Fun on the Threshing Rig

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Scene of the Threshing Bee held at the Slattery Bros. farm near Spearville, Kansas, September of 1958. The engine is a 1911 Case 45 hp. running a 32x54 Case separator. Mr. E. C. (Big Mac) McMillan of Hoisington, Kansas at the throttle. Engine owned by S
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One-half scale of the Aultman & Taylor Dixie and one-half scale Case 20-60 engine built by L. K. Wood. The picture was taken at the Centennial Parade. May 2nd, 1959
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F. L. Williams on the left, Frank Van Altvorst of 4412-7th Ave., Rock island, Illinois on the right, pictured with the 5 bore and 4 stroke engine. This cylinder ran the Coyote back in the 90's. It was made by Mr. William's father who also built the entire

Savannah, Georgia

AS I DRIVE THROUGH the country and see one man combining or
baling, I remember how plentiful help was when we had a Threshing
Run. Most every family had from one to a half dozen grown boys and
every one traded work and would bring along two or three of the
boys for good measure, no mention of pay being made. They were glad
to help for their dinners and what fun they could have, and they
usually had some, one way or another.

I remember one old fellow who had bought a new Ford car Being
over 50 years old before he had ever rode in a car, let alone drive
one, hence he was not too good a driver and in those days they
would put the car back in the garage soon as they re-turned never
leaving it out all night, let alone all the time as they do now.
Also at threshing time it meant a trip into town for ice and fresh
meats as they had no refrigerators as today. This old fellow would
forget and push on the low gear pedal instead of the brake, hence
he knocked out the end of the garage a couple of times. He devised
a way to prevent this so he thought, as he proceeded to set a big
post back away from the entrance and had the local blacksmith make
him a big iron hook which he hooked over the back axle and
purchased a big heavy rope and measured it out so when his car was
in the right place in the garage the rope would stop the car.
However, the rope was a bit longer than needed and he wound it
around the post rather than cut it off. While he was gone to town
for meat and ice one of the boys suggested they should lengthen the
rope so when he had returned and unloaded his stuff, he goes to put
the car away and pulls the gas and spark down so not to kill his
engine and hooks on his rope. All eyes were on him, but no one in
sight. There was a loud crash and the air turned blue. At dinner he
comes in, looks all around and say: ‘Which one you TAM devils
lengthened out my rope?’ But no one seemed to understand, so he
said, ‘You don’t need to act like you don’t know what
you do know.’

Another funny one was an old fellow who had a new rubber-tired
buggy. He came to where we were threshing to see when the machine
would be at his place, also to engage help. Well, he came at
dinnertime and of course had to stay for dinner, him and his wife.
Well this buggy had real high rear wheels and low front wheels.
Someone suggested they should trade the wheels around and luck was
with them, as there was a wrench in the buggy. When they were ready
to go home after dinner, he had to help his wife in the buggy as
the step was three feet off the ground and when they got in and
leaned back they were almost lying down with the rims between his
knees and as he drove away he said ‘What the his the matter
with this buggy?’ and if you didn’t laugh you needed a
doctor, but no doubt he soon found out as it took 40 acres to turn
around in.

Well, I guess it wouldn’t be fair not to tell one on myself.
We were threshing for a fellow who lives up the road a mile who had
a big job for this country. He promised if the boys would get
through the following evening he would get a keg of beer so they
all pitched in and was finishing the following evening as he
promised he had the keg of ice cold beer. Well, most of the crew
stayed until late. Two bundle haulers got in a race going up the
road north and created quite a lot of excitement. We had a team of
Bronco horses on the water wagon that would work but refused to be
ridden, so the water boy started to lead them home. I was pretty
full of beer and inclined to show off a bit, so I up and says,
‘Why walk when we got horses to ride,’ so I jumped on one
of them with a big yell which scared the horse and go it running so
it wouldn’t start bucking. Well, I made that mile in a seconds
time as they say a Bronco can outrun a coyote or walk all day in a
half bushel. I was so intent on keeping it running I forgot what
would happen when I got home. We went right on through the gate,
busted every board in a dozen pieces and the old pony slid the last
100 yards to the barn. I managed to get off in fairly good grace.
It would have been alright, but the man who furnished the beer was
sort of worried as he wanted no one hurt. Having a car he drove
down to see if all was OK and saw the gate, so I got the h heckled
out of me for the next several days and when it comes to heckling.
some were experts, women included Especially at mealtimes some one
would say ‘Pass Buffalo Bill the meat’ or maybe it would be
‘Pass Paul Revere the potatoes as he might ride again
tonight.’ I sure was glad when it died down.

Well, if I had my choice to take my life over again as of now or
as it was then, I would still rather it was like then. We
didn’t work too hard as we had plenty of help and when one does
something today, he mostly has to do it himself or pay high wages
for what help he can get, and we had lots of fun also.

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