Report On Term-Kentucky Threshermen’s Fourth Annual Show

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Frick engine owned by Newt Howell of Shelbyville, Tennessee.
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A J.I. Case owned by Wallace Freeman of Cadiz, Kentucky. [Pictures by Bill Hill]. Courtesy of Billy Byrd, 369 S. Harrig Street, Madinsonville, Kentucky 42431.
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Shot is of a rear-mounted Keck-Gonnerman engine owned by Frank Chilbers, rural Route, Clarksville, Tennessee.

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’.

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