Box 137 Athens, Illinois 62613
Clyde Duddleston’s saw mill on the Prochnow Farm near La
Valle, Wisconsin in 1917.
Over the years that I have been a reader of the Iron-Men Album,
I have seen several articles on saw mills. In looking through my
box of steam engine snap shots, I found several pictures of steam
engines on saw mills. The picture of the 18 Hp. Advance engine is
the reason the mill was set up on this particular spot. Mr.
Prochnow was planning to build a barn that summer so they were
sawing out the frame. The engine and mill were moved by Claude
Duddleston of La Valle. In later years, Mr. Duddleston had a
permanent location for his mill near the village of La Valle and
built a shed over it. I watched his saw there as late as the spring
of 1949. In later years, he used a 20 Hp. Rumely engine. He sold
the engine and mill a-bout three years ago.
Two other pictures were taken in March of 1929. The location is
on the same farm as above mentioned. I was about 8 years old when
these pictures were taken and I recall the day when they moved the
engine in to start sawing. The ground was quite soft so they
eventually rolled logs into the ditch next to the road and drove
the engine over them. I also recall the we drove to La Valle with
the horses and lumber wagon the next morning and the owner of the
engine asked us to bring him some steam cylinder oil. The engine
was a 60 Hp. Case. The owner of the engine and mill was Frank
Neglas of Wonewoc, Wisconsin. Since my home was just a-cross the
field from the mill, I spent much time there listening to the
exhaust of the engine. In later years the engine was used and sold
in a saw mill near Necedah, so I suppose it was sold for scrap in
In 1946 I tried to look up all of the steam engines that were
still around La Valle. One of the pictures shows a 25 Hp.
Advance-Rumely in a saw mill in Wonewoc. This engine was owned by
Edward Schroeder and was used until 1949. I left home that fall so
I never did know what happened to this engine.
The other picture is of a M. Rumely Co. engine in a saw mill
near Ironton, Wisconsin. I took this snap shot in Sept. 1948.
When I went back in March of 1949, the engine was
gone. I assume it hit the scrap pile.
There are still a few saw mills around La Valle today but they
all use Diesel engines for power. I have been privileged to attend
the Central States Threshermen’s Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois
for several years and I certainly like to listen to the exhaust of
engine when they are sawing logs. The Avery undermounted certainly
has a musical exhaust. In my book the Diesel engine can never take
the place of steam, either in a saw mill or as a railroad
locomotive. Somehow the steam engine seems much more romantic!
I’ve never any pity for conceited people because I think
they carry their comfort about with them. George Eliot