20 hp. Case Compound engine and 30x60 N & S separator. Martin & Wager machine or rig of 1903 at Forest River, North Dakota.
1810 Avenue D, Ft. Madison, Iowa
Enclosed is an item clipped from the Threshermens Review in 1907. My father, E. C. Cook, of Brighton, Iowa, recently found this clipping which he cut from the magazine. The main reason he saved the clipping is that he was the engineer on this rig. The picture enclosed is an exact duplicate of the one that appeared in the Review with the article. Martin & Wager operated this rig. Martin, son-in-law of Wager, was the field boss and is seated in the buggy. It took some doing for them to get the rig. They bought the engine second hand with a note and then mortgaged the engine to buy the separator. Edd Krehbill of Donnelson, Iowa, was the separator man. He passed away several years ago. Albert Miller and William Young of Salem, Iowa, and my father are the only living old threshers that threshed in Lee and southern Henry County that I know of.
Also enclosed is a picture of a 12hp. Rumley purchased new in 1902 which my father operated. The picture was taken the same year. The following year father went to North Dakota to run engines. After proving his worth as an engineer he asked for and received practically double the pay of the average engineer.
The last picture is of father as he looks today. This fall he will celebrate his 84th birthday anniversary. For an old man he enjoys fairly good health. Ray Ernst of Wayland, Iowa, is a fairly close old thresher and they get to visit together once in a while.
If this is of interest and worth printing I might be able to get some more together. Father thinks I can be classed as an old thresher as I stayed out of school one fall for three weeks to run a 16 hp. Gaar Scott pulling a clover huller when I was just 12 years old.
Editor Review: Having noticed in your last issue a little joke at the expense of the Dakota thresher, I would like to submit a few facts, which I hope will prove that we are justified in trying to give our crew 'steady work.'
I don't believe there is any other place where the thresherman has as much expense to carry as we have here, and in order to make anything we are obliged to pay high wages and work long hours.
I operate a 36x56 inch separator with a 20 hp. engine, and to run this sized outfit it requires twelve teams and about thirty men. The wages running from $2.50 to $6 per day for men and $2.50 to $3 for teams.
We, of course, board our own crews, using a dining car which is large enough to set the entire crew. Also furnish a sleeping car, and these we always move along with the machine in the field.
And now, a few words about how we thresh. There are usually two may with each bundle team, so there are always four men pitching to the feeder, and they are kept pretty busy most of the time, too.
And when it comes to moving, I believe we can take the prize, as it is nothing unusual for Dakota threshers to move from 60 to 80 rods and be threshing in from 6 to 10 minutes.
In order to be a successful thresher here a man mustn't know anything but hustle, hustle, all day and half the night.
But somebody says, 'Why all this hustle?' Well, you see, there is an immense amount of grain to handle here, and it is nearly all threshed from the shock, and of course the farmers are always in a hurry to get their grain in the bins, as a little loss from bleach means quite a sum to a man who has from ten to twenty thousand bushels of grain.
The expense of operating a machine here is on an average $125 per day, and as the price for threshing is down at rock bottom, the thresher has to 'go some' to make ends meet. And there is no doubt that if the gentleman who 'wants work steady' was to find himself in the shoes of the thresher and realized that he was losing good money through his inability to secure good steady men who were willing to earn the money paid them for a day's work, he would change his ideas a little.
During the time that I have been a reader of your valued paper I have noticed very little correspondence from this state. Would like to see the threshers take more interest in The Review, as it would certainly be a benefit to us all.
Will send you a picture of my out fit at work in the field, showing a part of the crew.
With the best of wishes for the future of The Review, I am
A. G. Martin, Yours truly, Forest River, N. D. 1907