369 S Harrig St., Madisonville, Kentucky 42431
On July 20th, 21st, and 22nd, 1973, the Tenn-Ky Threshermen's Assn, held its 4th Steam Traction Engine Gas Engine and Wheat Threshing Show. On Thursday July 20th, visitors from several states came in with their campers prepared to stay all three days. On Friday the show got in progress with engines on the Baker Fan, sawmill and threshing wheat. There were many old gas and kerosene tractors that took turns with the engines pulling the different equipment. One of the highlights of the show was the Wildhaired Hilltoppers from Golden Pond, Ky., who with their moonshine still, put on performances several times a day. 'The Moonshiners VS The Revenoors.'
We believe we have a record in having the oldest man in the United States to operate a steam engine. Dan Kenner, 104 yrs old of Elkton, Ky. operated an engine for a little while. Over the years he has worn out 7 engines and separators. He says 'Once you ever had it, the know-how never leaves you.'
The big 150 H.P. Corliss engine was operating and was one of the main attractions. It was built in 1892 and made all the electricity for Clarksville, Tenn. from 1892 to 1920 and was on standby from 1920 to 1930 when it was sold to the Farris Lumber Co. in Nashville, Tenn. where it pulled a line shaft until 3 years ago. The Assn. owes a debt of gratitude and thanks to Director Earnest Williams who set the engine up and got it going.
There were a lot of old horsedrawn agricultural tools, a lighting exhibit which showed the progress of lights through the years, a churn exhibit, wood working shop, quilting Bee, broom making machine, horsedrawn hearse, sorghum mill, grist mill, model hay baler, calliope, hot air engine, blacksmith shop and numerous old hand tools, household appliances and the old time country kitchen.
There were 3 mule teams and wagons which hauled the wheat to the separators of which there were 3, a Keck-Gonnerman, Case and McCormick-Deering. There were numerous Antique gas engines all of them working. Of the old tractors, among the makes were Farmall, Fordson, International, Allis-Chalmers and Moline. There were model steam stationary engines and of the model steam traction engines, there was a Garr-Scott, 2 J. I. Case's and a Nichols & Shepard. Of the big engines there was a 16 H. P. Peerless, a 19 H.P. rear mounted Keck-Gonnerman, a 19 H.P. side-mounted Keck-Gonnerman, a 50 H.P. Case and a 16-60 rear-mounted Nichols & Shepard. There were some beautiful antique automobiles which added much to the show.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday there was Gospel Singing by Name Quartets and on Sunday morning, joint Church Services under the big tent were held by the Baptist and Methodist Churches at which time a Memorial Service was held for the members who had passed on since the last show. It was very impressive, for as their names were called, and a short history of their lives given, a moment of Silent Prayer was observed and then all whistles sounded together in a final salute.
There were several thousand people present the three days and by all indications every one had a good time. We of the Threshermen's Assn. hope the people enjoyed the Show as much as we did putting it on. It gives us great pleasure to see the older folk get to see and take part of a past that was an important part of their lives and of which they have fond memories. It's worth all the work and worry in putting on a show to hear an older fellow say, 'I used to run an engine just like that' and to see the look on his face when you invite him to come up on the footboard and take her a turn or two and then hear him say 'You don't know what that meant to me. I never thought I'd pull a throttle on another one'. It's also a pleasure to see the young people have a chance to see how it was done in Grandpaw's day, how hard he had to work, how people had to depend on one another and the changes that have been made since then. We hope to see you at our next show July 19th, 20th, 21st, 1974 at Adams, Tenn. 'Home Of The Bell Witch'.