Farm Collector


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,

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

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.

  • Published on Sep 1, 1959
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