1429 Benton Street, Alemeda, California
I enjoy the old steam engines and pictures in the ALBUM, as well as the stories written by those who know and remember the steam and gasoline threshing years. I did custom threshing until the fall of 1926, which was my last season. After that I 'run' Reeves, Case and Aultman-Taylor steamers on gravel crushers and timber projects. I run my last steamer (a Reeves cross-compound 25 hp.) during the fall of 1930 on a rock crusher and then run the engine 'stiff clearing land for an airport at West Yellowstone, Montana.
I sincerely hope you can have a most complete write-up on the Reeves Engines and the Reeves Company very soon, and I truly suggest in the September issue of THE IRON-MEN ALBUM, for profound sentimental reasons.
I was ever partial to the Reeves engines, expressly the double simples, of which I understand they built a size 16 hp., a 25 hp., and a size 32 hp. I worked in a J. I. Case Agency while living in Montana and found their engines and threshers to be economical and easy to operate.
I am enclosing picture of a Reeves double simple that I obtained from my aunt in Wisconsin. Five (5) people including my father, purchased the engine, thresher and prairie sod breaker in St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnsota in April 1909 and they all took up homesteads at Rhame, North Dakota. They left Hixon, Wisconsin during April 1909 and my father and my uncle George Smart returned to Wisconsin that fall after the flax was harvested. Dad and Uncle George sold out to the Hanson's and never went back to North Dakota. I looked up the Reeves and the Hanson' at Rhame during February 1924 and Clarence Hanson showed me the engine (it was like new condition, but Clarence was using gasoline power then). The engine had run less than a hundred miles after installation of a complete set of new gears. I planned upon buying it at the time, but my father in Wisconsin, arid the owner of the Case Agency in Montana, where I worked, talked me out of my supreme wish to own the Reeves engine, as Mr. Clarence Hanson was the only person who had run the engine, and he was an expert steam tractor engineer. In the picture, Clarence is on the side tank and my uncle George Smart is sitting by the driver wheel. The man by the front wheel is a relative of the Hanson's and the man standing with arms folded is a Mr. Packarnigg of Taylor, Wisconsin, I believe.
I went through Rhame, North Dakota on my way to Wisconsin last August, but could find no trace of the engine, or anyone who knew what became of it. Some think it was steamed up and taken south in the Dakota and is still threshing, while others feel it suffered the junk dealer's cutting torch during World War II (Heaven help the culprit who cut it up for scrap if I ever catch up to him).
I hope the picture will find a fitting place in your enjoyable IRON-MEN ALBUM, and no doubt in September 1959 it will be just 50 years (a half century) since the picture was taken, nor had they threshed yet, as the straw rack is empty and the main drive belt is lying over the front axle Ah memories! If I could but listen to the friendly hiss of steam once again and feel the responsive surge of smooth power when I open the throttle valve in that indescribable manner known only to those who experienced the glorious feeling of operating and growing up with the faithful old steamers.