I don’t believe it but this year is fast leaving us as we
see it is time for the November/December issue dear Folks, where
has it gone? The years really do go faster as we get a little older
each year. Well, anyhow, enjoy what’s left of ’88 for in
just a short time, it will be ’89!
Well, I’m sure many of you think it’s too soon to think
of Christmas many like to catch the Spirit before jumping into all
the things that come with Christmas. Some folks get it all done
early, like our daughter, Keli she is usually done with shopping by
September so I asked her the other day, ‘Do you have all your
shopping done (August)?’ She replied, ‘All done but the
immediate family,’ meaning her children, Kortni, Megan, Timothy
and hubby. Personally, I admire her, she is so efficient and
organized. I can only try to be that way, for it is nice to keep a
house and home as well-run as she does, and they enjoy everything
that goes with Christmas. She just gets finished early so they can
enjoy it. And the little ones are going to be the same way; when
they get things out, they know they must clean them up, and they
have their chores and HEY! I can’t condemn that! I tried to be
that way, but didn’t quite make it as she does. I say it’s
a big plus (if you remember, she used to work for IMA and GEM for
several years and believe me your letters and all work had the same
priority). Well, here’s hoping you enjoy the upcoming season
and now onto the letters from our family of IMA readers:
This letter comes from JOE B. DILL, Route 1, Box 26, Lascassas,
Tennessee 37085: ‘I am letting you know how much I like your
column and it has helped me find answers to questions, for
instance, the cart scale, warehouse cart with built-in-scale. I
owned one and didn’t know where they were made or who made the
weighing outfit. Everyone who saw us weigh with ours had never seen
a scale like them.
‘My inquiry in your column gave me the answer from several
IMA readers who had a set and some were for sale. One letter said
that the scale was made in Detroit, Michigan by American Harrow Co.
We had used our scale as far back as I can remember. My dad used
them to weigh the grain, hay bales, cotton, etc.
‘I also found proper colors for Deering Ideal mower through
a mower collector, Mr. John Morris, Union, Oregon. His name being
given to me by Ed Bredemeier.
‘I noticed push binder pictures in IMA and not being
familiar with that type binder I could not see what was keeping the
binder from tipping over forward. I wrote IMA and received letters
letting me know just how the binder is made. The balancing weight
and heavy castor wheel under driver at rear of push tongue keeps
the machine from tipping forward. I had several answers and all
positive that the cast iron weight and castor wheel make the push
binder a well-balanced machine. I have also seen an instruction
book since I received push binder answers of the manufacturer’s
recommendation for driving a 4 or 6 horse team on corners.
‘I have another question concerning Deering Ideal mowers. Is
there any number or design feature that will indicate the year of
manufacture between 1893 and 1911 (Ideal production years)?
‘Thanks for all the answers and I find your column real
interesting. I highly recommend Soot in the Flues for getting old
questions answered about antique machinery.’ (Thanks, Joe,
makes one feel good to know I am helping someone now and then.)
OTTO REGIER, R.R.2, Learnington, Ontario N5H 3V5 tells us:
‘Now and then you have shown pictures of steam engines or big
Rumelys pulling 3, 4, or more grain binders. Can someone sketch the
details of the hitch for such an arrangement? I have inquired for
several years about this. How did the outfit make the turns? If no
one remembers, perhaps it is time to re-enact such an
This picture was taken at the 43rd Reunion of the National
Threshers Association, Inc., held June 25-28,1987 at the Fulton
County Fairgrounds in Wauseon, Ohio. The 19 HP Port Huron is owned
by Tracy Powers, the 20 HP Russell by David Schramm, and the 50 HP
Peerless by Troy Pawson, who submitted the photograph.
This news release comes for your information from STANTON’S
AUCTIONEERS & REALTORS, 144 South Main Street, Box 146,
Vermontville, Michigan 49096: ‘On Saturday, June 11,
Stanton’s Auctioneers of Vermontville, Michigan sold the
collection of 24 antique tractors plus gas engines from the Estate
of Wayne Dalton. The auction drew attention from nine states and
nearly 100 towns and cities across Michigan. Buyers attending from
Michigan found competition from those who came from Texas, North
and South Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio,
Wisconsin and Minnesota to this auction held near Webberville,
Michigan, east of Lansing.’
Stanton’s Auctioneers said that Mr. Dalton had collected and
dealt in tractors and engines of all types prior to his death.
While most of the tractors were running and some had been restored,
there were also a number of machines that were sold ‘as is’
and were mostly to be considered parts tractors.
A letter of memories and warning comes from EDWIN H. BREDEMEIER,
RR #1, P.O. Box 13, Steinaur, Nebraska 68441: ‘Seeing the
picture on page 23 of July/August 1988 IMA reminds me of what my
dad always said, ‘Keep away from the threshing machine or
loaded wagons in a rain storm because lightning is drawn to a steel
thresher or engine.
‘In 1906 a crew was threshing in a field and a shower came
up and the separator man, engineer, water boy and three of the
pitching crew crawled under the separator after it was pulled away
from the straw stack. They all got settled under the separator and
lightning struck killing three of them and injuring the other
‘Now that is how lightning acts here in southeast Nebraska.
