How Well I Remember!

| March/April 1993

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  • # Picture 01

RR1 Dutton, Ontario, Can. N0L 1J0

As I sit here reading stories about threshing with steam engines and horses, my mind goes back to my childhood days. I am 39 years old, so steam engines and horses were out of date, but threshing machines and gas tractors were still in use.

How well I remember sitting on my grandfather's knee listening to his recollections of past threshings. My grandfather was Clarence Patterson. He farmed in Dunwich Township, Elgin County, in Ontario. I know he owned tractors and threshing machines prior to 1925, but I can only remember him talking about the new Allis-Chalmers tractor he bought in 1929 to run his McCormick threshing machine. He would do custom threshing for farmers in the area. Grandpa's Allis-Chalmers was one of the largest tractors in the area at that time. The hydro company hired him to pull the hydro towers up into place for a tower line in the area.

My father, Albert Ford, and his brother Ron farmed together in Elgin County. Although they owned land separately, they jointly owned the farm machinery. Among this machinery was a McCormick-Deering threshing machine. I guess it was about a 36' throat. We threshed wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat and timothy.

My job during threshing was to drive the tractors in the field while the men threw the sheaves on the wagon. I started when I was about seven or eight years old (1959 or 60). I was very proud to be a member of the crew and was treated that way most of the time. The tractors I drove at that time were a Minneapolis-Moline, an Avery, an Allis-Chalmers WC, and a 1957 model 950 David Brown (my favorite). My legs were too short for me to reach the clutch on the Avery, so Dad wired a 4' wooden block to the pedal. Even then I almost had to lie down on the seat to use that clutch.

The Minneapolis-Moline was nice to drive because it had a hand clutch but was hard to steer. I liked the brakes on that tractor also because the pedals went up and down instead of away from the operator.


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