As Rev. and Mrs. Ritzman pull out of our yard the Sunday morning
after the reunion, Mr .Ritzman said to me, ‘Now you know what
you have to do.’ My heart sank as I realized that for the
fourth time I was supposed to send a write-up in for the ALBUM(
almost before I had gotten my breath after the doings.
Before this appears in the ALBUM, I shall have sent all members
of the National a complete write-up which has appeared in one of
the local papers. But for those ALBUM readers who are not N. T. A.
members, here is a brief overall picture.
The 1952 reunion of the National Threshers Association began
Thursday morning, June 26, with three chartered Greyhound buses
converging on the Blaker farm, Alvordton, Ohio, bound for
Ford’s Museum and Greenfield Village. In addition, five auto
loads of eager visitors left from here, and many others in Ohio and
Southern Michigan drove their own cars over. For many, it was their
first visit to this world famous shrine of early Americana, and at
night upon their return to the farm, many declared their desire to
spend much more than a day visiting the museum and village. It was
truly a successful excursion and provided an auspirious opening of
The actual reunion got under way Friday morning, without a drop
of the customary rain. Although other localities have had rain,
northern Ohio was so dry that all would have welcomed at least a
shower to relieve the heat and dust.
This year we had provided more room for the exhibits, and four
tents were erected for various purposes. We also had planned for
more eating arrangements, and three lunch stands served very
adequately the large crowds.
Chief interest in the reunions centers, of course, in the
engines, large and small. The large ones wore dwarfed by Louis
David’s Avery Under mounted, brought just the preceding week
from western Nebraska.
Since space is running out, all we can give is the alphabetical
list of owners and engines: Irel Ashbaugh, Defiance, Ohio, 20 hp.
Minneapolis and a 10 hp. Nichols and Shepard; Wm. Benner of
Clayton, Mich., 25 hp Russell; Leroy Blaker, Alvordton, Ohio, two
24 hp. Port Hurons; Gilbert Cowden, Detroit, Mich., 6 hp. Case
Portable; Louis David, Northville, Mich., 30 hp. Avery Under
mounted; Hope Earl, Pittsford, Mich., 21 hp Baker; Richard B.
Garman, Huntertown, Ind., 18 hp. Advance Rumely; John Harper, New
Haven, Ind., 12 hp. Rumely; Homer Holp, Brookville, Ohio, 16 hp.
Advance; Melvin Lugten, Hamilton, Mich., 16 hp. Nichols and
Shepard; H. E. Marsh, 25 hp. Case; Paul E. Myers, Defiance, Ohio,
12 hp. Case; Merle Newkirk, Midland, Mich., 20 hp. Reeves; J. H.
Whitbey, Wayne, Ind., 20 hp. Rumely; Forrest Williamson, Latty,
Ohio, 23 hp. Baker.
Interest in small models rivals that of the larger ones, and
earliest to arrive with a small engine was Albert Joy of Granger,
Ind., with his Merrimac, made ‘out of odds and ends’. If we
fail to mention any of the fine miniatures, we hope the owners will
forgive us. The reunion was too large for any one person to cover
it adequately. The alphabetical list is as follows: Ralph Ary, 1 hp
Miniature; F. W. Bloom, Churubusco, Ind., Road Roller, Grain
Separator, and Saw Mill; J. D. Bowers, West Liberty, Ohio, 2 hp.
Wood Bros. Model; Lyndon Conrad, Hillsdale, Mich., Miniature
traction; Lee Gaeke, Plymouth, Mich., Westing-house Engine, and 25
Models; Pat Gaeke, Plymouth, Mich., 6? hp. James Fleming Engine;
Grant Good fellow, Grand Rapids, Mich., Steam Engine, Miniature
Merry-Go-Round; Albert Joy, Granger, Ind., Model Steam
‘Merrimac’; Delbert. Reich, Allen Park, Mich., Model
Advance Rumely; Lester Roos, Geneseo, III., ? hp. Model A very;
Ralph W. Shelburne, Zionsville, ind., Model Engine and Hay Baler;
Chas. E. Zimmerman, Attica, Ohio, Model Engine, Peerless; F.
