Route 2, Box 2485, Caldwell, Idaho 83605
It seems that whenever there was a job that nobody else wanted
or could handle, people were after Dad to give it a try. I remember
a time when a man named Thompson came to him to drive a
‘horsepowered’ threshing machine. It was on what is now
known as the Skinner Ranch, but was known as the Skinner and
Thompson Ranch in those days.
They had been trying for days to get their teams to work. It was
a 14 HP rig, and I guess none of the horses had ever worked on that
type machine before. They had already broken out two or three
sweeps and the men were about ready to give up. However, there was
a man working for them who had helped us hay and he said, ‘Why
don’t you go over to Cow Creek and get little Frank? He’ll
get that team to work.’ And, that is what they did.
Dad said it didn’t take too long to find out what the
trouble was. Some of the horses were fast and others were slow. The
teams worked on an equalizer chain so they all had to pull at the
same speed, or the system would not work. If one team went too
fast, they’d come to the end of the chain and that would break
Dad started by tying back some of the horses so they could only
go so far. He said some of the horses had been ‘monkeyed
with’ so much that they didn’t want to go at all. It took
half a day to get them going.
To start one of those rigs, the horses had to lean into the
collar and take short steps. It then took five or ten minutes to
get the separator going. In order to start at all, the men would
roll the belt and start the machine by hand. Then the horses would
start leaning into the collar, but it had to be done very
After they finally got up enough speed and grain went to hitting
the cylinder, the horses wanted to run away. After the teams had
worked together for a few days and had gotten the hang of it, Dad
said almost anybody could drive them. But he stayed with them about
ten days then turned it over to a new driver.