MEMOIRS


| November/December 1959



A Cole an steam engine

WHAT THEY SAW AND WHAT THE FOUND. A Cole an steam engine which Mr. Brant bought in Kansas and had to clear the timber to move the engine. It is No. 322 and seems to be in extra good condition.

R. R. 5, Box 47, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa

(This is part III)

On our way home I talked it over with Bob, and we decided to get Roy to contact Mr. Petit and see if he still wanted to trade it on Case machinery. He did. This entailed a trip in March of 1957 to Tonkawa, a thorough examination of the engine, and a meeting between Roy Kite, Mr. Petit and us. We got to within a couple hundred dollars of each other, but hadn't got together when we had to leave for home. After we left, Roy Kite made the plunge and traded for it, thinking if I would refuse it, that maybe he could dispose of it to someone else. He closed the deal with Mr. Petit, only to find that the particular tractor Mr. Petit wanted was temporarily out of production. It was 8 months before I heard anything more, and winter setting in, however, I finally bought it. I arranged twice during the winter to go for it, but each time the weather broke.

As the spring of 1958 wore on and March was part gone, I realized that if we didn't get it soon we would have to wait until fall, as work on the farm here would soon be starting, and we would be tied down until after harvest. I learned they were having lots of rain in north Oklahoma and I tried to contact Mr. Petit, but got no answer so I wrote Roy Kite. He told me he had grave doubts about being able even to load it, as fields and lots were full of water. He put me in touch with Lyman Knapp of Black-well, Oklahoma. Mr. Knapp sent me a postcard everyday for about two week send every day it was rain, or the promise of it. Finally on the 6th or 7th of April his card said it had not rained for a couple of days; and the weather report was fair for a day or two more. So Bob and I started out on a Saturday with our little 1 ton truck for Tonkawa, the lo-boy to follow on Monday. In the afternoon in Missouri, we ran into rain. We took the Kansas turnpike on Sunday A. M., and got to Wellington, Kansas that evening. Rained most of the way.

On Monday morning, before going on to Tonkawa we drove out to the farm of Mr. Charles Boyer. Mr. had a 20 hp. regular Avery Under-mounted in his lot, and I thought I might be able to buy some parts missing on my 40. We got him out of bed. But, while I could not induce him to sell me the parts, we found him to be a wonderfully pleasant and kindly man, and not at all upset because we roused him from sleep on a damp, chilly cloudy morning. He also is a bachelor, and the last of his family. After visiting with him for a half hour we drove on to Blackwell and hunted up Mr. Knapp's home. He had wanted to accompany us to Tonkawa to help us get the engine out, but we found him gone. Mrs. Knapp said he had, been looking for us, and would be home later in the day. So we drove on to Tonkawa, engaged rooms at the Smithville Motel, then drove on to the Petit farm and the engine.

This time again there was no one to meet us, not even the dog. But the engine was there, and also water and mud everywhere. We had to put on chains to get the truck into the lot. Our first task, as you can see by picture was to remove the boards, chunks, iron, old tires, etc., that surrounded it and was stacked against it. This took considerable time. Then we oiled up and worked the stuck parts loose, then wrapped a rope around the flywheel and pulled it with the truck, limbering up the engine, until the truck mired in the mud even with chains on.