High Winds, Hard Cider and Lignite Coal

| March/April 1973

1511 Iglehart, St. Paul, Minn. 55104

I enjoy hearing people relate their experiences with steam engines and steam threshing. So it is always a pleasure to drop in for a visit with Mr. Ralph C. Truax of 2214 Marshall Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota.

In 1914, he became employed as a steam engineer at the Truax and Thayer lignite coal mine at Noonan, North Dakota.

During the summer fallowing season it was the custom to plow strips around fields of grain as a safeguard against prairie fires. Large gas tractor outfits were used. He ran an Aultman and Taylor outfit.

When the threshing season came, it was sometimes interrupted by 40 mile per hour winds, causing them to quit threshing. Sometimes on these occasions, the crew would get into town. No liquor was allowed in North Dakota, although much was bootlegged. So when the crew arrived in town, they found hard cider on tap at the pool halls. If they drank too much, they were soon laying on the floor, completely out.

Rain or snow as well as the winds that came strong enough to take a man off his feet, were at least favorable to the pool hall operators who kept a supply of hard cider on tap, which had been shipped in from the Twin Cities.