WAS CERTAINLY INterested to see the picture of the vertical
Westinghouse engine in the last issue of the ALBUM, because I saw
that outfit along the trail between Miles City and Cohagen when I
was driving through there from Miles to my homestead 12 miles
southwest of Cohagen on Little Dry Creek.
I was traveling in the 1914 Model T shown in the picture
Sorry I do not remember what year it was, but must have been
1916 or later as we bought that car in the summer of 1916, after we
had bought a used outfit consisting of a 30-60 Old Reliable
Hart-Parr, a 32-54 Red River Special separator, an 8-14 bottom John
Deere plow with both stubble and sod bottoms and a 7′
We operated as Bontreger and Boutelle, starting in the fall of
’15, threshing around Bloomfield, Montana.
In the spring of ’16 we plowed about 500 acres of both old
and new ground around Bloomfield and then threshed around there in
the fall until after we had zero weather with a snow storm.
In the spring of ’17 we plowed around Bloomfield until near
June, then drove the complete outfit to our homestead, a distance
of 125 miles across the divide between the Yellowstone and Missoura
It took us a week because we got caught in a heavy rain and had
to wait several days before the ground was again solid enough so we
Not many bridges then and we had to ford the small streams.
I remember coming up one creek bank the drivers dug in and we
were stuck. We had a cedar log for just such cases and tied it
across in front of the drivers to lift the tractor out of the hole,
but it was in so deep that when we pulled the clutch in, the front
end would raise up.
We also had a length of heavy cable so dug a hole about four
feet deep and about 30 feet in front of the tractor, stuck the
cedar log in there and looped the center of the cable around the
log which we called a Dutchman, and fastened each end of the cable
to a driver after passing it over the front axle, then when we
pulled the clutch in the cables held the front end down and the Old
Reliable pulled itself out. Then we used a long chain and pulled
the rest of the machinery through the creek.
Since this was about 70 miles from a railroad and town of any
size we often had to do things to keep the wheels rolling that you
would not think of doing here and now.
For instance, on this same Ford we once burned out a connecting
rod bearing while away out of town. Crankshaft bearing on a Model T
is 1 and three-sixteenths inches but all I could find was a piece
of 11/8′ shaft. I took the piston and connecting rod out,
cleaned it good, mudded it good, ready for pouring. I had some
extra babbit, so I built a sage brush fire and melted the babbit in
my frying pan that I regularly used to fry my eggs and potatoes.
Had to scrape and dress the bearing down until it fitted the 1 and
three-sixteenths inch shaft nicely and the Model T ran O.K. for
several months before we replaced it with a standard part, in fact
I made a vacation trip over to Minot, North Dakota with that rod
in, just before I enlisted in the Army in August ’17.
While I was in the Army in France I helped to thresh some wheat
but that is another story that I wrote about in a former issue
several years ago.
Mr. Peterson mentions an Avery separator but the Yellow Fellow
of that time was an all wood frame machine with a long steel tube
from the blower pipe down to the frame and it looks like a Case in
Started threshing in 1905 and did not miss until 1925 except the
two years that I spent in the Army and even then had about an hour
in France one evening.