1121 Hilltop Lane Modesto, Calif.

It is past time that my annual steam report and it will include
some gas engines, too, was being sent in. I did very little
steaming in 1969 didn’t pull a single throttle and in general
steam on the west coast was for the most part, rained out or no
shows held for public.

I will start out with the WSFA bimonthly meeting, which was held
in St. Paul, Oregon, with Mr. and Mrs. Carl Kirsch as the hosts,
the weekend of April 26-27, during which, on Saturday afternoon,
the Kirsch-Herman 75 Holt, newly restored had it’s official
showing for the public and WSFA members alike. It was on display
and operation along with Carl’s 45 Holt and newly restored and
rare Caterpillar Ten in the widegauge model. A few gas engines were
brought in and a model steam traction engine was in operation
around the grounds. Carl put the 75 through her paces out in the
lots behind his home in St. Paul, including the famous ‘front
end rearing’ stunt with the front wheel off the ground. This
tractor came from near Williams, California, was driven onto the
lowboy that hauled it to Carl’s home and then driven off under
it’s own power. When restoration started, it was found that 3
of the 4 cylinder heads required replacement or rebuilding. To the
rescue came Mr. Hobart Corliss, of Trowbridge, Calif. He knew of 4
good Holt 75 cylinder heads, exhaust manifold and first motion
chain that were for sale at a reasonable price. He notified Carl
back came the word to Luy and ship to St. Paul the Holt was on
it’s way a new gasoline tank and radiator shield were made
otherwise tractor was in very good condition. That evening, a
dinner was served to about 105 members and wives in a hall in St.
Paul no one walked away hungry that night!

Over the past year and a half, a friend of mine who moved into
my home area with a nice collection of gas engines had purchased
and nearly restored a 1925 model Sixty Caterpillar tractor since I
had known him for several years and have also been collecting gas
engines, we got together and added some more to the collection. So,
after contacting a number of other interested gas engine collectors
in the state and inviting Tom Graves, of Tigard, Oregon, and F. L.
Williams, of Sebastapol, Calif., and formerly of Cordova, Ill., a
meeting was held at the R. A. Squires farm near Hughson, May 19th,
and Branch No. 6, Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association was

A crowd of about 100 people was present and of course, Glenn
Weagent of Stockton was present with his portable steam electric
generating plant, furnishing juice for the coffee pot and steam for
various model engines. About 35 gas engines were on exhibition and
at least 30 of them were in operation. I had my IHC 3-5 LB engine
belted to a 6-inch IHC burr grinder and the 2-hp KA Stover pulling
the corn sheller and 3 hp ZC F-M engine belted to a rotary water
pump in operation. Corn was shelled and then ground and a nice, old
Famous 4 hp International portable engine was belted to the buzz
saw buzzing up wood during the day at various times. Tom Graves was
keeping the Wade drag saw in operation, and it took a man with 2
pairs of hands and 3 feet to keep up with it! Cliff Hardy, of
Woodland, had his 3 hp Samson, 3 hp Nu-way and 4 hp Cushman upright
belted to his old washing machine all in operation and holding up
well in his own corner. Alton W. Rexin, of Hughson, had a nice 3 hp
Fuller & Johnson newly restored had make and break ignition
with coil and battery and mounted on a 4-wheel truck. This was a
fine looking and running engine. Then there was a number of
Fairbanks-Morse Z of different sizes and models, John Deere 1 hp, a
F & J pump jack engine, Monitor pump jack engine, Stover,
Ideal, Aermotor pump jack engine and many others represented. The
Noeller brothers had a 2-cycle upright California-built engine
forget the make right now, but nicely restored and my
McCormick-Deer-ing 10-20 tractor which is undergoing restoration
was on display as was my 10-inch Letz burr grinder with the nice,
big balance wheel. It is now restored, with new, sharp burrs, coat
of orange paint on hopper and blue paint on pulley, flywheel and
frame. I managed to get all new parts needed from the Letz Company,
through local John Deere dealer and some parts are still available,
if anyone wishes to restore one of these fine old burr grinders. I
hope to use it later this year when the 10-20 is ready to run

