Farm Collector

Steam Engine Stories

Box 137 Athens, Illinois 62613

I have been reading the Iron-Men Album since 1947 and I have
enjoyed every issue. During the 22 years that I have been a reader,
there have been a number of stories about accidents with steam
traction engines. However, I have never read of an accident like
the one that took place on the Clark Cobble dick farm 5 miles north
of La Valle, Wisconsin in the year 1912. According to the account
told me by my father, the threshing crew had finished threshing a
setting of stacks in a field south of the buildings and were
getting ready to move to another setting when the tongue in the
separator broke. Mr. Cobbledick, the owner of the rig, hooked a log
chain to the separator and since it was hilly ground, when he got
in the engine and pulled it ahead the separator ran into the rear
of the engine and crushed him. He died the next day.

About two years before this, a rather strange accident took
place. The engine was a 14 Hp Star owned by Mr. Cobbledick (the
same man mentioned above) and they were moving up the hill north of
the buildings in the H.C. W. Lucht farm north of La Valle.
Something went wrong with the clutch on the engine and it rolled
backward and ran off the road. Mr. Cobbledick and my Uncle John
Lucht, who was steering the engine, both jumped off and the engine
kept rolling backward down the hill missing all the trees and
landed in a creek at the bottom of the hill, Incidentally,
according to those who witnessed this freak accident, the engine
was still running when it was in the creek. The impact of hitting
the creek bed crushed one drive wheel and it was used for a flower
bed on the Lucht farm until the late 1930’s. Mr. Cobbledick had
another Star engine in a saw mill a few miles away so he got that
and they continued threshing. Several days later the first Star
engine was pulled out of the creek.


In the fall of 1931, La Valle township in Sauk County built a
new section of road not far from our farm. My Dad helped on that
road and one Sunday afternoon, we were out for a ride and he took
us over to the site of the new road. I recall that Mr. John
Gallagher of La Valle had his 20 Hp. Advance engine there and they
used it to furnish steam to operate a rock drill. This is the only
steam powered rock drill I have ever seen. Has any reader of the
ALBUM ever had any experience with one?

The dearest object to a married man should be his wife but it is
not infrequently her clothes.

  • Published on Jan 1, 1970
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