We thank Heber L. Armstrong, Editor of The Wellston Sentry newspaper in Wellston, Ohio 45692, for permission to reprint the following story and pictures. This was sent to us through the courtesy of Lewis J. Meacham, 2861 Brown Avenue, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601.
The Hard Way
Pictured above is Tim Graves off-bearing in the upper left, while Grady Twyman, of Ewington, Larry Wilbur of Hamden and Charles R. Duncan of Jackson get the 'feel of the fork' as they load'er up!! Courtesy of Heber L. Armstrong, Editor of The Wellston Sentry.
The Golden Grain
Lewis 'Jr.' Meacham
Meacham, a Jackson County native, is one of the some 25 members of the Jackson-Ross County Steam Threshers Association active in the 200 member-plus club who actually reconstruct engines and participate in the Steam Shows of the Middle West. Courtesy of Heber L. Armstrong, Editor of The Wellston Sentry.
The two day event drew a capacity to the many multi-featured entertainment featuring the use of Steam and the powering of an ancient Threshing Machine Meacham used to 'custom work' in the Leo-Raysville,-Jackson-Ross County area.
Meacham is atop the 'separator' manning the 'stacking pipe' used to convey the threshed straw to the straw stack for baling. Courtesy of Heber L. Armstrong, Editor of The Wellston Sentry.
McKinney, a machinist for the Wagner Implement Company states the above 'creation' is patterned after the Avery and has a 5 horsepower boiler on a 4 horse engine.
McKinney is a former employee of the former Tim Miller-Bob Reigel Jackson Implement Co.
Little Loco is the 4th steamer built by McKinney. Courtesy of Heber L. Armstrong, Editor of The Wellston Sentry.
The Jackson-Ross County Steam Threshers Association held their 6th annual 'Threshing Bee' on the Ray Meacham residence at Leo.
The Tick Ridge Meacham farm hosted an extremely heavy crowd attending the 1972 festivities which included an old fashioned bean dinner for both Saturday and Sunday. An old fashioned Square Dance was the social function of Saturday night.
The Threshers attracted a host of old steam driven engines used to provide the power for the threshing separators used in the threshing demonstrations.
Flea markets, refreshment stands, sculpt and art work booths, old and antique farm implements, old automobiles, and ancient trucks also added to the interest of the Association outing.
Ray Meacham is president of the Threshers, while Lewis (Jr.) Meacham of Chillicothe acts as Vice President. Harry Swaney of Leo is the Associations Secretary while Norman Brohard serves as Treasurer for the group. Lewis Farley, Gene Tennant, and Joe Parks serve on the governing board of trustees.
Some 200 people comprise the membership of the 'Old Time' Steam Power people with membership even going to such far away places as England.
Meacham stated that the local group included some 25 people who seriously practiced the art of owning and operating the steam engines popular in the past as power producers.
A large number of antique cars, trucks, tractors, and horse drawn binders, balers, corn shredders, mowing machines, and plows were also on display over the weekend festivities.
The group actually threshed wheat stacked from the Meacham farm with the 'visiting farmers' who wanted to get the 'ole-time-feel' of the pitchfork or refresh their art at 'cutting bands' providing the manpower to augment the 'steam engine' power contribution to the threshing operation.
Some 125 pounds of 'jowl bacon' seasoned soup beans cooked by Gene Tennant, augmented the food and soft drink stand, along with that of the 'Cotton Candy Man' to satisfy the hunger of the weekend threshers.
But all was not ancient! Bob Rice of Rices Garage, Jackson had an extensive display of both International and General Electric Lawn and garden tractors on display.
The field formerly growing the grain and straw used in the weekend's threshing demonstrations was used for the parking of some 500 cars.
The steady drone of the people visiting, the gentle 'whish' of escaping steam, and the threshing chatter of the threshing separator was often punctuated by the shrill steam whistle on the various steam engines on exhibition.
Just as the kids are attracted to the shrillness of the whistle so was a multitude of people, chiefly of rural background and interest, attracted to the dusty domain of bib overalls, sweaty blue chambrey shirts, pitchforks, with shiny well-worn handles, the subdued slap of the drive belts and the shacking shuffle of the separator parts.
A re-activated operation from the era of yesterday!