THIRD GENERATION OF STEAM


| May/June 1978



20 HP double cylinder Keck

20 HP double cylinder Keck Gonnerman and a scale model of same built 1969-1975.

Route 1, Box 86-U, Brumley, Missouri 65017

It all began in the year of 1912 when my grandfather purchased a new 18 HP single cylinder side-mounted Buffalo Pitts. He purchased a grain separator at the same time and began his threshing career, in and around Bagnell, Missouri. My father said when they unloaded it off the flatcar there was a factory man with it to start them out on it.

In order to get to their home they had to cross the Osage River. This was accomplished by loading on a barge for the crossing, which almost swamped it, dad thought. This, not being a big wheat country, they would thresh about three months and build roads and run a sawmill the rest of the time. This was about par for the course for the next 15 years, at such time they purchased a 27-44 Twin City tractor which they threshed with until about 1937. My grandfather owned several engines during this time, but sold all but 'Old Buffalo' which he owned at his passing in 1939.

In the early 30s a friend of the family borrowed the engine and the sawmill to saw a tract of timber and in the process had a fatal heart attack while turning a log on the mill.

The old outfit set for some years and one day my father said 'Let's go get Old Buffalo,' to my brother and I. Needless to say, we were tickled pink to be in on this trip. We got the necessary buckets, funnel, wrenches etc. to make her ready for firing. We carried water for what seemed like an eternity before it came into sight in the glass, but at that point you could see progress even though small. Dad had laid the fire while we were carrying water and since it was showing in the glass, he touched the fire off and we finished filling to his satisfaction. To the best of my knowledge there wasn't a leak any place. By this time the water was beginning to boil and in a short time we could turn the blower on and the fire burned brighter and the steam began to raise faster and in a few minutes we had enough to fill the head tank and in a few minutes we were on our road home: the unheard of distance of six miles. This was on a Saturday and when night fell we were about half way home by a creek, so we took on water and got some big sticks of wood to bank the fire with and went home for a well earned supper.

The next morning we went back and kindled the fire; in a short time we were on our way home. While we were going along we would blow the whistle long and loud and several people heard it and came running to see the old engine running again and as I remember it, my mother had to set a dinner table for about 25 people that day. We went back and got the sawmill a little later and set it up and began sawing for ourselves and our neighbors.