Submitted by Mark A. Corson
9374 Roosevelt Street Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Granddad Fred Bloede immigrated to the United States from Hanover, Germany. In 1886 he purchased three farmsone for his daughter and one for each son.
Eventually, he bought harvest machinery such as a Port Huron steam engine, which was a 75-90 double compound, high-pressure boiler, with a 175 1b. safety valve. This engine was used year 'round.
In the summer, the steam engine was used to run a 36x60 Port Huron threshing machine, Rumely 12-roll corn shredder, a 19-inch Pay-Pac silo filler, and an Enterprise clover huller.
In the winter, the engine ran an Enterprise saw mill with a 52-inch Simmonds blade (we sawed lumber for the Erie & Pennsylvania Railroads and also for the Studebaker & Pentergas Lumber Company).
This steam engine, which ran for 27 years, required two sets of flues that we put into the engine. This was no easy task, but because my uncle was 'thin,' and the Bloedes were 'round,' the combination worked well. When putting the flue in, Uncle had to go into the firebox and the Bloedes worked on the front end. This is when I, Elmer, learned the business.
At 14 years of age I began to help my uncle since it was my uncle's job to run the engine. My job was to get up early in the morning and to start the fire for the steam pressure. We did not like the performance of the Port Huron so we purchased a 36 x 64 Minneapolis threshing machine which came with a 16 ft. feeder on it, with a dividing board in the center, so we could pitch in from both sides to feed this machine.
The following story is one I will never forget. John Sunderman came to Dad and Uncle Clarence. He said, 'I want to thresh today since the weatherman said that rain is on the way.' Since John was a road contractor and had many men working for him, he said: 'I'll furnish the men to haul the grain to the bin, and two men will help in the field to pitch the bundles of oats onto the wagons.' Since they were hauling the oats away from the machine to the bin, this enabled us to put an extra man on each wagon to pitch the bundles into the machine. Since oats are easy threshing, we could push the machine to maximum capacity. We always had six to eight wagons hauling the oats in from the fields. So, by the end of the day, the oats were not the only things that were 'all in!'
We worked with 26 farmers harvesting grain. They were:
Goodhart Luebcke, Helmuth Luebcke, Ernest Luebcke, Charley Luebcke, Louis Homier, Louis Weiler, George Neises, the Cortwright Farm, John Popp, William Bloede, Clarence Lewis, George Procnoe, John Riethel, Herman Saager, Albert Bolt, Albert Miller, Paul Steiner, Emil Klemm, Paul Hen-ning, John Sunderman, Henry Sit-senstock, William Procnoe, Albert Saager, Harry Holmes, Charley Guske, and the Fredrick Farm.
Eventually, we put the Port-Huron to sleep before it would put us all to sleep! Today, this engine could have the boiler replaced and it could start up once again. Us 'old fogies' can't be replaced. This method was very labor-intensive as compared to today, when you can just sit on a seat and push a button!!