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
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
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.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
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.
The whole family gets involved when it comes to steam, and thank
goodness we have a large family and Boonville is less than two
hours from our home. My son, Mark (fifth generation), who used to
be Grandpa’s little engineer, is now grown and lives nearby. He
still finds time to help, and he’s passing the torch to my
daughter Lori’s son, my grandson, Jacob (sixth generation).
We have family and friends who started with our show back in
1967 who still come to help out and have fun, and we have four
generations of our family at every show.
While writing this, I was thinking back 36 years and about all
the family, friends and neighbors who were with us at the
beginning, and how many friends we have made along the years
because of steam. There have been a lot of good times and good
fellowship, and in all the years there was only one mishap: It
happened to me, but I survived.
If you want to meet good people, just go to a steam engine show.
To this day, trains, traction engines and stationary steam engines
make a chill run up my spine. Long live steam!
Contact steam enthusiast David DeGraffenreid and family
at: 282 Bear Creek Road, Brumley, MO 65017.