June 1st, we again drove to Me. Cloud, Calif., and took the
annual steam train ride behind Prarie type 2-6-2 oil-burning
steamer, last of the once large McCloud Lumber Company’s large
fleet of steam locomotives. I rode the cab of the engine entire
trip of about 100 miles back into the beautiful mountain country
east of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen, well away from any well-traveled
public highways. My wife and boys rode in the train and took
pictures of the various run-bys. I went up to the shop, rode back
with the engine and the friendly crew, and after locking couplers
with the train and making the regular air test, we were again off
on a rare, beautiful trip into the green timber with it’s quiet
solitude, shattered only by the piercing whistle of the locomotive
and the cracking exhausts as they started out, heavy and then
shorter and quicker as the engineer hooked ‘er up with his
reverse lever. I took all water used on the entire trip, which was
the first time I had done this since November of 1956 on a steam
locomotive, and water was taken 3 times during the day, twice from
the same tank and once at another location, where the train stopped
for lunch at noon at Pondosa, a former logging camp that was also a
reload area in the days of steam. Train was turned here on a
balloon track and then headed back to McCloud at Bartol, we backed
up another branch for about 10 miles where we stopped for a picture
of huge and beautiful Mt. Shasta and other surrounding scenery you
have to ride the train to get into this locality for the shot. I
also fired the engine for a while and sanded out the flues as
necessary they had the old sand scoop in the sand box as it should
be. On the return trip to McCloud, we saw deer, a bear and other
game truly a nature’s paradise.

On the way home, we stopped by Corning to look at an
undermounted Avery traction engine owner wasn’t home, but
guessed size of engine to be 18-20 hp. and in fairly good
condition. Loren Wade told me it had been sold at San Jose in 1915,
new and was taken over to Nevada where it stayed until owner died
last year and nephews who inherited brought it to Corning. Hope to
see it operate in the future.

G. A. Humann, of Gerber, held his semi should say bi-annual
model railroad show weekends in May and then had steam threshing
for school children in November I had wanted to help out, but rain
kept me away and very nearly put an end to the whole operation
lucky enough, with Leonard Miller’s help, they finished up in
fine .

Harvey Mikkelson held a get-to-gether for the WSFA members at
his farm near Silverton, Oregon 3rd weekend in August this is his
regular date. The annual WSFA business meeting and threshing bee
usually held with it was held in Winlock, Washington, Aug. 31 –
Sept 1st, if

I have my dates correct. All necessary business was transacted
that came before the meeting with Al Herman being elected President
and the other officers being elected or re-elected as required. The
threshing was rained out completely on Sunday and that ended the
annual meeting. The North Marion County Fair was held in Woodburn,
Oregon Sept. 12-15th and the WSFA members had several steam
engines, a threshing machine and other equipment on display and in
operation. Harvey Mikkelson brought in his 50 Case, 12-36 Russell,
18 Case portable Russell water tank and 22 x 38 McCormick-Deering
separator. Bill James had his 45 and 50 Case present, along with 25
single simple Gaar-Scott. George Walton had his 12 Russell and
Willis Smith had his Westinghouse 15 hp. engine boiler had new
flues in it, and engine was built in 1885. I went up on the train
and stayed with Tom Graves, while helping out with the fair Tom
loaded his 20 hp. Fuller & Johnson on a trailer and took it
over to the fairgrounds but outside of some threshing done on
Friday afternoon, the entire fair was completely rained out. On
Sunday, while Glenn Weagent, who had been there since Friday with
his steam generating plant and keeping things warm during the rain
with his boiler; in fact he was the only steam in operation
continually during whole fair. The fellows fired up their engines
in preparation to loading them on low-boy trailers to move them to
their various homes. They got stuck and Carl Kursch who had his 75
Holt present, hooked onto them and pulled them out that day gas had
the last laugh. Al Herman was also all over the grounds with his 25
Best it was a good situation for the ducks. Oregon’s unusually
wet summer and fall kept the steam threshing down to nearly nothing
in the Willamette Valley.

