Farm Collector


When that customer requested permission to go to St. Mary, I
thought, probably, I had made a mistake by taking him. It proved
otherwise. He greatly assisted me on that sale as he seemed to know
what to say and when to say it. During the succeeding fifteen
years, he went with me many times. In 1919 he went with me to see a
prospect at Sylvan Grove. Kansas weather, at times, is warm and
humid. As the pressure was gently applied, large beads of
perspiration were visible on the prospect’s forehead. We sold,
for cash, a 36-56 steel separator, fully equipped. The customer who
went with me that day was a man in whom people had confidence. I
once told him, after closing the sale, ‘He had been in the
wrong business. Sales was where he belonged.’ His going with me
on a sale, was a good omen.

During my work on sales on the Salina Block, I enjoyed the
confidence and friendship of many customers and dealers. The first
customer to whom I sold Advance machinery in 1903 did no shopping?
during the 20 succeeding years he operated machinery. He bought two
Advance separators, one Avery, one Nichols and Shepard, from me. He
was not alone in that. In looking back I wonder why that came
about. It was not because of my good work on sales. Neither was it
because of the machinery I sold, as I had sold some of them
machinery made by as many as three different companies. Many good
machines other than the ones I sold, were made. As I look back in
the evening twilight of my life, I sometimes wonder what I did to
merit the confi dence and friendship of those men.

I do not wish nor intend to write anything which will take
anything from any of those friends, which so rightfully belonged to
them. However, among those friends were two outstanding ones. It
was not easy to determine which was closer. Both were ten years
younger than I. Twenty years ago one of them suddenly passed on. As
I walked by the other to the graveside, I said to him, ‘This is
getting close to us. Who will be next,’ The answer required
eight years. It was not the one many things indicated it would be.
He and I keenly felt the loss of that friend. That friend’s
going, if it were possible, drew us closer together.

Mt. Calvary Cemetery is located on a hill in Salina about a mile
east of the Smoky Hill River. Gypsum Hill Cemetery, a Protestant
cemetery, lies adjacent to it on the south. Marymount College, for
girls, is located north across the road or Iron Avenue. That
structure is magnificient. Students enroll at Marymount from many
parts of the United States. The Smoky Hill River, flowing in its
winding course, flows into Salina from the south. Salina is a City
of 24,000. It is a city of good homes and beautiful trees. In the
spring the foliage is heavy and dark green. The city lies mostly to
the northwest, large flour mills, many cement storage tanks and St.
John’s Mil itary School are seen in the distance. As you look
west the United Life Building, school building and churches are
visible. Sacred Heart Church with its spire pointing toward the
heavens is located at Ninth and Iron Avenue. Sacred Heart Cathedral
is under construction near it. Fine residential districts, Kansas
Wesleyan University, and a $1,000,000 high school building lie to
the southwest and south. Country Club Heights, with its luxurious
homes, is to the east.

When the , sluggish Smoky Hill River is aroused from its
lethargy by heavy rains, its wild torrents become engines of
destruction. I witnessed the damaging flood of 1903, the equally
disastrous one of 1951, and several lesser floods
‘sandwiched’ between them. The muddy turbulent water of the
Smoky Hill caused much destruction but the people were undaunted.
They returned to their homes, cleaned and rebuilt them and a more
beautiful Salina arose from the ruin.

The principal in this sketch lived his entire life near Salina.
When 15 years old, through the death of his father, he became the
head of the family, consisting of the stepmother, a brother, three
sisters and two young halfbrothers. With horses and mules he
plowed, harrowed, drilled and harvested the crops produced in 320
acres of land and paid the indebtedness, proving of what metal he
was made.

After he bought the Advance machinery and had taken it home, I
drove out one Sunday to give the machinery a final checkup, before
he began operating it. It had been used as a sample and was well
adjusted. It was my desire to see him off to a good start.

The 26 HP. read mounted compound Advance engine with Cab,
Jacket, brass bands around the waist of the boiler and ‘Banner
Boy’ Trade Marks stenliled on water tanks and coal box, was a
proud appearing engine. The well built, finely finished separator,
was a fit companion.

The machinery was near the house. I was alone with it. The
Stepmother quietly approached, looked at me in a motherly way,
spoke gently and said, ‘You must not mistreat Ed. He is a good
boy’. With those remarks, she returned to the house. That was
in 1911. I have not for gotten her softly spoken words. Her
statement more nearly appraised his qualities than a volume written
by me. ‘She was a wonderful mother.’

He was honest, his character above reproach and faithful to his

Our friendship began the day we rode Union Pacific Train No. 104
from Salina to St. Mary. The ties of friendship grew stronger as
the years fled. I was near when what may have been the happiest
moment of his life and stood by him in his hour of greatest sorrow.
He stopped to see me many times as he returned from early Church
Services and other places. The last Sunday morning he was permitted
to attend church services, he stopped as he went home. On the cold
New Year’s morning of 1940, I drove to see him. As I drove into
the yard, he was getting into his car. He said, ‘I must go to
church. I will be seeing you.’ Those were his last words to me.
I admired him for what he was. There is no forgetting. Neither do I
wish to forgot. And now, in the still hours of the night and in my
dreams, visions of him come to me. His tragic death and coming in
the time of my life, it came, did not lessen the tension.

And in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, with the rippling water of the
Smoky Hill River flowing at the foot of the hill, nearly circled by
the City of Salina, with its fine homes and beautiful trees, among
his People, he sleeps the sleep Eternal and may the Lord, whom he
so faithfully served, have bless Edward J. Streckfus.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1952
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