| May/June 1956

Starks, Louisiana

I ENCLOSE MY RENEWAL for the ALBUM. I have every copy published except the first one, so have been with you almost from the start.

Perhaps few readers of the ALBUM ever threshed rice. Here in the rice belt of Louisiana and Texas it was all threshed until about 10 years ago, but it is nearly all combined at present. There is still some threshing here and there. I operate the only steam rig around here.

Rice growing here in the gulf coast country started about 1890 and within two or three years thousands of acres was in rice. Many people from the north, especially from the state of Iowa, came to buy the cheap land and help to start the industry. The towns of Jennings and Iowa were both established by Iowa people. They brought their farm equipment. Therefore rice growers had the best machinery of that day right from the start. Primitive methods of harvesting and threshing the crop were never used here.

Mr. J. F. Percival had a good article on the history of grain binders in the Sept.-Oct., issue of the ALBUM. He wonders why some McCormick binders were right hand cut. I do not know but I know they were the answer to the bull punchers prayer. A good many oxen were used to cut rice until around five or six years after the turn of the century. Now with a left hand binder the driver had to walk on the 'off' or right hand side of the team. An old time bull puncher considered this a disgrace, moreover the oxen were trained for their driver to be on their left. A new McCormick right hand was bought for our farm in 1906 and like all right hand binders sold here it came with two sizes of sprockets for the rear end of pitman shaft, the larger sprocket to be used with oxen to speed up the mechanism for the slower travel of the bull team.

I have used a right hand cut a great deal with both horses and tractors. There is no difference at all except of course they will not work on the same cut of grain with a left hand at the same time.