Farm Collector


of 714 Rand Ave., Oakland, California, comes up with an interesting piece and a request. Let us see what we know about Ancient steam history

‘Jenny’, wood burning; steam traction  engine that started mining; and then was sold to a logging outfit who changed it over to rail hauling’ by doing’ some blacksmithing’ on the wheels. It has now been gathered into the Museum at Angels camp, some 50 miles above Stockton, Calif., in the famed Gold Rush area of pioneer days. The vague and seemingly unproved pedigree as gathered up and handed out by the Museum operator gives these data:

‘Boiler made in, Scotland by Babcock Wilson Company; wood burner carrying 180 lbs. steam. Built as a tractor by what is now the J. I. Case Co. First used for years in a mining operation at Placerville. Purchased in the 90’s by N. A. and .J. K. McKay, who took it to Angels Camp. At McKay’s saw mill on Love Creek where at the Blacksmith Shop it was changed in a logging locomotive. Casting’s made by D. D. Demarest Cr., at Altaville. Jenny’s work days ended in 1904.’

So, who can hang some names and dates on it that will stand up without question? Mr. B. B. Brown, who put in a lifetime with steam threshers and tractors since his boyhood days in Missouri, says he will bet its an Owens, Lane and Dyer. That famous old Hamilton, Ohio, and St. Louis manufacturer who began sending; its steam engines to California for threshers as early as 1869. according to the California Farmer. They were advertising then in that farm paper by 1875. If it is British, John Mullet of England or E. R. Potter of Saskatoon should peg it. It has had several changes, one can easily see–wheels, smoke stack, etc.


Here is that old steam engine that has been standing around the old logging, camps up above Stockton for years with no visitor being able to put a name or date on it. So, the local folks up there got a ‘museum’ started recently and gathered the old steamer into its collection as the chief attraction. I haven’t been up to see it yet. Have promised B. B. Brown, who does know a lot of early steamers from being an Advance Rumely and Aultman-Taylor ‘expert’ in his Canadian days, to go up to look it over carefully for some clues as to who, what, when, etc. Note ‘facts’ the museum director sent down. I don’t take anybody’s word on these pedigrees until I see the proof and then check and double check. Hence you might find some of your readers could give a tip or two on this one. I’d guess Potter at Saskatoon and Mullet in England could immediately settle this question on the ‘Scotch’ boiler.

It will interest you to know that E. L. Larimore, formerly of Robinson, Ill., has moved to 502 S. Van Buren Street, in Newton, Ill. Larimore is one of the most genial fellows you ever met. You can’t read his writing but you can understand him. We expect to raid his Deep Freeze this Fall–.

Another Case where ‘Gas Rivals’ are out- A 25-85 Nichols and Shepard No. 13029 owned by Sylvester Moore, Harris, Minn., and used in distilling of mint plants for Mint Oil Courtesy of Gilmer Johnson of Frederic, Wis., who says, mint grows like weeds on this low peet soil. In the picture, Sylvester is standing and Gilmer’s nephew is on the engine. This picture was taken June, 1950

  • Published on Sep 1, 1951
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