Reflections From Indiana

1 / 6
Fred Blauth engine #1515 Keck-Gonnerman at Pana, IL.
2 / 6
Minneapolis engine at the Assumption Centennial.
3 / 6
Ralph Fisher's Peerless engine at Pana, IL.
4 / 6
Scale model engines at Pana in 1952.
5 / 6
Gene and Ed Ransford by the 20 HP Advance Rumely #15171.
6 / 6
Master 4 25-50 Huber tractor with Ed Ransford on the tractor seat and father Gene Ransford standing.

R. R. 2, Box 274 Shelburn, Indiana 47879

Like some of the other old Iron Men, this is my first time to
write. Lloyd Creed’s story and picture on page 13 and 14 of the
January-February issue got me ‘fired up’ to write and send
a picture of Keck-Gonnerman engine #1515 of Fred Blauth of Tower
Hill, Illinois. The picture was taken in September 1952, at the
fairground in Pana, Illinois. Fred is on the engine. The lady
walking by the engine is my aunt, Clista Ransford Moore
(1891-1984). She lived east of Assumption, Illinois, across from
the Frank Oaks farm (now owned by Don Kuhle, the Case-IH, Ford
dealer on Highway 51 in Assumption). Mr. Creed’s picture was
probably taken at Fred’s farm in Dollville, Illinois. The time
I was there he had two single-cylinder Keck-Gonnerman engines and a
Minneapolis engine. He also had three engines at his home in Tower
Hill. Fred’s wife had lots of dolls. The one that I remember
the best was an engineer doll dressed in striped overalls, shirt,
and cap with a tiny shovel in his hand. She said that was
Fred’s favorite doll. The picture of the Peerless engine taken
the same day in 1952 belonged to Ralph Fisher of Assumption. Ralph
had a machine shop and was mayor of Assumption for a number of
years. In the picture of the scale model engines at the Pana show,
one of the men may be Milford Reese that Mr. Creed mentioned.

The picture of the Minneapolis engine was taken at the
Centennial at Assumption in 1953. Fred had #1515 there also. I
think the Minneapolis belonged to someone from Taylorville,
Illinois. That was the day I signed for the IMA and have
taken it ever since. I think the price was $2.00 per year.

The story in the May-June issue about the ‘Indiana
Special’ brought back memories of my dad Gene Ransford’s
separator. It too was an Indiana Special, and was double belted
also. It was #2125 and a 36-60.

In October 1925 my dad and Mr. Don Starkey bought a used
Keck-Gonnerman rig (engine #1643 single-cylinder, and a 36-60
separator). It had a Kay Gee feeder and a Hart belt and bucket
weigher. It was not double-belted. Mr. Starkey ran this rig for
about 20 years, and Dad ran his own rig.

I was born in January 1917, and my dad bought his first rig in
1918, a Huber engine #9635 and a Huber separator. In 1924, he
traded for the Keck-Gonnerman rig. In 1930, he traded the Keck
double-cylinder for a 20 HP Advance Rumely #15171. It was shipped
on the Nickel Plate Railroad from Mellot, Indiana, to Cayuga,
Indiana, then on the C & EI Railroad to Farmersburg, Indiana.
The freight bill was $33.60. I was 12 years old then and got to
help unload it off the flat car and run it home west of Shelburn in
June 1930. At right is a picture of the Advance Rumely, my dad, and

Dad bought the Huber 25-50 HP tractor (bottom right) to run a
clover huller and a bean huller. He had a #8 Birdsell clover
huller. He traded it on an Advance Rumely #9 huller. The bean
huller was a 36-48 Keck-Gonnerman with a Kay Gee feeder and a
shaker cross grain pan. The shaker pan emptied into half bushel
buckets. If the beans turned out good it was quite a chore to keep
the buckets emptied into sacks or a wagon grain bed. It had two
spike-toothed cylinders.

Dad also had a Gaar-Scot sawmill. After the combines came he
spent his final years at sawmilling with the 20 HP Advance Rumely
engine, then a 22 HP Advance Rumely, then a 4-71 GM diesel power
unit until 1966, so he was in the threshing and sawmilling business
for nearly 50 years. He was a coal mine hoisting engineer and was
also a fireman on the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad and the
New York Central Railroad and ‘Big Four’ Railroad from

This is a story about Dad’s and my threshing years that. I
had been wanting to write for a long time. I ran the blower on the
Keck separator from 1934-1936 and was engineer on the Advance
Rumely engine from 1937-1939.

Dad was 80 years old when he stopped sawmilling in 1966, and he
died March 10, 1972 just shy of being 86 years old.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment