Photo Mixup In Gerken Family History


| January/February 1991



Water Hauler

'This picture was taken in July, 1919 on my fathers nephew's farm here east of Humboldt, Kansas, Mr. John Mueller's farm. My father, H.C. Gerken, is seen standing on the engine platform holding his hat. Mr. Fred Hattenstein, the water hauler, is standing behind him. My uncle, L.F. Gerken, is standing with his hands on his hips at the far left end of the picture. Three Mueller brothers are standing at the front end of the separator: Jake standing next to the separator, John standing next to him, and brother Martin standing next to John. As you may notice, this is the year with the Ruth feeder on the separator.' Photo courtesy of Junior Gerken.

In our last issue of Iron Men Album, November/December 1990, we ran an account of the Gerken Family of Kansas' history in the threshing business (pages 16-18, and back cover).

The centerspread photo we used was misidentified. Junior Gerken wrote the following to correctly describe that scene.

'His photo was taken in the middle to late 1890's. The separator was a Nichols and Shepard 'Red River Special,' and as you will notice, the picture was taken before the days of the straw blower (stacker). You will also notice two men standing beside the separator with half-bushel measures in their hands. They measured the grain by hand as there were no mechanical grain weighers at that time'.

'The steam engine was a 10 HP Nichols and Shepard, serial number 1003. I still have the wooden metal lined auxiliary water tank that you see in front of the smoke stack, with the cast iron serial number name plate still on it. I also still have the heavy cast iron front wheels. Dad said it had a wooden front axl.'

'Standing on the engine platform: first, my grandfather with the full beard, then my father, H.C. Gerken, beside him. Next, my uncle (Dad's oldest brother), L.F. Gerken on the seat of the water wagon just in front of the engine, holding the reins to the team hitched to the wagon. I remember this much from what Dad said. I cannot identify any further.'