P.O. Box 1605 Fairbanks, Alaska 99707
To my knowledge only three of these Best steamers were built,
all three owned by the Guy brothers.
They contracted harvesting. There were no fences between ranches
in those days, so they would harvest everyone’s grain at the
same time. They would start out, make one round, and that would
take all day. They would cut that field out, then start another.
Each farmer would pick up the sacks on his ranch and some of those
ranches were so big, they had several fields this size.
These pictures were taken on the west side, out of Tracy and
Stockton, California, on some of the old Miller and Lux holdings.
They had thousands of acres of land from old Spanish grants.
Back to the steamers, I don’t know what their HP was, but as
you can see they were good size. I only saw them once about 1923 or
1924. I was three or four years old, and it was about that time
they caught on fire and burned, harvesters, tractors, and the barn.
My parents drove us out there the next day in our model T Ford and
all that was left was a smoking pile of iron.
The picture of the three steamers with ore wagons was taken at
Milton, California. They had a contract hauling copper ore from
Copperopolis, California to Milton, California, where it was loaded
on the train and taken to the Bay area to the smelters.
The roads were dirt, and they told me the dust would get about a
foot deep and would run like water in front of the wheels.
I’m not a writer or I could make a five page story out of
this. I hope you readers will enjoy the pictures of my grandfather,
John Benefiel, and others on these pages.
John Benefiel was my grandfather. Will Benefiel, his brother, is
holding the coffee pot. Gib Collier was my great-grandfather. The
engine in this picture was used at the saw mill when they
weren’t threshing. Picture was taken around Lake View,
I don’t know who is in this picture it was with my
great-grandmother’s pictures. It must have been taken around
Lake View, Oregon.