The Pride of Battle Creek

| September/October 1970

  • John Ross
    The Pride of Battle Creek grading country roads in 1917. John Johnson, Engineer, sitting on drive wheel. John Ross is operating grader. This photo was taken possibly 1000 feet from where the Stumptown Steam Threshers Club Show grounds are located west of
    Raymond Laizure

  • John Ross

Route 3 Cadiz, Ohio 43907

The year the first World War ended, I worked all summer for a farmer. It was on Armistice Day that I was busy husking corn out of the shock, and the bells were ringing and whistles blowing in all directions. At the same time, there was a 12 hp. Advance engine hung up on a nearby hill. The blower was roaring in an attempt to raise the pressure. I was not sure what was hooked to the engine, but it had the appearance of a Clover Huller.

This farmer had, among the usual collection, about nine milk cows that we had to milk night and morning. This always interfered with our other work. One old short horned cow that went by the name of Eliza Jane had an evil mind and was careless with her hind feet. About the time you were half done milking, she would fly into kicking and clear everything off the platform. After one encounter with her, when she plastered me up against the weather-boarding, I asked the Boss what he wanted to keep an old outlaw like that for anyway. He told me the reason was that she would give a three gallon bucket of milk. But, from my observation, if you wound up with a quart or two, you were lucky!

After the corn was all in the crib, he decided to cut the fodder and made the arrangements with a neighbor who owned an Ohio Cutter and a 16 hp. Advance engine to do the job. With some extra help, we hauled fodder all day with two teams and piled it next to the barn what a pile of fodder that was!

We had everything ready for an early start next morning. The Boss said we must get up early and get the milking done. He was the nervous type and I wasn't, but I was full of pep and willing to join in the excitement. We were in the barn at five o'clock the next morning. The Boss was all set up at Eliza Jane with the three gallon bucket, when I heard an unusual racket., I got up and went to the door to listen. It was pitch dark outside, but I soon came to the conclusion as to where the noise was originating.

I could hear the Pride of Battle Creek barking away at a steep grade in a nearby field. Presently, it reached the summit of the hill and I could see an oil lantern hanging on the smoke box door. The engineer gave a long blast on the chime whistle and somehow, after fifty years, I have never been able to entirely erase that sight and sound in the night.


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