THE BELL WITCH
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 operation.'
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 two.
'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 1917.
'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 brass plate.
'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? Thanks.)
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.
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 region.
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 satisfactorily explained.
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 'witch spirit.'
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 era.
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 of prayer.