While at Tom’s, we took a little drive about the country and
he took me by the light plant in McMinnville they had 3 huge
Busch-Sulzer diesel engines coupled to generators both 2 and
4-cycle engines. It was in beautiful condition and the chief
engineer said the whole plant could be brought up to full capacity
in about thirty minutes now it is only maintained for stand-by
purposes. This is the light plant that T. H. Krueger, of San
Antonio, Texas had instruction in while attending school in
Portland years ago.

In October, besides getting a 2 hp. Stover engine restored and
running, R. A. Squires, A. W. Rexin and myself drove up to
Sebastapol one day to see F. L. Williams and pick up a couple of
old gas engines. We had a nice visit with him and his wife he has a
huge collection of just about anything you can think of in steam
and some in gas engine line, too. A few days later, the same
‘three musketeers’, drove up north of Sacramento to the
Corliss farm to pick up my 1 hp. McCormick-Deering gas engine which
he had hauled down from Tom Graves for me. On the way, we stopped
in and saw one of the few complete and original 75 Best crawler
tractors left in operating order. The owner had passed away in June
and grandson said estate would probably sell off the machinery this
spring. We also looked over a 15 hp. Samson gas engine in very good
condition had a very unusual valve operating mechanism, and the
whole engine is fairly large with heavy flywheels. We then
proceeded over to Cliff Hardy’s west of Woodland where we saw
his collection of gas engines and then onto the Fred Heidrick farm
headquarters to see his fine, well-restored collection of about 30
tractors, mostly Best and Caterpillar, with Holt 75, 45 models,
another fine 75 Best, Best 60,40, 25,Holt 45 (without front wheel),
2 ton, orchard and conventional 30 Cat., 10, 15, 22, 28 and a very
nice Oil-Pull light weight about 20-35 size, 6-cylinder Avery,
several Fordsons, cross-motor Case, early Allis-Chalmers and
Monarch crawlers, Bates Steel Mule crawler, McCormick-Deering
10-20, 15-30, Farmall 12, 14, Regular and F-20 models, to mention a
few. Also is restoring a nice 16 Russell traction engine and boiler
was getting new flues at that time. It was quite a day and then
finding two 75 Bests about 30 miles apart besides.

The fall meet of Branch No. 6 EDGTA was again held at the
Squires farm and this time 41 engines turned up about same
equipment in operation as before, and Cliff Hardy added a 25 type H
Y F-M hot head engine and an old 2 hp. International belted to a
line shaft pulling an ancient washing machine and a clothes mangel.
The spring meet will be held at Cliff’s place May 4, 1969 west
of Woodland. Fall meet was held on November 10th.

In December, I went up to Gerber to help Godfrey with his late
fall plowing. So, on the 7-8th, I operated his 1934
McCormick-Deering 22-36 pulling a 3-14 IHC bottom plow, Godfrey was
driving his 1939 IHC TD-35 crawler pulling a 5-14 bottom Little
Genius IHC plow and his son Paul was plowing with a 1923 or 24 Holt
2-Ton crawler pulling a 2-14 Little Genius plow. We laid over quite
a strip of land around the field each trip and this was first time
I had plowed for real in over 20 years but the 22-36, newly
restored ran as only these fine tractors can and did in past years
burned about 3 gallons of gas per hour, but never faltered on the
plow. These old tractors were not taking a back seat to any
modern-day power as far as quality and quantity of work turned out.
Now, he is restoring a 1938 Model D John Deere which will probably
find it’s way into the farming operation in the future.

And, this winds up my year of activity hope more steam in 1969.
Keep up the good work.

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