Farm Collector


Roy Edward Kite, only child of John Elmer and Jane Elizabeth
(Mitchell) Kite, was born August 1, 1904, in Craig, Holt County,
Missouri. Roy moved with his parents to Cheyenne County, Kansas,
March 6, 1907, where they resided on a farm northeast of Bird City.
He joined the Methodist Church in Bird City and remained a member
until his death.

Roy attended school in District 51, known as the Brick school
house, until he entered the 8th grade. He was a member of the
graduating class of 1924 of Bird City Rural High School. The
following year, he attended Kansas Wesleyan University, of Salina
where he completed a business course. He was a member of the
I.O.O.F Lodge 430.

He was united in marriage to Leone Shay at her parents home near
Bird City, December 27, 1931. To this union were born two
daughters, Shirley Lorraine and Beverly Leone.

Roy entered the farm implement business in Bird City in 1926. In
the early years of his business he handled many makes of farm
machinery some of which are now of historical interest — Hart
Parr, Lauson, and Nichols and Sheperd. During the past 23 years,
however, he has held the J. I. Case dealership which will be
continued by the recently formed Underwood Implement Co.

In 1950, he became interested in the preservation of antiquated
farm machinery and was active in the formation of the Antique
Engine and Thresher Association He attended antique steam engine
demonstrations throughout the country and was instrumental in
organizing the local shows that have been held annually since 1953.
At the time of his death he was vice-president of the

After 5 long years of illness, he passed away Thursday morning,
December 17, 1959, in the Cheyenne County Hospital at St. Francis,
Kansas, at the age of 55 years, 4 months and 16 days. Through his
farm implement and Antique Engine Association activities he made
many friends throughout the nation.

Funeral Services were conducted at 2 o’clock Sunday,
December 20, from the Bird City Methodist Church with the Reverend
James R. Holdridge officiating. Services by the I.O.O.F. Lodge were
held at the cemetery. Interment in the Bird City Cemetery.
Arrangements by the Trickett Funeral Home.

(As published in The Bird City Times, Bird City, Kansas,
December 24, 1959)


Mr. Chauncey E. Berkebile, 88 years old, passed to the great
beyond late last year. He lived in Swanton, Ohio, all his life. For
57 years he was Assistant Superintendent at the A. D. Baker Co. He
was a Methodist, Mason and Knights of Pythias. He is buried in the
Swanton cemetery. For years he rode in the first car in the
National Threshers Association Parade Saturday afternoons. A few
years ago he rode on Mr. Green’s 1904 Oldsmobile. He was a
Brother-in-Law of Mr. A. D. Baker. Mrs. Baker was a Berkebile.

A good and interesting friend of our Hobby has gone. I am sure
we are all happy to have known him.


Saturday, January 9th, was a sad day for two Indiana steam
clubs. Chet Modesitt of Indianapolis, charter member and President
of the Indiana Live Steamers Club and a very active member of The
Pioneer Engineers Club, died suddenly of a heart attack.

Visitors at the Pioneer Engineers Reunion at Rushville, Indiana,
several years ago will remember his Merry-go-round that he made and
displayed for all small children to ride. Chet was well known for
the small working model engines he loved to make from his own
designs. He showed these in the exhibit the Indiana Live Steamers
had at the hobby show sponsored by The Indianapolis Star at the
Indiana Fairgrounds every year for a week in November.

Chet was always ready to help anyone with a steam or design
problem and often made intricate parts for other hobbyists. A
family man, only 42 years old, he is survived by his wife Bettie,
two daughters and his parents. His father, Earl Modesitt of Cory,
Indiana, is an old-time thresherman. (Submitted by William Meister,
Treasurer, Indiana Live Steamers Club.)


James N. Smith, 80, whose farmland lies west of Blanchard, Pa.,
on the site where the proposed Blanchard Dam would be built, died
Sunday, November 29, 1959, at the Lock Haven, Pennsylvania,

Mr. Smith celebrated his birthday on Thanksgiving Day. He became
ill shortly thereafter at his farm home, where he lived alone.
Saturday a neighbor took him to Beech Creek to the home of his son,
Victor. His death was a result of a cerebral accident.

Mr. Smith was an old-time thresherman. He began his work at the
turn of the century, using an early type steam outfit. His sons
joined him, and he employed others in later years, as threshing
equipment advanced with modern gasoline engine development. He is
survived by a daughter and three sons and 14 grandchildren.


John McVean of LeRoy, New York passed away on January 12, 1960.
He was a former thresherman and one of Iron-Men’s earliest
subscribers. He was fond of attending the various reunions
(especially the one at Kinzer, Pennsylvania, which he attended this
past year). He was very pleased at the publication of his picture
of his engine in the January-February issue.

  • Published on May 1, 1960
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