One Fifth Engine

7 HP Witte Engine

Content Tools

7821 Dewberry Lane Cedar Hill, Missouri 63016.

A friend, Tom Brown, told me about an engine in his neck of the woods belonging to an elderly gentleman. Amos' health was not good enough to buzz wood any longer. Tom did not know the size or denomination of the engine, but thought it should be in reasonable condition.

On a one hour Sunday afternoon ride, I located the farm, Amos, and the engine, all somewhat in disrepair. Thank goodness Bob Kitson went with me, as he is rather good at talking.

It seems Amos was a bachelor near 80 years old and was not looking for woman company, did not like tractors (and never owned one), preferred wood heat, did not like the cold, hated ticks, could not find a good pair of work horses, and you guessed it, did not want to sell the engine as he might need it to cut wood. But we COULD look at the 'one lunger,' a 7 HP Witte, not stuck, round gas tank, one piece block, drip oiler, crank, EK mag, and rod shield.

About a year later, I was in Potosi, Missouri, which was near the engine, and stopped to see Amos. Talked about all the same no's again, as if our first conversation had never existed and the 'one lunger' was still needed to cut wood, even though eight to ten years had elapsed since its last spark of life. (The engine was now stuck).

The next summer, I again checked on the Witte, but in the meantime Tom said, 'Amos liked to take a drink occasionally.' Before leaving home, I checked under the sink, and sure enough, there was a fifth of gin that was several years old. Put the bottle in my trunk and left with high hopes.

Upon arrival, I found Amos was a little under the weather, complaining he had the summer flu, so it was an excellent opportunity to prescribe an old Ozark remedy. He was well aware of the medicinal value of a liquor store and wanted me to get him a bottle, whereupon I mentioned there was one in the old Chevy.

Brought the bottle in and he took a rather healthy drink. Fact is, bubbles went up through the bottle indicating a large consumption was in progress. He then asked if I wanted a drink, but I declined, as I am not a consumer.

After a brief conversation Amos asked, 'Would you like to buy the one lunger?' I quickly replied yes and he indicated $225 was what he wanted. The price was not a problem, but I had no way to load the engine, so we agreed on the next day for removal.

That night I made a phone call to Don Berlemann, who came with a volunteer to help and offered the use of his tilt top trailer. Everything went smooth except over the last two years, the engine had grown a new addition, a large rat's nest.

Don was putting a chain around the hopper and a rat ran between his legs. From the excitement, it must have been a two hundred pounder. Sure made my day, and I had no idea a grown man could stay off the ground so long. (Must have never heard of Newton and the apple.)

The engine is pictured with a cart purchased from Arvin Shelton of Rolla, Missouri.