It has taken farmers on tractors that were going to make just one
more round before going home.
‘I enjoy the pictures as much as the write-ups.’
Reports of a storm comes from TED WORRALL, Star Route, Box 62,
Loma, Montana 59460: ‘We had the poorest crop since 1936on July
5th, a tornado of five miles wide and 25 miles long came up through
the Bear Paw Mountains and wrecked trees and many buildings, but no
one was killed. There was also a hail storm with it. The same day,
a hail storm south of Ft. Benton and across toward Geraldine wiped
out a lot of grain and many windows were broken.
‘Both places it was really an ice storm as a lot of stones
were pieces of ice. So, anyway we didn’t have much crop, but we
have a lot more than those who got hailed out.’
TIMOTHY H. SHAHAN, RR #2, Hurdland, Missouri 63547 tells us he
‘recently heard that the Geiser Mfg. Co. built a 150 HP
traction engine and that they were thought to be extinct. However,
part of one was recently discovered in South America. If anyone has
any information on this size engine, or pictures, please send them
in to Iron Men Album. I am sure many readers would be interested in
this. None of my Geiser catalogs show this engine.’ (Let’s
hear from you.)
This 110 Case is owned by the Lambe family of Claresholme,
Alberta, Canada. The engine ‘walked away’ with First Prize
at the Pioneer Acres of Alberta Show at Irricana, Alta., August 9
& 10, 1986.
‘I’m sending a tracing of a Case Eagle that can be used
on front of a smaller model. It was the right size for mine,’
states CHARLES J. THOMPSON, R #4, Box 283, Sullivan, Indiana 47882.
‘It came from a Mag cover part from a Case tractor. I cut it
out with a hacksaw and filed it flat on back, and thin. I believe
these could still be found in junk yards or at old Case dealers. It
might make a good watch fob.’ (If interested, get in touch with
Charles, maybe he could give you more information.)
An informational letter comes from GENE DRUMMOND, 15509 Drummond
Road, Orient, Ohio 43146: ‘While at the Darke County Threshers
Show in Greenville, Ohio, I was talking to Jr. Christian, owner of
a 110 Case. A man asked us if he could learn the serial number of a
Case steam engine with the brass serial number plate gone off the
smoke box. There is a formula for learning the serial number of a
Case steam engine that has been passed around. How accurate this
formula is and who came up with it, I do not know. All that I can
say is that the formula did not work for my Case 80 #34383 built in
‘Now to the Case Formula for Serial Numbersto find the Case
serial number without the brass plate. The boiler number is located
on the upper right-hand corner of the rear of the boiler. Take this
number and add 11218. That should give you the engine number on the
‘While on the subject of Case steam engines it is a known
fact that a lot of Case boilers have had front flue sheet and smoke
box work done. For this reason the brass plate never gets put on
the new smoke box. Then before you know it the engine is said to be
much bigger and later engine. The engine could have had a cast
stack and steam pump when it left the factory. With the serial
number plate gone and the removal of the steam pump and cast stack
to a steel stack and change in bunkers, the deception is almost
done. The only thing left to do is lie about the engine you really
have and try to pass the engine off for what it is not. This has
been done.’ (This letter might bring more comments or
lettershow about it?)
‘Dad to left and one of our men in the picture. This is the
engine and sheller that I moved for Dad. You can see part of the
drag wagon behind the sheller. There was an oil wagon also. It
seemed like a long outfit to me,’ writes Vinson E. Gritten.
We have had stories and pictures before from VINSON E. GRITTEN,
109 Country Club Court, Danville, Illinois 61832. I still have some
of his material and think it is time to share with you again.
‘During my boyhood my father was a thresherman. When I was
about thirteen, he had me move one of the rigs (tractor and
sheller) a few miles to a customer’s farm. Things went well
until I came to a range line where the road jogged, making two
rather sharp turns which were followed by a narrow bridge.
‘The tractor, corn sheller, drag wagon and oil wagon were
over sixty feet long and rather wide. It seemed too much for me to
take all of that machinery around those curves and across the
bridge. I pulled over to the side of the road and waited. Soon my
dad came along, got up on the tractor where I was standing by the
steering wheel and asked me what was wrong. Before I finished
telling him, he reached over, opened the throttle, threw in the
clutch and said, Take it around.’ I had no problem. It seemed
very easy with him standing by my side.
‘My earthly father has been gone for a long time; it took
several years for me to realize that my heavenly Father has always
been by my side. Why is it that we trust and believe in our dads
and mothers when we are small children, then fail or forget to have
faith and trust in our heavenly Father? How about you?’
From our good friend comes this letter as BILLY M. BYRD, 369 S.
Harrig Street, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431 writes: ‘I’m
wondering how everyone is faring with the terrible hot weather. We
had a severe drought but we’re getting plenty of rain now
(written August 6). It came too late to help my garden but thank
goodness I didn’t have to depend on it for a living like some
poor farmers. It was real hot at our Tennessee-Kentucky
Threshermen’s Show at Adam, Tennessee but the old Nichols &
Shepard and I got through it all right. In September I’ve got
to take her to the Tennessee State Fair at Nashville for ten days.
