Kenneth William Kelley, 86, passed away May 5,
2005. He was born on May 16, 1918, in Pawnee, Okla. He was the
youngest of 11 children. Many people referred to him simply as
“KK.” He married Nellie Minerva Ellington on Nov. 26, 1941. She
preceded him in death on Dec. 8, 1999.
At the end of 8th grade he came to Pawnee to go to high school
and graduated with the class of 1936.
His father and brother opened the Kelley Equipment Store selling
John Deere equipment in 1937, and Kenneth was the mechanic. He was
known as the best hay baler mechanic in the country, and was
extremely knowledgeable in the repair of antique equipment.
He was a member of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Assn. and
president of the Pawnee County Cattlemen’s Assn. from 1966-1968. He
was president of the Pawnee Chamber of Commerce, as well as the
Pawnee County Democratic Chairman.
In 1969 he bought his first 45 HP Case steam engine to restore.
He had attended the Oklahoma Steam Engine Assn. gathering in
Waukomis, Okla., which had begun in 1965. He talked with the people
in the association and contacted the City of Pawnee to obtain a
site to have the show. In 1973 the show was moved to Pawnee, where
it has become one of the best in the United States.
At one time he owned the full line of Case steam engines,
restoring each of them. He also had a narrow gauge steam train in
his back yard, and all of his grandchildren played on it as they
grew. This was later taken to the steam park, a railroad track was
built and the steam train operated during the show. He also liked
buying antique cars. His latest project was a 1925 Model T truck,
which he purchased this spring, and was in the process of
He also attended many other steam engine shows in the United
States. Minerva’s name is on the memorial wall of the Rollag,
Minn., steam thresher’s association.
He married Norma Davis Greene on June 3, 2000, in North
Carolina. They continued to be active in farming and restoring
antique equipment, restoring an antique Model T truck and a John
Deere Model D tractor, as well as working on some steam
Kenneth is survived by his wife, Norma, of Pawnee; four
daughters, Betty Nell Dennis; Janice Bryant; Annetta Franks; and
Cindy Jennings; 17 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two
brothers, Floyd and Warren; and two sisters, Alice Benes and Thelma
– Submitted by Mark A Corson, Crown Point, Ind.
John Alan Derting, 53, Everett Lane, Ky., died
April 5, 2005, at his home of natural causes. A native of
Farmville, Va., he was born Dec. 22, 1951.
Alan was a member of our Reeves fraternity. He visited me a few
years ago in Kansas, wanting to put his tape measure to certain
features on my Reeves 25 HP double-simple engine. Last fall he
invited me down for a fall steam plow event that he actually
delayed a week from its original scheduled out of courtesy to me.
Alan owned a similar Reeves to mine, except it was a cross-compound
While visiting Alan, I photographed and videotaped an amazing
event. He plowed most of the day with his Reeves engine and a
Cockshutt engine gang plow. He and friends worked the engine to its
maximum. I doubt that anyone else for 75-plus years has steam
plowed so seriously for the duration he did.
In 1987, I wrote the obituary for a dear friend, Haston St.
Clair, in Iron-Men Album. Haston wrote the “book” on
Reeves engines and their history, and hardly a day goes by that I
don’t think of him. Probably the same will occur with Alan. Both
men were so passionate about Reeves engines.
Survivors include his wife, Karen Blount Derting; five sons,
George, John Bo, Peter, Elijah and Valiant; two daughters, Mary
Grace and Patience; and three sisters, Terry Derting, Murray,
Tenn.; Sandra Woods, Cooksville, Md.; and Barbara Amaya, Felton,
– Submitted by Mark Ohlde
Austin Monk, 91, passed away June 3, 2005, at
the Immanuel Lutheran Home in Kalispell, Mont.
He was born John Austin Monk on July 16, 1913, in Kalispell. He
married Mildred Knutson in 1938 and was preceded in death by her in
His younger years were spent ranching and in the timber
industry, first cutting ties in his sawmill and later as a logger.
He raised cattle in Pleasant Valley, Mont., for most of his life at
the ranch he built from scratch. He and Mildred blasted a canal
with dynamite to drain the meadows, and then cleared the willows
and trees to make his hay land. The ranch at Pleasant Valley is
where he liked being the most.
