Courtesy of Edward Knapple, Star Route, Box 21, Lexington, Nebraska 68850 Our threshing rig, taken on the Haas Bowen farm in the twenties (see story). Case engine and Case separator.
Star Route, Box 21, Lexington, Nebraska 68850
As it is about time to renew my subscription to the 'Iron-Man' I thought I would write a few lines from this part of the country. I came here in 1897 at the age of one and one half years. I can still remember going to the south east corner of our section and cutting across the prairie to the town of Lexington, formerly Plum Creek, in central Nebraska near the Platte River and on the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad. Arriving here just after the great grasshopper plague in ninety-four, things were not very good for some time, but that year the farmers organized and dug the Dawson County Irrigation Canal, which was used to irrigate some of the land, but along in July the river would go dry and that would be the end of irrigation for that year.
In the early twenties I started farming the home place, raising wheat, corn, oats and alfalfa. As Machines were not too plentiful, neighbors organized a threshing run and advanced their threshing bill in order to buy a big machine. A local implement company had a Case factory rebuilt engine Number 13686 and a 32-54 Case steel separator. Having had no actual experience before, we fired up on a Saturday, drove it home, seven miles, and on Monday we were threshing.
The grain was rather light that year, and it was a good thing as we never had to shut down on account of power. The next year the grain was. good and the machine was paid for and some left over. We run this rig thirteen seasons, winding up in thirty-four using a 20-40 Rumley for power as the flues in the Case were leaking, and no one wanted to haul coal, threshing fire weeds and short corn, to winter cattle on, as this was a bad drought year. Next came the small combines and after a few years small grain was not raised in the valley as everyone turned to alfalfa, with the dehydrators taking over. At the present time, in Dawson County, there are twenty four dehydrator companies with fifty seven ovens, making pellets, using automatic steam boilers burning natural gas.
We are not short of irrigation water anymore since the Tri-County System was built with its many man made lakes, together with approximately 2500 irrigation wells in Dawson County, receiving power from the four hydro-plants and one large steam plant, competing in cost about on a par with hydro power.
In the Twenties our rural Buffalo Grove Presbyterian Church, issued a call to a young minister from the east, and being twelve miles from town, he purchased a model T Ford. All went well until the weather turned cold, and one morning the car refused to start. He called his neighbor to help him start it. As the neighbor was doing his chores, he suggested that he jack up a wheel before cranking it, and he would come to help when he finished choring if it hadn't started by then. When he went over later he found the minister had jacked up both front wheels. He said it didn't seem to help jacking up one wheel so he tried two. He had a good laugh before explaining that the back wheel was the one to jack up.