Jeff and Sherri Broadhead included their families' histories with steam engines on their wedding day by holding the ceremony on a 1919 Aultman-Taylor.
Jeff tells the story
This is the first time we've written to the Album. I have enjoyed reading your magazine for several years now. Both my grandfathers had steam engines, and the family still owns most of them, including the Minneapolis Granddad McClure bought new in 1923. Some of Granddad's engines were on the cover of the March-April 1954 Iron-Men Album. My uncle, two brothers and I still collect them.
This story is about one in particular, a 1919 25 HP Aultman-Taylor purchased about seven years ago by my uncle and brother. The engine was in very poor condition. Several castings had been broken and welded back together. It had two-inch pipe welded in for flues. The flue sheet hand hole plate was welded in and feed water pipes were welded into the side of the boiler, as well. So there was quite a bit of work to be done.
My brother is a die-hard Advance-Rumely man and often cursed the crippled beast and called it a would-be Case. I, on the other hand, like Aultman-Taylor engines and was very upset that he owned half of a fine engine he didn't like. So, about halfway through the restoration, he sold his share out to me. After four long years, the Aultman-Taylor was pretty much complete, so off to the first show we went.
My idea of a perfect wedding was to have it on the 25 HP Aultman-Taylor when we have our annual threshing. Every third weekend in July, we run two separators, saw lumber, and plow about four acres with the big Aultman-Taylor. So, I told Sherri we could plow till noon, run the engine to the house, get hitched, have a big dinner and get back to plowing! However, Sherri had other ideas, but I did get the engine and the bibs. We hauled the engine to my house in June 2000. Then on July 15, 2000, we got married on the platform of the Aultman-Taylor.
I have to tell you the first time I was around Jeff, we were in a room and everyone was laughing because Jeff was full of jokes. I think his laugh was enough to make anyone laugh. That night he brought his 1931 Model A Ford and he gave some people a ride in his truck. Finally, one night he offered to give my friends and me a ride in his Model A. After that we started hanging out together, and our first date was a trip to DeWitt, Iowa, a steam show on Winston Smith's farm. Jeff would always say, "I'm never getting married, and if I do, it will be on a steam engine." He made it very clear that he would not wear a tux, that he would only get married if he could wear bib overalls. After two years, he finally proposed, the Christmas of 1999.
It was a beautiful sunny day, all the people were gathered, Jeff and the preacher were on the platform as they started to play the wedding march. There was no bride. Jeff then announced, "I got left at the altar." The bride had to wait on the mothers because they were inside making tee shirts which read, "We survived Jeff and Sherri's wedding " with a picture of the steam engine on it. The fireman, Jay Whitford had a full head of steam on the engine. Jeff kept looking at the steam gauge during the ceremony, wondering if it was going to pop off. After the preacher pronounced us husband and wife, we both turned around and blew the whistle. We then went for a fast getaway in the Model A, but someone stole the keys. So Jeff started taking the dash off to hot-wire it. Then his Dad walked over with the keys and said, "I'm not gonna keep bailing you out." We drove off and lived happily ever after, so far.
When we got back, Jay and Lowell Burden had the Aultman-Taylor chained to a stump trying to pull it out of the ground. The ground would shake, but the stump wouldn't come out. Then they ran the engine up and down the big hill in our yard and made lots of noise. What a day!
Contact Jeff and Sherri Broadhead at 1925 N. 900th Road Tennessee, Illinois 62374.