IT NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN TENNESSEE
369 S. Harrig St., Madisonville, Kentucky 42431
On August 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, 1970, the Tennessee Ky. Threshermens Assn. held its first show at Adams, Tenn., 'Home of the Bell Witch.' There were steam engines, threshers, a sawmill, old gas tractors, gas engines, models, antique cars and other antique machinery. There were other interesting displays including a taxidermy show, Old Country Kitchen, Antique furnishings, etc. An estimated 5,000 persons will remember it for years to come as whistles blew and the engines' exhaust gave forth with a nostalgic sound of a not too distant past.
The oldest person attending the first show was 101 year old Dan L. Kenner of Elkton, Ky., who grew up with steam and has owned 7 steam engines and separators. His last engine was a 32 hp. Cross Compound Reeves, which he sold to Charles Harris and was scrapped sometime after 1955. His last separator was a 32 inch McCormick Deering which was sold to the writer, and pulled by his 16-60 Double Cylinder Rear Mounted Nichols & Shepard at the show. For all those people with cameras and tape recorders what a sight and sound it was! Many hours had been spent restoring this equipment which eased man's burden before the advent of gas engines and electricity and the feeling and affection of these people towards their engines were evident as you could tell by the different ways of whistle blowing and the sound of the big engines on the Baker fan. There's hardly a way to describe it but hearing the 'Tucka, Tucka, Tucka' of the exhaust so effortless, that you know here is something that can really do the job. You can hear and feel it long after the sound is gone.
A blacksmith shop was set up under some big oaks. It was something to see as the blacksmith shaped the bright orange metal to whatever his desire. A big attraction was the threshing. A perfectly matched team of mules pulled their load of oats to the waiting machine. The long twisted belt connecting the engine and separator began to move, the men on the wagon began feeding the bundle of oats into the thresher mouth; the engine exhaust became louder; black smoke spurted into the stiff breeze. Chaff and straw began to fly from the windstacker, grains of oats flowed smoothly into a waiting truck. Nowhere has anyone seen more dramatically man's harvest of his labor.
There were rides for the children on model steam engines, real banjo picking and guitar picking, old farm implements of many kinds, a wood lathe originally hand-powered which was used making small rolling pins and ball bats.
Of the big engines, there were two 19 hp. Keck-Gonnermans, one 12 hp. Russell, one 16 hp. Peerless and the writer's Nichols & Shepard. There were 2 model Garr-Scotts, 2 model Cases, 1 traction and 1 portable, a model Nichols & Shepard and a free lance with a Stanley Steamer Auto Engine for power, plus several stationary steam and gas engines with a portable Keck-Gonnerman Boiler for furnishing steam for the stationary engines.
There were several old tractors, the oldest being made in 1912. There was Gospel singing in the big tent every evening at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday morning all the churches in the community took part in a tent meeting on the grounds. The sounds of favorite hymns like 'There Is A Fountain,' 'Bringing In The Sheaves,' 'Are Ye Able,' and 'Just As I Am' created a feeling of reverence and warmth and there existed a real spiritual experience. The first Tenn-Ky. Thereshermen's Assn. show was a real success and we hope that this will be the first of many more to come. The show for 1971 will be held at Adams, Tenn. July 16th, 17th, and 18th. Adams is on U.S. Highway 41, 7 miles south of the Ky. line and 41 miles north of Nashville, Tenn.
The idea for this Assn. came from J. E. Evans and Earnest Williams, neighbors in Pleasant View, Tenn., which resulted in it being formed March 23, 1970. At present the officers are: J. C. McMurtry, Pres; Omer Walker, Vice-Pres; J. E. Evans, Sec, and B. H. York, Treas. The directors are V. E. Griffin, Earnest Williams, G. P. Stewart, Doris Bland, H. L. Spencer, Wallace Freeman and Mode Hampton.