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Sixth Generation of Steam

Six Generations on, one Family is Still Steaming in Missouri

| September/October 2004

  • Double-cylinder Keck-Gonnerman

  • John DeGraffenreid

  • John's granddaughters
    John's granddaughters (fifth generation) on the 1/2-scale Keck Gonnerman in the early 1970s before it was finished.
  • John's 1/2-scale Keck-Gonnerman
    Mark DeGraffenreid (fifth generation) behind the wheel on John's 1/2-scale Keck-Gonnerman.

  • Double-cylinder Keck-Gonnerman
  • John DeGraffenreid
  • John's granddaughters
  • John's 1/2-scale Keck-Gonnerman

Well, it has been almost 26 years since this article was first started, but it's been 36 years in the making. The fifth generation turned out two girls and a boy (and then 10 years later two more fifth generation girls came along), and now we have a sixth generation of engineers.

My father, third-generation engineer John DeGraffenreid, wrote the first article, 'Third Generation of Steam,' in 1978. He continued the steam show we had on our farm, the Ozark Hills Steam Engine Show, until 1978. He still has both Keck Gonnerman engines, and since then has built a sawmill and water wagon to use with the 1/2-scale engine.

He and my mother, Betty, continued to travel to several shows every year until the early 1990s. Mom passed away in 2000, and since then dad has been spending time tinkering and building 1/2-scale sawmills, water wagons, a small stationary boiler and a Turner sawmill.

John DeGraffenreid (third generation) tutors his great-grandson Jacob Allen (sixth generation) in the finer points of steam at the Boonville, Mo., show in 1996.


Every year we make our annual road trip to the big engine show hosted by the Missouri River Valley Steam Engine Assn. at Boonville, Mo., the weekend after Labor Day. As time goes by, we seem to take more stuff with us each year. We now take the scale engine, sawmill and water wagon, plus our ATV and a camper.

David DeGraffenreid (fourth generation) waits for pressure to build as he tends to 'Ole Betsy' at a recent show. This is the 20 HP double-cylinder Keck-Gonnerman John bought in 1967.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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