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.
In 1927 I had a sale and moved to Andover, S.D., and bought out
a Chevrolet garage and have operated this business until the first
of this year when I retired. Forty-three years is a long time but I
have enjoyed every day of it.
In 1957 I bought a 20-60 Case Steam engine and spent a week
steam cleaning it and painting it. I had it in three parades and
threshed with it three different years. I ran it out in the country
three miles, two years, under its own power and we had a good crowd
both years. We threshed just off of highway twelve and twenty-five
so a lot of tourists stopped to see what was going on. I sold this
Case engine in the spring of 1967 to a man at Selby, S.D., and he
sold it to a dealer in northeastern Minnesota and he traded it off
so I don’t know where it is now. It got so it was too much work
to keep it up.
The summer of 1967 I bought a half scale 20-60 Case of Lawrence
Dahlman of Rosholt, S.D., and it is a perfect scale model. Have had
it two times at Madison, S.D., and two times at Foreman, N.D. It
performs perfectly. Mr. Dahlman has made himself a half scale 65
Case and it is just as good. I have attended ten different Steam
Conventions, and some of them four different years. This year my
wife and I were at Auston, Manitoba, Canada, for four days to their
show and rodeo and they put on one of the best shows I have ever
seen. We took a travel trailer and had a perfect place to park
within a short block of the action. They have a real good rodeo the
first two days. They have enough tractors and old machinery donated
to them to keep a crew busy for five years to get them all in
running condition. They also have a large museum, all under roof. I
did not see a beer can or a whisky bottle on the grounds while I
I saw an old engine that was made in 1882 and was never fired up
until 1964. It was a return flue 14 horsepower Mfg. by The N. G.
Peterson engine works of Sarina, Ontario. It was under steam every
day. Not many of these engines made.
This is my first letter to the Album. I have taken it for
fifteen years and am reading the old ones this winter.