Williams, Dayton, Ohio, Model Steam Engine.
Programs were given Thursday and Friday nights in the big tent,
with colored movies and slides of threshing scenes, music and
entertainment. A memorial service for deceased members was
conducted Friday evening by Rev. Mr. Ritzman, and charter members
were introduced, at this, the last meeting of the Association at
the Blaker farm. Souvenirs were given out to all members, and
copies will be sent to all members not present, relating how the
reunions had their beginning, and showing pictures of the Ritzmans,
A. D. Baker, and the Blakers.
The auxiliary group, TNT, (The National Thresharwomen) had a
larger display than last year, with the addition of a women’s
tent where informal programs of music and talks were given, and
iced tea and cockies served. Officers elected by the TNT were Mrs.
F. Williamson, chairman; Mrs. Mac Kellar and Mrs. F. Newberry,
vice-chairmen; Miss1 Leah Williamson, secretary-treasurer. Mrs.
Harry Marsh and Mrs. Ralph Vincent had charge of the programs.
New wheat brought from Cincinnati by Roselle and Wm. Raisch was
threshed both afternoons; The sawmill was operated by LeRoy and
Emory Ohlenkamp and son Harold; A Stanley Steamer was driven by
Harry Peterson who gave many free rides; A small caliope was
brought by O. E. Sitton; and other features of the reunion which we
have overlooked were nevertheless greatly appreciated. We also wish
to express our appreciation to all those who worked so faithfully
before, during and afterwards, and to the efficient parking system
worked out by Clyde Felger and his helpers.
Photo of October 13th, 1951 when my son Raymond, moved my 50
Case from my father’s farm at Orion, III., to my farm at Alpha,
III. I am holding my grandson who is looking over the engine, on my
right is my son, Raymond, and on my left, is my father. R. G.
Bohman of Alpha, Illionis, speaking.
As usual, members came from great distances, but the award goes
this year to Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Ehret, our staunch members in
Aibonito, Puerto Rico, who flew up for the reunion. Mr. Ehret
typifies the interest in steam shown by the young men, as he says
that he was born ‘Thirty years too late’ to get in on the
steam era. Others coming from some distance were F. Boesewetter,
Walton, Neb.; Wm. Benfield, Cactus, Arizona; Wm. Edmondson, Butte
Falls Oregon; Louis Ellefson, South Dakota; W. Feill, Albuquerque,
A. D. Baker, oldest living steam traction manufacturer, and a
lifetime member of the association, was unable to be present as
planned because of Saturday’s intense heat. But the Prony
brake, which he presented to LeRoy Blaker and which he in turn
presented to the NTA, was in use both days, and as usual proved to
be the outstanding attraction of the reunion. A few of the moat
powerful engines were Irel Ashbaugh’s 20 hp. Minneapolis,
developing 100 hp.; Harry Marsh’s 25-80 Case, developing 120.5
hp.; Louis David’s 30 hp. Avery Under mount plow engine,
developing 121.25 hp.; LeRoy Blaker’s 24 hp. Port Huron
Longfellow which did 123 hp. to break the record. LeRoy souped this
up with a Baker piston valve working it as a 11′ by 10′
simple and equipped with a crosshead pump and heater to supply the
boiler, having no trouble to maintain steam pressure and water
The 1853 reunion will be held at the Fair Grounds in Montpelier,
Ohio, as the NTA has completely outgrown the Blaker form. Officers
elected at the busness meeting for the coming year are: President,
LeRoy W. Blaker; Vice President, Forrest Williamson;
Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. LeRoy Blaker; Chaplain, Rev. Elmer
Ritzman. Directors: one for each state with a membership in NTA of
ten or more members; Indiana, John Harper; Illinois, H. C. Ringle;
Ohio, Charles Harrison; Pennsylvania, Morgan Hill; Michigan, Louis
David; Wisconsin, Gilmar Johnson; Iowa, Ray Ernst; Kentucky, W. M.
Jones. Trustees are: Harry Marsh, Homer Holp, Carlton Felger.