REUNION REPORTS

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Pitching bundles into Baker thresher on the Ed Ploeger farm near St. Maurice in 1957. Note: Two young women pitching bundles. This is really Women's Lib!! Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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16 HP Russell engine owned by George Meister of Batesville, Indiana. Taken at Rushville Show around 1957. Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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Russell, Baker and Case engines line up after parade at Rushville, 1957. Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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Anthony Moorman's 20 HP Advance Rumely threshing wheat for a neighbor in 1957 near St. Maurice, Indiana. Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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Here is my recently purchased Case engine that I am restoring and hope to have it at Rushville this year. It is a 50 HP built in 1916. I purchased this engine from Vernon Apgar at Mason, Ohio. Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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22 HP Keck Gonnerman formerly owned by Lawrence Porter. Photo taken at the Rushville Show in 1957. Courtesy of Jerry Moorman, Greensburg, Indiana 47240.
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Above are the officers who were elected at the 1948 meeting at the Fairgrounds: Chester Franklin, Williamsburg, Ind., director; Roy Mitchell, Rushville, Ind., director; Fred Paul, Frankfort, Ind., vice pres.; Walter Ramsey, Danville, Ind., director; Lewis
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Luther Caldwell, left, and Roy Mitchell, right, proudly display their 1870 model Garr Scott portable. Finished restoring in 1946, Bradley Meltzer, Waldren, Ind., rebuilt the wheels. Engine now on display at the Wayne County Historical Museum, Richmond, In

Greensburg, Indiana 47240.

The following article concerns the beginnings of the Pioneer
Engineer’s Club. Many dispute the age of this club as being
older than 25 years. The information given below may help clear
this dispute up.

In 1946 the Indiana Brotherhood of Threshermen no longer
existed. Some of the members and officers got together to decide
how to dispose of $75.00 which they had in the treasury. They
decided to buy a gift for the oldest member, and a leather coat was
purchased for Luther Caldwell, a charter member. A basket dinner
was planned to be held at Metzger’s Lumber Yard in Rushville,
where Mr. Caldwell had his little 1870 Gaar portable stored. That
day, in 1947, 50 men met at the Rushville lumber yard. They
discovered that Henry McMann was the eldest and also a charter
member, so another coat was purchased and the remainder of the
money was spent for soft drinks. At this meeting they talked of
forming a club of threshermen and sawmill men. They voted to hold
their first reunion the next summer at the Rush county fairgrounds.
The first officers elected were: Pres., Nelson Howard of New
Castle; Vice-Pres., Fred H. Paul of Frankfort; & Secy.-Treas.,
Ralph Shelburne of Zionsville. Directors were: Eldon Myers of New
Augusta; Walter Ramsey, Danville; Roy Mitchell, Rushville; Chester
Franklin, Williamsburg; and Lewis Owens, Worthington.

In August, 1948, Luther Caldwell and Roy Mitchell, owners of the
Gaar Portable and a hand fed drag thresher, along with Nelson
Howard with his 50 HP Case engine, had a reunion at the Rushville
Fairgrounds.

In 1950, 3 traction engines were at the reunion. After this
reunion, a meeting was held at Krekeler’s machine shop at St.
Maurice, near Greensburg. At this meeting it was decided to name
the growing club to ‘The Pioneer Engineer’s Club of
Indiana.’ This name was suggested by Howard Ewbank, one of our
deceased members.

1951 saw the club grow to six traction engines owned by: Ralph
Shelburne, Reeves; Tony Moorman, Advance Rumely; Ben Krekeler,
Baker; Howard Ewbank, Port Huron; Nelson Howard, Case; and Lawrence
Porter, Case. Mr. Caldwell had his Gaar portable, and Keith Mauzy
brought a 6 H.P. Case portable. New officers were elected: Pres.,
Ben Krekeler, Greensburg; Vice-Pres., Davis Sullivan, Markleville;
Secy., Howard Ewbank, Rushville; Treas., Anthony Moorman,
Greensburg (who has served continuously since). The reunions were
held at the fairgrounds in conjunction with the Rush County fair
for 6 years, until 1953. No admission was charged, exhibitors paid
for their own expenses, and only donations were accepted to help
boost the young club.

In April, 1953 Mr. Howard was re-elected president, and Verl
Maple of New Salem was elected vice-president. Other officers were
re-elected. In February, 1954 at a business meeting at New Castle,
Lawrence Porter was elected president; Ray Jones, Vice-Pres.; Tony
Moorman, Treas.; and John Menchoffer of Indianapolis, Secy. Mr.
Menchoffer served as secretary for a number of years until his
eyesight failed him. The next 3 years, the reunion was held at
Lawrence Porter’s sawmill near Rushville, during which Mr.
Porter served as president.

February, 1957 a business meeting was held at Verl Maple’s
in New Salem. New officers were: Ray Jones of Sunman, Pres.; Paul
Alyea of Greenfield, Vice-Pres.; and others were re-elected. Mr.
Ray Jones has since served as president every year except for I
year, around 1964 when Meredith Wein-inger of Seymour served as
president. 1957 was also the year the club moved its reunion to the
present site at the Rush County Conservation Club grounds east of
Rushville. The first reunion was held here on August 2, 3, 4 with
26 large engines, numerous antique tractors and model engines. On
August 5, 1957 The Pioneer Engineer’s Club of Indiana was
incorporated under the laws of Indiana.

1958 was the year to be remembered weather wise. At this reunion
it rained for several days. Equipment was unable to move and the
sawmill was completely submerged in water. April 4, 1959 a meeting
was held, officers were re-elected except Paul Alyea who was
replaced by Lawrence Porter as vice-president. It was also decided
to draw up new by-laws. The number of directors was increased to 9,
with 3 new directors elected each year for 3 year terms. This made
it necessary to elect 3 directors for 3 years, 3 for 2 years, and 3
for 1 year. They were as follows: 3 year terms Ralph Shelburne,
Paul Alyea, Verl Maple; 2 years Eldon Myers, Paul Cole, Nelson
Howard; 1 year terms George Meister, Tony Hood, and Elmer
Ziegler.

During 1960’s the club continued to grow and hold their
reunions at the conservation grounds. The club is very proud of the
many fine restored engines and antique tractors and models. The
club is proud to still have the first traction engine, Mr.
Howard’s 50 H.P. Case, at its show each year. Dr. Russell
Holmes of Louisville, Kentucky acquired this engine upon the
passing of Mr. Howard. The little 1870 Gaar portable is now on
permanent display at the Wayne County Historical Museum in
Richmond, Indiana (formerly the Gaar museum). This was with keeping
the wishes of Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Mitchell, that when one passed
away the other would see that the engine went to the Gaar museum.
Over the years many of the old members have passed away, but others
have followed in their footsteps in preserving old farm equipment.
The club has grown to approximately 475 members, from a-cross the
United States.

The club’s present officers are: Ray Jones, President;
Lawrence Porter, Vice-Pres.; Eldon Myers, Secy.; Anthony Moorman,
Treas. The club is planning a big celebration for their Silver
Anniversary Reunion on August 3-4-5. We are proud of the fact that
this club ranks among the oldest and finest organizations, with 25
years of prosperity.

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