separator and that summer started out on my own. After the first season 'kid like' I decided that I wanted a tractor. (I had to borrow a team and hire a man to haul water). Well, I managed to get a 30-60 Russell and threshed two seasons.

One of the neighbors boys, who had been in the Marines, and I got the wild idea of going to Canada and plowing prairie sod. We made a scouting trip to Manitoba and in Winnipeg met a man from Newark, Ohio who was in the real estate business. He sold us on the idea of shipping the 30-60 to Marquette, Manitoba and getting an 8 bottom prairie plow. We didn't need much selling. They were paying seven to eight dollars per acre and in our imagination we were going to get rich quick. Well, anyone who has had experience with prairie sod probably knows without me saying so, that it was no snap. Getting stuck in the soft sub-soil, getting the buffalo willow raked up like hay under the plow, using 100 gallons of fuel some days and freezing in a tent at night was not just the way we had figured to begin with. Well, we got a lot of experience which is a high priced teacher but a thorough one. It, no doubt, helped me later on as a Service Man, a short time with the Frick Co., seven years with the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co. and about twenty-six years with Massey-Harris (Massey Ferguson).