Being this is a real March day I am going to write a few lines of ray lifes history with machinery. I was born June 9, 1894 at Douds Iowa, and the next year my father bought a 12 H. P. Peerless Engine with wood front wheels and wood spokes in the rear wheels- and a Peerless Separator. But before I got old enough he traded and got a 32-52 Nichols Sheppard with hand feed, Satley Stacker, and Peoria Weigher.
When the year of 1907 rolled a round father says to mother I am going to put Raleigh on the engine this fall. And was that music to my ears. Father goes over to our neighbor, Ruban Johnson, and ask if his son Grant would haul water. Grant is a little older than I and he is the only one left.
Grant stayed on for three years. We got along that first year pretty good. As soon as father would get the holes dug to level the machine I would pull it in and he pulled the pin and I took the engine and Grant the belt. I must say that old Peerless was the easiest engine to put in the belt I ever handled. It had a wonderful brake. Just push it down with your left foot and the engine stayed right there. You had to slide the gear pinion in and out of gear. So I learned to handle an engine without a clutch.
On December 8, 1912 I lost my mother and that was a hard blow to all of us. I got one sister and three brothers. My youngest brother was only one year old. I am seven years the oldest.
At the close of the 1914 threshing season I went out on my own. Harold Stump, a cousin of mine, cut timber all that winter. The fall of 1915 I ran a 13 H. P. Nichols-Shepard side mounted single engine pulling a Russell Separator. A wetter fall I never saw. The shocks looked like green pasture.
In the fall of 1916 I took job running a 20-60 Case to pull a 36-56 Case Separator for Ran Snider here in my home town today. Mr. Snider had two outfits 22.65 36-56 and an older 25-70 on a 40-62 Separator, all Case. When the day came to start threshing my Separator man didn't show up, and the bad part was that he was Mr. Sniders son-in-law. So I gets on my motorcycle and goes hunt for this man Stump and when I found him I told him I had to have him to fire that 20 Case.
Harold Stump's father was a threshing machine and saw mill man and also a brother to my mother.
We got another boy to haul water and that made what you would call a all boy gang, but we didn't do so bad. We made the boss more money than the other outfit with all hired help.
I stayed with this old gentleman through three threshing seasons. As soon as the grain was all through the boss would give me his new engine which was the 22-65 and I would go to filling silos. There was a run of them, sixteen in all, close to Libertyville. I filled this run for a round twelve years. After silo work I would pull hedge. Some call it Osage Orange. I pulled one and one half mile for one man.
Then in November of 1918, I got married and we have had a happy life.
Long about Christmas time of 1918 I went to Bushnell, Ill. and bought a 20 h.p. Wood Brothers and a 32-52 all wood Advance machine. After one of breaking right hand bull gear I traded it on a 20 H. P. Advance Rumely which proved to be, in years to come, the best engine I ever had.
I never will forget its number-15009. I unloaded it off the car on December 14, 1919. I done all kinds of work with this engine and never broke a gear.
With my folks both gone the wife and I had a sister and four brothers to take care of. Then on the 17th of September 1920 I had the misfortune to lose all the fingers of my left hand, left me a good thumb. I got the little finger off my right hand in 1897, in the rear of hand corn sheller with a blind man turning. So I gone through a lot of years with three fingers and two thumbs.