'Thrashing' Memories Appear In A Cloud of Steam

| March/April 1976

  • Harvey Hoffman
    Harvey Hoffman and His Steam Engine in 1921, Harvey G. Hoffman of Elizabethtown bought this Frick steam engine and related implements and ''went thrashing.'' Now 88, Hoffman recalls with pride the days his arrival at area farms was ''the biggest show on
    Dick Sarge

  • Harvey Hoffman

The cry was 'Here comes Harvey' and the farm lads waved their straw hats at the sight of Harvey G. Hoffman chugging up the lane belching smoke with his 'thrashing' rig pulled by a huge Frick steam engine.

To the youngsters and oldsters alike in northwestern Lancaster County, the arrival of the Hoffman caravan meant just as much a thrill as the river people in the Midwest with their 'Here comes the Showboat.'

Threshing or 'thrashing' as the old-timers called it is the payoff in wheat raising and Hoffman, now 88, figures that 'close to a million' bushels of wheat were processed through his machine.

Hoffman got his start in the Milton Grove area, helping his father, Samuel Hoffman.

But, in 1919, he bought the property on Anchor Road between here and Rheems where he still lives today, moving in the following year.

In 1906, he married Katie Stump, who lived 'out Ridge Road a ways.' They had 10 children and enjoyed 60 years together before she died in 1966.