Several decades ago during the migration to Saskatchewan, Canada to settle the frontier, my folks, Joe and Emma Dewhurst, of Barnes County N. Dak. gathered up their belongings and family of four boys (at the time) of which my brother B. J. was oldest and I. E. D. was next. They took up some land by the townsite of Assinaboia, Sask. and put up some frame buildings, the lumber was hauled across country, no roads, by horses, some from Weyburn and some from Pang-man, and during this same time the railroads were pushing west and finally came 14 miles north of our place, and then and there the town of Assinaboia, Sask. was established and thrives today.
There were some busy settlers here ahead of us, and while breaking up the virgin prairie they had proved and disproved certain machinery and equipment, so as soon as the railroad was close enough to be useful they shipped in new machinery. One man traded off his old style side mounted Port Huron and got a new big Reeves with power steering for sod and threshing work and Dad got this 24 H.P. Port Huron and put it to work breaking sod with a plow he had previously hauled across country many miles with horses which took several days. I guess the plow was too big because there were two bottoms laying in the yard all during sod season. Now my Dad was not a born mechanic but hired men that he depended on to do his work, and I guess it was a heart breaking to keep that old kettle working during sod season. Now mother, on the other hand, must have been a mechanic because her family all were, and we four boys are at it today as engineers, machinists and mechanics.
Well to get back to business, when fall came Dad bought a new 34 in. Buffalo Pitts separator and that seemed to go pretty good with the Port Huron, but the thresh run was far away, as the man with the Reeves seemed to do the local jobs. Mother was with the cook car some of the time and Grandma was home with us boys since we were still too small to be of any help, some one had to take care of us. Then World War I started, and this upset the apple cart in several ways including the availability of competent help, cost of operating etc. So soon dad was out of the sod breaking business, and by the end of the war Dad and Mother were both gone and we youngsters were put in different places around the country. I went to live with Uncle Eddy Dahl, and he helped see that I grew up as well as teaching me the threshing business in which he had been active since he was a young man in the Dakotas in the 1900's, so I stacked straw from the slatt carrier, hand fed the machine, ran either end and tried to keep things going when the boss was gone. We broke prairie sod too and ground feed in the winter.
For several years my brother B. J. and I lived many miles apart and did not see each other very often, but then as now accidents happen around machinery and when B. J. was firing with straw an under mounted Avery near Estavan, the owner and engineer got wound on the stub end of the crank shaft and was killed. One time I crawled under the running separator to tend to something and the blower belt tore the whole top off my winter cap. I did not know the bundle rack had bumped the pulley and torn up hooks of alligator lacing which I have never liked since.
Another time, while threshing on the soo line, by Yellow Grass, the combines were coming in. A man stepped through boards over cylinder and took most of his leg off. I was there with the crew that threshed out the crop after neighbors cut and tied it following the accident. B. J. and I threshed over a lot of Sask., even went north in the late fall, I to Prince Albert and B. J. to Battleford.