He also did stints in the oil fields, as a road builder and a
heavy equipment operator.
He owned and operated the Raven Mine in Thompson Falls, Mont.,
for many years. Austin liked prospecting, even searching several
times for the Lost Dutchman Mine in Arizona. He had several mining
claims in northwestern Montana and was a past president of the
Montana Mining Assn.
He had a lifelong fondness of guns, and was well known as a
marksman at the black powder shoots. He was known for his love and
knowledge of steam traction engines. He had quite a collection that
he assembled over the years, and was at many of the plowing and
steam shows, both in Montana and also in Pennsylvania, Ohio and
He is survived by his daughter, Janet Monk, of Kalispell; and
his brother, Bob Monk, of Pleasant Valley. He is also survived by
12 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and
– Submitted by Gary Yeager, Kalispell, Mont.
Denny has gone on to a better place, but our memories of him
shall long exist. Our loss as a club is great, but it is not nearly
as great as the loss that his family feels.
He shall be missed in many fields, not only in the steam engines
but also many others, as well. He did a lot of hunting and other
shooting over the years. He liked to go ice fishing, he enjoyed
bowling and other sports as well. He really enjoyed fixing things
for himself and others. It will be hard for many of us not being
able to stop at his shop and visit of an evening or weekend.
So, I shall say so long, and every time I hear a steam whistle
blow a part of me will remember our wonderful friendship.
His wife of 41 years, three daughters and six grandchildren
survive Denny. May God bless them all and help them in their time
of pain and loss.
Editor’s note: Truth be told, I’m something of a pack rat: I
save everything. Which doesn’t explain how I lost the envelope
containing the letter that appears below. My apologies to the
author; I promise to give proper identification next issue if
you’ll contact me upon reading this.
I have been a subscriber to the Steam Traction
publication since the mid-1960s.
I read with interest the article by Wayne Murphy titled Ajax
Portable (March/April 2005 and May/June 2005). The thing that
caught my eye the most was his statement that he has not been able
to find a sawmill manufactured by the A.B. Farquhar Co. in the
I had no idea that a Farquhar sawmill would be hard to find. I
happen to have one, and I am sure there are more. My father and
uncle found this mill in the woods with trees and brush growing
through it in the mid-1940s. All that was left was the iron parts.
They brought it home and rebuilt everything into working order, and
used it until about 1956 when the building housing the mill was
destroyed by a hurricane.
“Denny had several steam engines. The first engine he and his
dad obtained was a 16 HP double Nichols & Shepard. That was
when I first met them.”
My uncle then moved the mill to his property where he ran it
with steam power until about 1970. Then, not having much use for
the mill, he sold it to a neighbor. The neighbor moved the mill to
his farm where he set it up, but did not seem to be able to make it
work. He then sold it to his brother who moved it several miles to
his farm where he set it up.
My father and I talked off and on during the 1980s about finding
a sawmill since we both had an interest in having one. So we
started looking, and after quite a few inquiries we were able to
track down the Farquhar that my father had run many years
I was able to purchase the mill in 1988. It had sat in a field
being unused, and it had small trees and brush growing up through
it. The wood was nearly all rotted away, again. So, we gathered it
up, and took it to my farm where my father and I spent the winter
Spring finally came and we poured a concrete base for the main
frame. We set posts for the tacks and skid way. The day finally
came for a test run. We belted up my 1936 Minneapolis-Moline Model
J tractor and sawed a few small logs. We were lucky that we didn’t
have to make any adjustments.
We got some logs and sawed the lumber to build the building that
now houses the Farquhar. I power the mill with an Allis-Chalmers
6-cylinder engine, the same as the D-19 tractor uses. We use the
mill enough to keep busy.
Since my father is 87 years old and I am 60 we don’t break any
records with the amount we saw, but we sure do enjoy it.
Sheila Alcock of the United Kingdom has sent us
great information on England’s heritage railways. Sheila
This weekend, we took a train ride. Amazingly, the carriages
were immaculate, and there were plenty of seats. No hassle, no
jostling and a compartment all to ourselves. We were visiting a
heritage railway, staffed mostly by volunteers, every one of them
keen to show off their trains.
