‘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
‘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.’
We regret the mixup, and thank Mr. Gerken for setting the record