The wheels of progress were reversed a trifle on Independence Day, 1973, at the Robert Lyerly farm, on the Green Hill road, 2 miles South West of Mocksville, N. C.
The largest crowd ever to attend this reunion brought visitors from many different states. An Antique car club brought several superbly restored autos. They ranged in age from a very early Ford Model 'T' to a finely restored Plymouth built in the late 30's.
There were 40 antique gas engines on display this year and most were restored to like new condition and were running. Some supplied power to machines, such as a wood saw, grist mill, or a washing machine. Whenever possible, the shade trees were put to good use by the gasoline engine owners and operators. The shade does come in real handy during July in Carolina.
Those who brought in and operated gasoline engines were Bobby Cartner, Woodleaf, N.C, Willard Moore, Jamestown, N.C, Bill Grimley, Durham, N.C, Charlie Dyson, Statesville, N.C, Jeff Hutchings Elizabethton, Tenn., Jimmy Garner, Richfield, N.C, Walter Koontz, Welcome, N.C, Robert Sr., Robert Jr. and Robert Hammer 3rd. of Conover, N.C, Robert Varner, Ashboro, N.C. Bill Payne, Madison, N.C, Hoy Lee Tucker, Charlotte, N.C, Karl Seamon, Charlotte, and John Klutz of Charlotte, N.C.
This year's wheat supply was grown on the farm of Mr. Archie Cline and was cut and bound by him. He made a couple of trips to bring it to the reunion grounds. Mr. Cline and Bobby Miller, both of (Gold Hill N.C, are the two main steam engineers and they come up before show time to check over the engines completely as well as all equipment to be powered by the steam engines. They, and Mr. Lyerly always make sure there is ample wood for firing the engines, wheat for threshing, logs for sawing, etc., and any repairs they may need in the course of the activities.
Mr. Lyerly has also added a nice refreshment stand especially for the threshing reunions. Mr. Lyerly puts in a lot of hard work in getting the large tract of land in which the reunion is held on in nice shape for this occasion. His work, of course, starts right after the reunion as he gets things cleaned up and put away until they start getting ready for the next one.
This years saw-milling was done by means of Mr. Lyerly's 22 h. p. Keck Gonnerman traction engine pulling his 00 Frick sawmill. Although Archie Cline and Bobby Miller were the main sawyers, several sawmill men from the crowd took their turn at the 'lever'; among them, Mr. Levi Trivet, a steam engineer and owner of several fine steam engines.
Mr. Lyerly's 16 h.p. Frick traction engine belted to his 22-36 Case wind stacker threshing machine did a fine job of separating the wheat from the chaff. A portable hay baler, of the hand operated wire tying variety was on display along with the thresher; however, since no baling wire was found it was not operated. It is hoped that it can be used on future exhibitions.
Several exhibitions of good belt power were given by means of a 40 h. p. Case steam traction engine pulling a Baker fan. This item is a h.p. testing device and will load any, or just about any, engine in general agricultural use. It has been found to put on a little too much brakes for our gas engines.
Grist, just as fine as any ever seen, was made from corn by Bobby Cartner's 6 h. p. IHC cooperating with Robert Lyerlys Meadows stone burr grist mill. The grist mill is a recent addition to this reunion. We hope to find some good old fashioned corn for next years grinding.
Due to the interesting demonstration by Robert Hammer of his truck mounted 7 h. p. Economy engine and wood saw, there was an abundance of slab wood sawed to the proper length for the steam engines. There will even be a considerable amount left for next year, (or for next steam up, probably right away!)
There were 10 kerosene tractors on display and several were very nicely restored and running. They included an 18-32 K model Case, an 18-28 Hart-Parr, a WD40 IHC Diesel, an F12 IHC, 3 U.S. built Fordsons, one very nicely restored English Fordson, and two 10-20 McCormick Deering tractors. One of the 10-20's was used for a little log dragging and was also driven by some of the visitors.
There were several flea markets in operation throughout the day and they had a very interesting and wide variety of items for sale. We welcome the flea markets at this reunion, and anyone wishing information concerning facilities, etc. at this reunion should contact Robert Lyerly, box 402 A, Mocksville, N.C., or Gene L. McLaughlin.
For their untiring help, both in preparation for this event and in keeping activities going, especially food service, the sponsors of the Mocksville Threshing Reunion wish to take this opportunity to express their sincerest appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Lester West, Mr. and Mrs. John Richard Broadway, Mr. and Mrs. William Broadway, Margie Hellard and Ethel Private.
The sponsors of the Mocksville Threshing Reunion have enjoyed preparing for and holding this annual Fourth of July event and we are looking forward to seeing all our friends again next July, and we hope they will bring all of their friends.