STEAM DREAMS.

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Courtesy of Mr. Frank J. Stebritz, 414 No. Minn. St., Algona, Iowa 50511. This is a picture of Neil Miller's old style outfit at Neil Miller's show. This is to say that I side with Mr. Pat King that the two wheel automatic tender is not a headache. I've o
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The late Clifford E. Vaverka of Richland township is pictured in front of the old steam engine which he owned for about 20 years. It was used with a threshing rig. The old engine was made prior to 1920. Mr. Vaverka had sold it prior to his death to a man
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Courtesy of Lyman Cox, Clay City, Illinois THEY MADE GOOD PHOTOS back in 1913, and this is an excellent example shot by some now unknown photographer shortly after a costly accident of that steam engine and horse era.

Upper Sandusky, Ohio R.F.D. 1

I certainly enjoy the Iron-Men Album and the Gas Engine
Magazine. I read them from cover to cover, over and over again.
Being born too late and growing up too slow to take part in the
steam era, these fine magazines give me the opportunity to read of
the grand old timers. Through the letters, pictures, and articles I
can gain a little of what I have missed. The era of modern
machinery and larger farms that promised us ease and prosperity,
brought instead confusion, the destruction of the family farm, drew
us apart from our neighbors, and farther from God.

I will tell you what I can of the Hohwald Threshing Ring of S.E.
of  Upper Sandusky Ohio in Wyandot County. I have in my
possession the minute books of this organization, as my father,
John Barick was sec.-treas. of the group. From these records and my
memories of my early years I will reconstruct as best I can.

In March of 1920, fourteen men met in the Hohwald one-room
school to form the Hohwald Threshing Ring. Harry Myers was elected
president, John Barick was elected sec.-treas., and Fred Seifert
was appointed manager of the Ring. Rules and bylaws were drawn up
and signed. Money was borrowed from a bank to purchase equipment. A
note for 3000.00 was signed by all the members of the ring. A
Nichols Shepard engine, water tank, Red River Special separator,
and Birdsell clover huller were purchased from Vernon Schindler.
The note was to be paid off with the earnings of the outfit. Wages
and terms were agreed upon etc. Threshing was to begin at end of
the line for wheat. Oats would be threshed on the way back. Barley,
beans, or timothy seed would be worked in when ready. The charge to
members in the ring in 1920 was $.08 for wheat, $.05 for oats, $.06
for barley and $.40 for timothy seed. After the threshing season
ended a picnic was to be held at a park or amusement center for the
members and their families. On one occasion 72 were in attendance.
At least once a pest hunt was conducted in august, the losers to
furnish water melons for the annual picnic.

So began years of cooperation hard work, neighborliness, and
fun. The cooperation was not confined to threshing, but often
helping one sick or in need, or raising a barn or erecting a
building. Hard working men had to eat, so the Ladies had a very
important part in the ring as they demonstrated the same kind of
cooperation by helping each other prepare the meals and plan the
outings. However in later years the men carried their lunch.

About the most important member of the ring was Old Nick, the
faithful old steam engine who kept all the wheels turning. He was
called on to move almost anything immovable in the neighborhood
including houses, stumps, trees, etc.

I remember when I was about five years old, watching Old Nick
pull an old house that was to be used as a granary almost a quarter
mile across the fields to a new location on our farm. And of
watching as he pulled stumps and trees across the road from our
house. Of standing back out of every ones way admiring the powerful
engine as it so easily pulled the big thresher. Only when the belt
was off and the steam down was I allowed to approach my big iron
hero, and maybe even stand on the platform. Ever since this time I
have been a steam engine fan, but my dreams of being ‘Engine
Man’ were never fulfilled, as Old Nick and many other good
engines have gone where far too many good engines have gone-to the
scrap heap!

I now own the Farm that has been in our family for 120 yrs., but
the farm is only as a hobby while I am forced to seek employment
elsewhere. The same wonderful kind of people still live in the old
neighborhood but we don’t have time to be neighbors anymore.
Just an occasional ‘Hi!’ as we rush madly about trying to
keep up with this crazy world.

The crashed engine had plunged through a then comparatively new
bridge near Rose Hill. A note on the back of the picture, printed
for postal card use said that the engine was owned by Charlie
Bileschky and was used in his threshing machine rig.

The bridge has since been replaced.

This is another photo owned by Mrs. Johnnie Koontz of Rose
Hill.

After years of so called progress a super highway has split the
old neighborhood in two, with plans made for another to come very
near the way, ruining many of the farms. Some have been absorbed
into larger operations, while most of the farmers have part time
work off the farm. I can spare neither time nor money to be a steam
engine owner. But I own a 22 yr. old Farmall M. that has been my
right hand man for many years and may become like grandfathers
clock to me.

Anyway I can ‘steam dream’ through the pages of the
Album, and enjoy the steam shows.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment