THE GOLDEN ROLL


| September/October 1980



CHARLIE HARRISON passed away in Mansfield General Hospital May 21,1980. He had just passed his 69th birthday by 18 days. He never gave up in his long struggle with cancer; it just overwhelmed him.

Charlie was born in Knox County and spent his entire life there, living in the Butler and Fredericktown areas. At one time he lived in the house where A. D. Baker had lived as a boy. Engines, threshers, hullers and sawmills were commonplace to him as his father was a thresherman. Young Charlie took a great interest in the machinery, so much that his father sent him out with a threshing outfit at twelve years of age. Charlie and his father never quit using the steam engine on the sawmill, but did switch to an Aultman-Taylor 30-60 tractor for threshing in the mid 30s. Due to more hired labor, the farmers were crowding the threshing more each year until Charlie switched back to steam for more power in 1943 and continued with steam power through 1954 when commercial threshing ceased to exist. He was one of the last men to thresh with steam in Ohio on a commercial basis.

Charlie had a strong attachment to his machinery and continued to keep it during those difficult years when such behavior was regarded as eccentric. With great personal sacrafice, he would purchase some of the better machinery in the area to keep it from scrap dealers. He once hauled a 110 Case from North Dakota on the meagerest of funds.

His early years were hard, but they did not harden the man; they only seemed to enhance his kind and helpful ways. He was a very common man, yet his relationship with his fellowmen was of the highest order. It was a privilege to know him as not only a machine man, but as a personal friend.

The family always used Aultman-Taylor machinery and it would probably not be in error to say it was Charlie's favorite. Our hobby has lost much in his passing but we have gained much from his efforts and experience. He passed the torch to his nephew, Larry Schunke, when shortly before his death, he gave Larry an unusually fine engine. The pall bearers were all his engine friends, many of us who own machinery that Charlie restored or saved.

Junior Christenson had his model engine a short distance from the gravesite and using it. Bob Johnson and his son Mike, performed the only last rite suitable for such a man. The service closed with two long whistle blasts that signal the end of a working day.