105 East 5th St. West Liberty, Iowa 52776
I was born on August 3, 1880 near Lone Tree, Iowa in Johnson
County. At 8 years of age my brother taught me to fire a six horse
portable steam engine. He sawed wood for the neighbors and shelled
corn. He later purchased a ten horse Springfield Kelly traction
engine and Kelly threshing machine.
At 12 years of age I cut bands and fed the threshing machine by
hand. This was hot and dusty work, but I did not mind as I enjoyed
it. I hauled water for this engine, three tanks a day. I had to dip
it with a bucket over a creek bank. It was slow work but I got the
water on time.
I fired and handled a Rumely 25 horsepower myself. During the
winter a man by the name of Mahaffey, my brother, and I tied four
bob-sleds together, we put three logs on each sled and we pulled
all four sleds to the saw mill with this engine. We went across the
Iowa River over the ice and piled the logs on the opposite bank. I
fired the Rumely steam engine myself and sawed the wood to burn in
At a sale a Mr. George Morrow purchased this steam engine, who
lives on Riverside Drive, Iowa City. I am very pleased that Mr.
Morrow purchased this engine rather than a junk dealer.
My son, Arthur, has a 45 Case engine and has had it at the
reunion in Mt. Pleasant several years and I have helped take care
of it. Arthur Hyser of Sully, Iowa has also helped in the
restoration of this engine. We do some threshing at the West
Liberty, Iowa Fair each year. We have a 28′ Case machine.
We thresh one load of bundles at each day of the fair. My son
brings a lot of antiques to the fair also. In addition he has a
Fordson tractor on rubber bought in 1925, two Titan tractors,
purchased in 1918. Arthur also has a roan team of horses and in the
winter-time he hitches the team to a bob-sled, with sleigh bells on
them, and gives the children of the neighborhood a ride. This is
one of the occasions the youngsters will never forget. ‘The
Good Old Days Are Gone Forever,’ but the memories of the good
times I have had linger on, and it was with a great deal of
pleasure that I submit this small resume of my life.