HISTORY OF A 110 CASE


| July/August 1981



Case Steam Engine

Original 110 Case steam engine in 1915 plowing on 20 Ranch on the Rosebud.

Forsyth, Montana 59327

It all started when it was shipped to Cartersville, Montana, to a demonstration farm. This was in 1910 or 1911, but I don't know if it was sold to the government or not. It was never used while it was there but it sat alongside a barn for about two years. Dad was threshing about a mile or two from there at the time when the barn burned. It took the paint off the right rear wheel and the flywheel. Not long after the fire, Joe Holtz got the 110 and did contract plowing. It broke sod on the Rosebud flat. It was about 30 miles west of Miles City on Interstate 94. It is now the Clifford Wright Ranch. It did some plowing on the 20 Ranch on Rosebud Creek.

Dad was threshing a couple miles from there at the time. When he finished threshing he was moving to the creek crossing; the 110 was coming the other way and it was to use the same crossing. It was the only crossing in ten miles. It was a race I guess. Well, the 110 got there first, but the engineer got a little to one side and there she stood on her head. Dad unhooked from the huller while they pulled the fire on the 110. Dad hooked on the plow and pulled it back, then hooked on to the 110 Case. He broke a bull pinion on the 25-75 Case. Dad took a team and wagon and went to Forsyth which was about twenty miles. There he wired Billings for a new pinion. Before he left he told them to drain the boiler and tanks and wrap a rope around the flywheel and hook a team on it. He left his men to jack up the 75 Case and take off the wheel and broken pinion. The next morning the new pinion was there. He picked it up and drove back. They had the 110 out with the team and rope and were filling the boiler with water when he got there.

Joe Holtz sold it to a man by the name of Bower who used it for a year or so. Then it was sold to a man by the name of Milligan. He had it moved to Tongue River a distance of about 45 miles. Going up the Rosebud Road it went through a bridge and broke the end off the lower canon bearing. As the story goes it took about two or three days to get it out. Then it went on to Tongue River where it was put on an 18-inch pump. I am not sure how long it ran the pump. I believe it was the early 20s when they quit.

They had left water in the boiler and my brother, Claude rode over horseback and drained it before the weather got cold. It was about eight miles from home through the hills. Then he decided he wanted it because the old 25-75 Case was getting in bad shape. The spokes were stripping out of the hubs on the rear wheels. There was an old 32-110 about 15 miles south of the town of Rosebud that had been abandoned. Claude went and looked at that too. He wanted to see if the cannon bearing would fit and it did, so he went on into Miles City to see Roy Milligan. Roy said he would sell it for $750.00 and Claude said it was too much money so he forgot the idea and the engine sat there until 1934.

My uncle wanted an engine to pump with and my other brother, Paul, who was working for him at the time, told him the 110 would be a good engine. So they went to look at it. The riverbank had washed back so close you couldn't walk around in front of it. It was about 20 feet straight down to the water. They left to find Milligan and told him the 110 was about to go into the river. Milligan told them to take it and pay him whatever he thought it was worth. Next day Paul and my uncle came down in a model B Ford pickup. They got a stacker rope and along with my brother, Floyd, my dad and myself, (yes, I got to go too) we went to look it over. We got there and looked things over all the while wondering if any movement might make it cave off. They wrapped the rope around the flywheel and hooked on the model B. My uncle was driving. The old flywheel went to turning and the engine moved back about four feet. The pickup hit the end of the rope; the rear wheels came plum off the ground. We were pretty happy it didn't cave off. They kept wrapping the flywheel pulling it until we got it back about sixty feet. There was a coal bunker lid on the smoke stack with a brand new clutch pinion on it for weight. In moving it back it was just about to fall off when we noticed it. Paul and Floyd were looking it over to see what all had to be done. Most all of the pipes were gone. About half of the spokes were gone from the left rear wheel; the boiler jacket was hanging loose. Claude had taken the whistle and safety valve so the brass hunters wouldn't get them.