I’m still running the steam locomotive at Chattanooga a week on
and a week off.
‘I notice you had a letter from Mr. Ellsworth Thorene of
Stillwater, Minnesota concerning the Bell Witch of Adams. I was
born and raised at Adams and lived there until I was 19 years old
and went to work for the railroad. There have been three books
written about the Witch or Spirit. My great uncle was an old man
when I was a little boy and he wasn’t alive when all these
mysterious things were happening and not inclined to lie about
something, but he had talked to people that were living at that
time. Those people were God-fearing and not inclined to lie. There
is no doubt in my mind that at that time and place some
supernatural phenomenon took place that couldn’t be
satisfactorily explained. Just like today some folks swear that
there are flying saucers. There may be, I don’t know.
‘I’m still enjoying my retirement but so busy I
don’t know when I had time to work. I’ve just got too much
to do. I’ll have to live forever to get it all done. I hope you
are all doing O.K.
We’re doing pretty goodjust got the regular old folks’
ailments and are thankful that we are getting along as good as we
are. Like the song says, ‘Count Your Blessings’. Take care
now because we care.’ (Isn’t that a nice comment?
Along with this letter, Billy sent us the story of the Bell
Witch for your reading. We also heard from W.E. GLICK, 100 Cedar
Drive, Enterprise, Alabama 36330so we therefore thank both Billy
and Mr. Glickhope you enjoy the article that was in the program
from the Tennessee-Kentucky Thresher-man’s Association, Inc.
Show of 1986.
The mystery that has come to be known as the Bell Witch is one
of the more enduring and fascinating legends of America.
The land on which the Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen’s Shows
are held is part of the original Bell family plantation.
John and Lucy Williams Bell were a settled, prosperous couple
with a family when they decided to leave North Carolina in 1804 and
find a new home in Tennessee, then on the Western frontier of the
United States. Their overland trek brought them to a region where a
number of their relatives and former neighbors from the ‘Old
North State’ had settled.
Old Tractors Will Do Part in Winning War
From Fairview in the Piece River country came these old steam
tractors, now in Edmonton awaiting the cutter’s torch before
they are sent to steel mills to emerge as tools of war. The old
power units have long since earned their worth in the wheat fields
of the north, and now they will be broken up to become parts of the
military machine destined to sweep Nazidom fields of the face of
the earth.’ (From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Newspaper -Saturday
De. 11, 1943)
For several years the Bells were a happy, industrious family,
developing their plantation and participating in affairs of the
About 1816 mysterious events began, which were mostly
concentrated during the next four years, but the last incident
reportedly occurring in 1828. These events plagued John Bell, Sr.,
showed adoration for Lucy Bell, separated Betsy Bell from her first
love, and often caused uneasy fascination in the community. The
events were not understood at the time and have never been
After enduring much physical torment, John Bell, Sr., died
December 20, 1820, reported by the ‘spirit’ to be a victim
of a mysterious liquid administered during his illness by the
Unceasingly plagued by the ‘spirit’, Betsy Bell finally
broke off her engagement to handsome Joshua Gardner, who left to
make a new life for himself in West Tennessee. She later married a
former school teacher and prominent leader of the area, Richard
Powell. Following Powell’s death after 17 years of marriage,
she moved to Mississippi where relatives, including children, were
living. She died there in 1890 at the age of 86.
Many Bell descendants live in the area, and the family has long
been prominent in social, economic and political affairs.
The sturdy devout pioneers who settled the frontier region of
our country in the early nineteenth century were not easily
dismayed. Their testimony concerning observations of the torment
endured by John Bell, Sr., and the ‘spirit’s’ relations
with other Bell family members is that of honest persons, leaders
in the life of the region, puzzled by events and circumstances
beyond their understanding.
It is difficult to grasp the uneasy ponderings of the community,
made so distant by changing times, as one views the quiet Bell
family cemeteries, the old farm well, now abandoned, and traces of
the lane down which General Andrew Jackson rode on a visit to see
for himself this unknown force troubling his friends. Yet, when our
age does not provide satisfactory answers to extrasensory
perception, flying saucers and possible electronic voices from
space, we can scarcely question the sober testimony of another
JOHN W. GUAY, General Delivery, Perry vale, Alberta TOG 1T0
tells us: ‘Thought you might get a kick out of this article. I
ran across it in our old trunk. Having a love for steam and my tour
as a soldier in Italy, it brings back memories. Keep up the nice
work. I sure do enjoy the magazine.’
I’d like to send each of you this poem called
Written by Emily Bertha Green
Being friends is a warm and glowing touch
It’s words of kindness that mean so much.
Through days and years that bond has grown
A blessing only friends have known.
Being friends holds a meaning true
It’s past and present and yet it’s new,
It’s time wrapped up in things we do I’m glad God made a
friend like you!
But I was happy to send it along for it’s made for me to
send to each of you this Christmas. I’ve been with many of you
folks for quite a few years, so I’d like you to know I hope you
have a Wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
And in closing I always have to find you a few quotes All people
smile in the same language Strength in prayer is better than length