THE THRESHERMAN

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A typical 'Dodge City Beauty' Dodge City, Kansas, is in the 'Lime Light' these days because of the very popular TV program so we are reproducing these two pictures taken from the Kansas Magazine of 1910. That was before TV! Mr. H. Henr
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A wheat field that made 30 bushel per acre, southeast of Dodge City.
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Posing for a picture at the 'Cook Shack'. See article, 'Use Thresherman' by Mr. Harbecka.

R.D. 1, West Chicago, Illinois

Mr. Henry Harbecke sends us this article taken from the Sept-Oct
1910 issue of the Kansas Magazine. We assume he is the author of
the article. It surely is a good one, as you will agree when you
read it. We hope the pictures (copied from the magazine) turn out
good enough to reproduce.

In Mr. Harbecke’s letter accompanying the article he says
‘. . I ran steam traction engines in the Kansas wheat fields
seven seasons with Frick, Gaar-Scott, Avery Under-mounted and
Advance Tandem compounds with plows.

‘I and other hoboes helped Marcus Leonard unload an Advance
rig after dark at Hays, Kansas, in 1908. He got me out of the Hobo
Class later after he asked me two questions. One was ‘Do you
use the clutch when you back the engine into the belt?’ The
other was ‘Do you poke your fire?’ From then on it was
Advance tandem compounds for me. The last, a rear mounted.’

By the word ‘thresherman,’ I do not mean the naughty
boy’s father, nor the schoolmaster who daily pounds the dust
out of the pupils’ clothing, but the men of whom the city poet
speaks as being among the fortunate that see the dew sparkle in the
beams of the rising sun and see the golden grain sway gracefully
back and forth like the waves on the ocean; that hear the animating
song of the birds and the busy hum of the bees; that breathe air
that is pure and sweet with the fragrance of the flowers; in short,
that are surrounded on all sides by the magnificence of Nature. The
men that are by many people considered the hardest workers, the
loudest swearers and among the toughest, both physically and
morally. The men whose coming the farmer hails with delight and
whose departure he always endeavors to bring about as soon as
possible. The men that feed the Avery bull-dog, the Gaar-Scott
tiger, the Aultman-Taylor starved rooster, the Wood Bros.
humming-bird, or whatever the make of separator may be.

In their ranks are found men from all walks of life; from the
so-called hobo clown to the senior college student; from the city
laborer, who wants to strike it rich, to the country boy who wants
to earn enough to buy a horse and buggy. A certain class of hoboes
usually get tired of counting the railroad ties during the
threshing season and in order to get a little change in their mode
of living, as well as in their pockets, enlist in a threshing crew.
The hobo is, as a rule, a very uncertain hand. He may be the best
pitcher in a threshing crew in Kansas one day and the next day ask
for a hand-out in Illinois. The college students, or bookworms, as
they are called, that are found in threshing crews are usually
those that look too able-bodied to arouse sympathy on the part of
their victims to make a success of peddling views, cook-books,
guide-books and other bric-a-brac. As pitchers in a crew they soon
see that it is easier to sit on a separator or rock on an engine
than to lug rations to the hungry separator and they soon make it a
point to get all the information necessary to enable them to take
care of an engine or separator themselves. The city laborer is
usually lured out by newspaper articles that describe harvesting
and threshing as being a kind of picnic where they work a little
while and then sit down behind piles of fresh boiled and fried
country eggs, and buckets of nice sweet milk and stacks of fruit
and slabs of pork chops and beefsteaks and ham, and barrels of
sweet cider and wine, and there drink and drink, and eat and eat,
and then work a little while again. Arriving on the scene, however,
he soon finds that he has to work two eight-hour days every
twenty-four hours. The country boy, on the other hand, knows the
game from start to finish. His chief aim is to earn enough money to
buy a real fast bronco, and a buggy from a mail-order house and
take his best girl out for a spin on a fine moonlight evening.

The thresherman, as a rule, is satisfied with fewer luxuries
than any other laboring man; he leads, indeed, a very simple life.
The wide and airy outside is his bedroom; a little slope of ground
is his bedstead; a few bundles of wheat serve as his mattress; a
quilt performs the three-fold office of bed sheet, pillow and c
over. To them he retires without fear of burglars or thieves, save
the wind which might spring up and carry off his hat, but after
placing a rock in his hat, he feels secure from Mr. Wind. A dog
might consider his shoes a tempting morsel to chew on, but should
he take one he would soon drop it and walk off with a sneeze and a
whimper.

There are two factors that often mar a thresherman’s rest at
night. The one keeps him from going to dreamland and the other one
disturbs him when he is there. The one factor is the mosquito. If
the aforementioned sloping ground is in a bottom close to a creek
and the night is warm and sultry, the mosquitoes are out in large
numbers trying to entertain the thresherman and the moment they
notice that he does not applaud their furious humming by slapping
and kicking around they at once land on him by the thousands and
spur him on to renewed efforts. About the only thing that will
persuade them to hold their concert elsewhere is a smoke-fire.

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