History of THRESHING In Freeborn County


| March/April 1958



Mr. Fred W. Schmidt, 1390 N. Albert St., St. Paul 13, Minnesota, sends us this interesting bit of history. It was taken from 'The Community Magazine' of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Fred got the permission from that magazine to use it in the IRON-MEN ALBUM MAGAZINE. We thank brother Fred very much Elmer

I LIVED ON A FARM north west of Freeborn village the first 16 years of my life; and of course, the first threshers I heard about were owned by men in that part of the county. Mr. Charles F. Leonard was one of the first of them and started with a horse power machine at least sixty years ago. He and Mr. George Scott owned and operated this machine from about 1875 to the year 1883, when Mr. Leonard left Freeborn and moved to North Dakota. While there, he continued to thresh and probably with a steam outfit. He returned to Freeborn in 1888 and a year or two later bought a steam rig in partnership with a neighbor, Willard Coon.

Later Mr. Masse Peterson purchased an interest in the machine, and with Mr. Leonard at the engine and Mr. Peterson at the machine, the outfit became in great demand each fall. The machine was hand fed and perhaps a twin sister to the Lenz and Eberhard machine used around Albert Lea at about the same time.

Leonard and Peterson also dug wells and were often called into the Kiester-Bricelyn territory for that purpose; and in as much as threshing machines of any kind were not too plentiful, they soon were being called there to thresh because a steam rig was quite an improvement over the horse powered machines.

Grain was always put into stacks at that time; and as the men also owned a clover huller, their work lasted until snowfall some years.

The engine was a J. I. Case, a return flue job and a straw burner. There were other steam outfits in the Kiester-Bricelyn territory and some of them were having trouble pulling up the hills that were found there. One day the machine was headed for one of those hills when a farmer came running across the field waving for them to stop. They were advised to turn around for he declared the engine could never make the hill top for the front wheels would be lifted off the ground when only part way to the top. Mr. Leonard only laughed and informed the man to watch them for a few minutes and see one go to the top without any trouble.