When Lord Beaching axed almost 2,000 railway stations in the
United Kingdom, which also meant the loss of hundreds of branch
lines, there was uproar. The cuts went ahead anyway, and many of
the disused railways have been converted into cycle tracks, or
formed the basis for new roads. But, incredibly, the number of
heritage railway projects increases every year. Recent ventures
include the Exmoor Steam Centre in Devon, and the Great Northern
and East Lincolnshire Railway at Ludborough, near Grimsby.
If you’ve always wanted to drive a train, now you can. Take a
Footplate experience course on the Amerton Railway in
Staffordshire, or a Driving Experience course on the Bodmin and
Wenford Railway in Cornwall. At Sheffield Park, in Sussex, there
are Clive Groome’s Footplate Days and Ways. All over the country,
derelict wayside stations and railway lines are being brought back
to life by dedicated enthusiasts who give their time and labor to
restore locomotives, rebuild track and preserve our railway
The Bluebell Railway at Sheffield Park in Sussex was the first
standard gauge passenger line to be taken over by enthusiasts.
Their love of steam is infectious and their attention to detail
meticulous, no matter how much work is involved. Rebuilding
railways is expensive, and volunteers work hard raising money to
fund new track and equipment. Last Christmas they had their most
successful season ever, including the sale of 16,000 mince pies and
17,500 drinks, all distributed by volunteers on the Santa
The journal of the Bluebell Railway recalls the very first Santa
Special, which was run on the Bluebell Line in 1962. Another first,
in 1964, was the Christmas Belle, with 800 passengers on board,
which ran on Boxing Day. Despite a fresh fall of snow and icy
conditions, the train set off, with Christmas carols ringing out
over snowy fields as passengers enjoyed the buffet service.
The ticket office is original, full of enameled advertisements
for Swan Vestas matches and Marmite. And in winter, the old waiting
room has a roaring fire to ward off chills. A uniformed official
punches your cardboard ticket with a whistle and you board a train
so immaculate, you can see your face in the paintwork. The doors
slam, the steam momentarily obscures your view from the window, and
you’re off, chugging through fields full of horses and sheep, until
your reach your destination.
You can take a first-class ride from Sheffield Park to the
villages of Horsted Keynes or Kingscote, and revel in the blue
velvet seats and immaculate condition of the separate carriages. Or
take a seat in the Golden Arrow Pullman for dinner, most Saturday
evenings, or luncheon service most Sundays. If you take your ride
in the observation car, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Sussex
countryside, and there’s a Victorian bar/buffet if you’re feeling
thirsty on arrival at Horsted Keynes. Filmmakers love the Bluebell
Line for its Victorian atmosphere, and parts of the Railway
Children were filmed here. More recently, the Tweenies
arrived, learning about “Going Underground.”
At Sheffield Park station there are engine sheds open to
visitors, filled with locomotives undergoing repair and
restoration. Steam engines have names like The Earl of Berkeley or
Sir Archibald Sinclair. One of the oldest locomotives is 130 years
old, and the first BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 heavy freight locomotives
to be restored on a heritage railway site was at Sheffield Park,
and took 12 years to complete, including the construction of a new
tender body in the railway workshop.
There’s a museum and a model railway, with tunnels and trains to
delight the smallest child, and a buffet and a shop selling books
and models. You can park at the station, or the overflow park on
the other side of the road. The railway is named after the
bluebells, which grow in abundance on the banks and woodlands
adjoining the track. If you visit in May, the flowers are yet
another dimension of the railway to take your breath away. This is
a world where you can lose yourself in the tranquility of the
Victorian atmosphere, and marvel at the skill and craftsmanship of
the engineers of that time. Even the surroundings of this railway
line are delightful. Just outside the station, you’ll find a
riverside walk where you can round off your day by watching the
ducks and having a picnic
For information on heritage railways, with timetable supplement:
Railways Restored – the best selling guide to heritage
railways throughout the United Kingdom. Bluebell Railway; (01825)
723777; e-mail: email@example.com
If you have a comment, question or reminiscence for Past
and Present, please send it along to: Steam Traction, 1503
S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265;