R.R. 2, Blue Mound, Illinois 62513
On July 22, 1972 my brother, Kenneth, and his son, Bernard, fired up their Keck Gonnerman engine and we pulled out into the field to thresh wheat. Temperature that afternoon was 94° in the shade - just right for threshing.
We had a large crowd, including my 88 year old Mother came to see us thresh. Some had never seen an engine and separator in operation and a good many had run machines in the old days. Then on August 8, we threshed oats. It was a nicer day, not so hot. Some of the people came back that were there when we threshed wheat.
My wife, Helen, counted about 125 different people that attended the threshing. She served iced tea, lemonade and cookies to all.
Several men and one woman took turns pitching bundles into the separator. When it was all over everyone said they enjoyed seeing the outfit at work. They wanted to know if we were going to thresh again in '73.
My Grandfather Uhll had steam engines when I was born. The first steam engine I can remember was a 10 HP Buffalo Pitts. My father was taking the engine to the Hupp Farm to thresh broom corn and I, being a little boy, rode in the coal box on the engine.
As I grew up I was always around steam engines. I can recall when I was still quite young, I would fire 16 HP Advance pulling Minneapolis corn sheller. Dad shelled some corn in the winter time. We had all dirt roads in this area. After the roads were muddy and all cut up, they would freeze up and be so rough you could hardly stay in a buggy. Taking a steam engine and sheller down those roads was quite a job. Sometimes a guide chain on the engine would break or an axle on the tank wagon. When the temperature was real cold, you had to drain injector hose when not in use or it would freeze up.
The grain haulers could not fill wagons very full on rough roads and many drivers would work alongside of their wagons on the way to elevator to keep warm.
Dad owned two corn shellers, two clover hullers, four separators and four engines. He had a big shop and did all of his repair work, such as rebabbitting bearings, putting in flues, stay bolts and other repairs, so I had a good teacher when it came to threshing machines.
Kenneth and Bernard Brown are owners of the engine and I own separator. Kenneth is on the engine and my Uncles Fritz and Curt Uhll brothers are standing beside engine. Courtesy of J. Everett Brown, R.R. 2, Blue Mound, Illinois 62513.
I remember the first time I fired at engine threshing. Dad had hired a man to run an engine. He had fired on the railroad. He would get his fire clinkered and before noon, he would be out of steam and have to shut down. He claimed the engine was too small for the separator, so Dad said, 'I will come in the morning and build my own fire and fire the engine and we will see if the engine is too small. ' Well, right up at noon he had three inches of water in glass and could make her pop off any time. The next day I took over the engine for the rest of the run and made it all right. I was 15 years old at that time. After that, I ran one of his engines or separators until 1935.
Guess this will be all for this time, but an old thresherman never gets all his stories told.