Route 1, Waterloo, Indiana
I certainly enjoy the steam engine stories in the IRON-MEN ALBUM. I never ran a steam engine, but I always hung around the smoky end of things, when a boy, during the steam engine days. I remember lots of stories my parents and old-timers used to tell.
My father told about driving 24 head of horses on a Best or Holt Header near Turlock, Modesta and Stockton, California, when he was 18 years old. He told about having a crop of wheat burned up years ago. He had the wheat stacked at a neighbor's place. They pulled the threshing machine in the place. The fireman raked the fire out in the stubble under the engine and over Sunday, the fire spread over the field, got in the stacks and burned up the threshing machine, wheat stacks and all, but never hurt the engine.
He also told about an old thresher-man that moved a threshing machine from Ohio to Indiana, a distance of 75 miles. He took no fuel along, just chopped up fence posts and rail fences along the road for fuel. Seems like he was quite a character-he was always in a lawsuit about something. The story was that he had more lawsuits than any man in the county and never won a case in his life.
I sure got a laugh when I read the Halloween Halocust story in the Album as I used to have a neighbor that told about this Halloween prank 40 some years ago. According to his story there were married men 40 years old in that deal including some fellows that used to live in my neighborhood at that time. I don't know if my neighbor had anything to do with it, but he sure knew all about it. He has long passed on.
I remember 40 some years ago, Mike Schoudel used to do my threshing and he was hulling clover seed for my neighbor and they were moving the machine over to the other side of the field and went through a low mucky place and got the engine mired down and was 5 days getting it out. They used a block and tackle.
One more little story that my father told of which happened when he was a boy about 15 years old. In Madison County, Ohio, they were threshing for a big farmer. It took about a week or 10 days to do their threshing and they were very respectful people. They were strong church members and did not intend for anything like this to happen. They had butchered a sheep and were serving mutton on the dinner table every day and it went pretty good for about three days. After three days, the mutton began to get stale and started to spoil and nobody would eat any, but they still put it on the table. In those days they had no refrigeration and could not keep meat very long. Being very religious people, they always said Grace and returned thanks and every day they asked different ones to return thanks by saying Grace. After three days, when the mutton was getting pretty strong, they asked a big Irishman to say Grace. He was a pretty witty man and had long chin wiskers that hung way down. The Irishman started to say Grace and said, 'Oh Lord, Please look down upon this plate of mutton. Once it was meat and fit to eat, but now, Oh God, it is rotten!!' They took the mutton off the table.