| March/April 1971

  • Steam threshing engine
    16 hp. Russell steam threshing engine doing barn threshing, September 1906. LeRoy Blaker, age 17, standing at extreme left.16 hp. Russell steam threshing engine doing barn threshing, September 1906. LeRoy Blaker, age 17, standing at extreme left.
  • Esterline-Blaker barn
    Esterline-Blaker barn was 45 ft. wide, 105 ft. long and 21 ft. to the eaves. Threshing in September 1906. Barn was burned by spiteful fire-bug fiends in October of 1906.

  • Steam threshing engine
  • Esterline-Blaker barn

Alvordton, Ohio 43501.

As I was born on a farm near Minden, Nebraska, in the late 1880's, I will relate some of the most interesting incidents. Minden is located 130 miles west of Lincoln on U. S. Highway Route 6, and is the county seat of Kearney County.

My Grandfather, Samuel W. Blaker, and family moved there in 1883, or the year the B. & M. railroad was built. The State gave the railroad every other section of land for 20 miles back to get the railroad built and settlers in to settle there. Grandfather bought 160 acres of the railroad for $8.00 per acre. He was a Quaker from the Quaker settlement near Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

About my first remembrance of a threshing engine was a J. I. Case center crank engine that had poor drive wheels with loose spokes. I remember hearing farmers say they were afraid the wheels would collapse and cause an accident.

In the Summer of 1899, my oldest brother and our father had been to Minden to do their weekly shopping, and on the way home saw a threshing outfit working. Brother Will said the straw carrier was round and the straw was going out of it at a fast rate. Well, that proved to be a blower on the thresher.

Due to drought and grasshoppers, my parents and family moved to Calhoun county, Iowa, in 1900. They bought a 120 acre farm just five miles south of Rockwell City. Some of this land was natural prairie that had never been plowed. In that black soil, the plowman had to keep his plow bright or it would not slide off the moldboard of the plow.


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