Many flowery compliments were being handed the enginemen at the
close of the 9th annual Reunion of the Miami Valley Steam Threshers
Association held at Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio, July 25,
26 and 27. The spot was Goshen Memorial Park, which was known in
the early 1870’s as the Central Ohio Fair Grounds and where our
grandparents from the surrounding counties attended their reunions.
The writer can almost picture some of the older pieces of equipment
being exhibited this year as being new and brightly painted and
displayed on this very spot during those years. An unusually rainy
summer dampened the spirits of everyone up to and including the
first day of the show and many of the farmers, instead of attending
the reunion were trying to salvage their hay and grain.
The old race track at Goshen Park afforded a nice place for
parades and other activities and the hillside adjoining the track
made a natural amphitheatre for all to watch the events. By noon on
Saturday the enginemen were all at their stations and at the signal
everyone pulled the whistle cordsthe entire neighborhood knew then
that the show was on. The Port Huron engine pulling the calliope
led the parade. Naturally the record on the calliope was
”Beautiful Ohio’. Then followed about 13 other large
engines including a Gaar Scott, Farquhar, Robison, Baker, Advance,
Case Huber, Minneapolis, Frick, and some home-made engines. After
these the smaller models were hurrying along and bringing up the
rear was Bob Fielder’s big ox team pulling the Conestoga wagon.
The Hart Parr tractor and Advance Rumely oil engine was dodging
here and there keeping everything at the spot where needed.
The boys gave their saw mill a good workout all during the show.
The association purchased this mill during the past year and was
completely overhauled by some of the officers and board members
including Arthur Heiland, George Edinger, and Lawrence Bretz. It
really looked like a new one.
Two very fine gentlemen from Mechanicsburg, Mr. Huffman and Mr.
Plank, were able to get us wheat dry enough to thresh on Saturday
and Sunday. As soon as the separator stopped Wm. Farmer’s
horse-power baler was on the job.
Farther down the track the drag saw was being powered by Roy
Craig’s weel trained oxen, the saw being owned by Mr. M. M.
Yore of Bellefontaine. This saw was cutting lengths of butternut
logs for making shingles.
This shingle mill owned by Mr. John Shoots of Bellefontaine and
belted to the Frick engine was one of the most unusual exhibits on
the grounds. Souvenir hunters picked up the shingles as soon as
they dropped from the mill and several radio and television
commentators mentioned this unique piece of machinery on their
The large Baker fan was kept busy by various engines during the
show and was quite a contrast to the little model fan that was
being operated just beside it. The little model separator (Case)
was doing a good job threshing the few stalks of wheat being fed
into it. All the models were in tip-top shape and had a constant
group of admirers from one end to the other.
On Saturday night movies were furnished by Mr. Humphreys and Mr.
Hoffer in the little shelter house. A 50-50 dance was held in the
large shelter house, the orchestra being furnished by the
The Methodist Church of Mechanics-burg brought their entire
congregation to the park for church services and the guest
threshermen went to church in their coveralls and shirtsleeves. It
was a very impressive service in the shelter house and in the shade
of the big oak trees. During the reunion the ladies of the
Methodist Church had the dining room open at all hours.
There was plenty of activity all Sunday afternoon around the
track, sawing, threshing and another engine parade. The Shawnee
Antique Motor Club came in from Urbana, Springfield and
Mechanicsburg with about 23 fine old cars to parade the grounds and
Due to the extremely wet season some engines did not get to the
show, including a Peerless, a Baker, and a Russell. But all in all
we had the best attendance and best displays in our short history
and wish to thank everyone who helped make the show a success. Mr.
W. W. McCoy, when he learned the Miami Valley Steam Threshers were
coming to his home town said, ‘Your coming recalls thoughts of
yesteryear. The lumbering engine with it’s flapping belt and
shrill whistle alerted the farmer, scared the horses and thrilled
the kids. It’s presence meant busy farmers, spirited teams,
creaking wagons, goggles, bandana handkerchiefs, straw hats, water
wagon, water jugs, good natured bantering, sweat and then the
bounteous delicious, varied noon-day meal, proud, tired
farmer’s wives, neighborliness, cooperation and a job well