Veteran Subscriber Writes First Letter


| September/October 1971



20-60 case Engine

Mr. Somers 20-60 case and Red River special 28'' separator on the road to do a little threshing in 1964. The dog on the seat is Prince and he loved to ride on the engine going down the street. Courtesy of H. A. Somers, Andover, South Dakota 57422.

H. A. Somers

South Dakota

I was born on a farm two miles north of Rhodes, Iowa, in 1893 and can just remember when they used the hand feed separators and the straw carriers. In nineteen hundred we moved to the town of Rhodes, Iowa, where my folks operated a hotel.

Across the street from where we lived there was a sawmill owned and operated by J. W. Garris who was also an auctioneer. He owned two steam traction engines and did custom wood sawing, shredding, threshing and sawed lumber every spring. I was right there watching whenever the engines were steamed up. The engines were about ten and sixteen horsepower.

There was another man in Rhodes that had two steam engines about the same size. He did custom work also but did not have a sawmill. He threshed, sawed wood, shredded, and hulled clover. At that time there was a lot of wood used for fuel. Mr. Dewey was the first man around there to own a gasoline engine which he used to saw wood for his customers. That was in 1908. These men made a living doing custom work at that time.

The spring of 1908 our family moved to South Dakota and rented a farm three miles east of Conde where I lived until 1918. When I came to South Dakota, I soon learned that threshing was a lot more work than it was in Iowa. I did not pitch many bundles but sure shoveled a lot of grain. I could shovel either right or left handed so most of the time I shoveled left handed as there was usually two men shoveling in the same wagon box which held seventy-five bushels of grain which was mostly wheat. I had my own shovel which I kept polished so the grain would slide off easily.

In 1915 my father bought a Bull tractor and a two bottom plow which we used several years to plow and grind feed with. It wasn't too bad a tractor for the money. We paid $675.00 for the tractor and plow. The year of 1918 I moved to Verdon, S.D., and rented a half section of land. I lived on this farm for nine years. In 1920 I bought a used 10-20 Titan and used it to plow and grind feed with until 1927. This Titan didn't hardly cost me anything for upkeep in those seven years other than one set of rings and one connecting rod bearing.