| May/June 1979

Route 1, Box 259, Frederic, Wisconsin 54837

I first met Webster (Web for short) and Louise Mooney at 'Midwest Old Threshers', Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in the early 50s. At that time it was primarily steam enthusiasts and in a short time everybody knew everybody else.

Steam power goes back to 1890 when Web's dad, John, owned a Gaar-Scott thresher with a drag stacker and a Gaar-Scott 10 HP with a left hand flywheel. John lived at Whiting, Kansas, and visited his aunt at Nortonville. Here he met Tom and Dean Ryan who had a sawmill at Muscotah and he ended up firing their engine on their mill.

John got married and bought some acreage near a schoolhouse at Larkenburg. Here Web was born in 1903. A sister was born in 1905 and another son was born in 1910.

John owned two cows, a span of mules and a few hives of bees. Here he set up a sawmill and bought an 8 HP Nichols and Shepard, no. 5888. This 8 HP had more power than the Gaar-Scott which he scrapped in 1903. In 1911 he bought a used 13 HP Nichols and Shepard and a 32' Case thresher with a geared blower. He hired a separator man by the name of Carl Juelke.

Carl was a bit lax about filling the grease cups but quick to sketch 'Mutt and Jeff' in the dust collected on the thresher, not to mention other pranks.