THRESHING IN THE EARLY 1900’S

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437 Jefferson St, Dalton, Illinois at Andover, South Dakota

Threshing in the early 1900’s was a big deal. Wheat fields
were large with an abundance of wheat, when the year yielded a good
crop.

Ernest Fette, Sr. (my father) owned three different types of
threshing rigs. The first one, purchased in 1910, was a 32 feeder,
Minneapolis separator and Hart Parr engine. The second was a
Buffalo Pitts separator and a Titen International engine. The third
was a Case separator and a Titan, 4 cylinder, engine in 1918. The
last two engines were operated by my brother, Arthur, as
engineer.

Here is a picture of my father, Ernest Fette, Sr. with his
threshing outfit at Andover, South Dakota, threshing wheat in 1912
with a Hart Parr engine and Minneapolis separator 32. The heavier
man with the felt hat on is my father. The two boys leaning on
their forks are Herbert and Ernest, Jr. Arthur Fette, separator
man, is standing by the engine wheel with his 3 sons. The biggest
of the two little girls at the right of the picture is me, Leona
Fette, who was his cook in the cook car in 1918.

The threshing outfit consisted of about 26 men. Our machines
were the medium sized outfits and used 16 bundle pitchers, 2 men to
a wagon, 1 engineer, 1 separator man, 1 flunke, 1 boss, 6 grain
haulers and 1 cook. They moved from farm to farm taking along all
their equipment in caravan style, including the cook car which is a
house about 30 ft. by 8 ft., built on wheels. A woman usually did
the cooking, which was my job in the fall of 1918. Breakfast was
served at 5 A.M., dinner at 12 noon and supper at 6 P.M. Good food
and lots of it was served. The whistles blew at chow time and
starting time.

The boss (Fette, Sr.) had to do the hiring and firing of the
harvest hands which he picked up at Andover whenever replacements
were needed. There were always about 30 or more men to choose from.
He also had to keep the cook with a good supply of food.

In 1918 our wheat went 40 bushel per acre, a bumper crop. This
crop would give us about 2000 bushel total per day to be threshed,
then hauled into town by grain tanks with 4 horses to pull them.
Andover had 6 large elevators where they hauled it to be
stored.

Those days are gone, only the memories remain. I loved every
minute of my experience with harvesting and threshing. I wish my
children could have experienced some of it.

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