| July/August 1997

Here's a picture we received some time ago from JAMES W. RUSSELL of RR #3, Box 538, Oblong, IL 62449. 'This is a picture of my grandad's Baker engine, which he used to run his sawmill. Before this engine, he also had a 12 HP Russell. The mill was operated by my grandad, dad and uncles, then was operated by Dad after Grandad's health failed. We currently have a 50 HP Case engine. We've met a lot of wonderful and helpful people in this hobby.'

WILLIS PIERCE, SR. of 11865 County Road 2030, Rolla, Missouri 65401, sent us a long letter and a lot of pictures. He writes, 'My Dad was a blacksmith. He could make anything. It had to be right when he did a job, in fact perfect. He taught me the trade and I have a big shop. I took over his shop. I have my shop in Rolla. I am rebuilding some mills now.

'I am 87 years old and still healthy and working. I am sending you some pictures of the mill I owned and the Peerless traction steam engine that I bought in 1928. The steam engine had wooden spokes in the hind wheels.

'In the sawmill pictures you can see me sawing; my dad, James Wesley Pierce off baring; and my Uncle Edd Drew. My Uncle Edd was a steam engine man. I bought irons off an old sawmill and rebuilt it. I sawed with the engine for five years. We had to move the mill different locations, so we used gas power.

'In 1929 I bought a Peerless thresher. It was hand-feed with a web stacker. We used bushels to measure the grain. I threshed five seasons with it in our neighborhood. I used my Fordson tractor on the thresher.

'The first engine I ran was when I was 13 years old. It was a big return Huber. We graded roads with it. It had sten guide. I redid a 65 HP Case for a man and ran it at a show in Vichy, Missouri. It belonged to George Carney in Rolla, Missouri.