Old Iron in Texas Peach Country

By Staff
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Reprinted from Rust Bucket Ramblings, newsletter of the Rio
Grande Valley Old Farm Equipment Club 712 La Vista McAllen, Texas
78501

1994 Fredericksburg Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club Show,
Stonewall, Texas. Model L Case tractor, 1936, Harry Seidensticker,
Comfort, Texas.

At the end of our Mercedes show several of our Valley club
members vowed they would reciprocate visitations to the Burton
Cotton Gin Show, April 16-17, and the Stonewall Show, June 25, 26,
1994. So it was that Alfred Townsend and yours truly made plans to
keep the vows intact.

Alfred has three engines, a 10 HP Krueger-Atlas Junior, a 9 HP
Fairbanks and a 6 HP John Deere, mounted on a four wheel cotton
trailer. Despite all arguments otherwise, he insisted on pulling
this rig to Burton. I followed, with a ’65 Chevy ton pickup
towing a four wheel tandem, 17 foot trailer loaded with a 1928
International six speed special truck. Top speed 34 MPH! When
Alfred exceeded that, the cotton trailer began whipping his 1986
Chevy one ton dually pickup with camper all over the road. 34 MPH
was the magic number! We made the 425 mile trip doing 30 MPH most
of the way. Had further complications when the right front tire on
the cotton trailer went flat. It was quickly replaced by a spare.
Had a chance to see lots of the country. The wild flowers were
resplendent in all their beauty.

During the Burton Show we decided to store our stuff in the
Stonewall area for the late June show. Harry Seidensticker,
Comfort, volunteered the use of his hay barn. So, after the Burton
Show we made our way to Harry’s barn, 25 miles from the
Stonewall show grounds. Stored the 28 IHC truck and the cotton
trailer with its three engines inside the hay barn next to a neat
threshing machine. We parked the ’65 Chevy pickup and trailer
outside the north side of the hay barn. We returned to McAllen in
Alfred’s camper.

White Lily 1 cylinder engine, serial number 600, 1907,
manufactured by White Lily Washer Co., Davenport, Iowa. Harry
Seidensticker of Comfort, Texas, also at Fredericksburg.

June 23rd I had an evening telephone call from Alfred who
suggested we should leave for Stonewall early evening the next day.
This would mean missing the heat of the day and allow him time to
get some crews ready for the maize harvest. By noon Thursday, I was
all set and waiting to go. Four o’clock no Alfred! Six
o’clock the same! Finally at seven, the phone rang. It was
Alfred. He had been in the process of delivering one of the
eighteen wheelers to the harvest area, and the truck ruptured a
brake line. After cutting some fancy dados in the neighbors field
he managed to stop the rig with only a badly shattered set of
nerves. ‘As soon as I finish eating, we’ll be on our
way.’ 8 p.m. we departed McAllen pulling Randy Morris’ new
17 foot four wheeled tandem trailer. No more 30 MPH for us.
We’d piggy-back that dratted cotton trailer back home! By 3
a.m. we were at the Stonewall show grounds. After a brief sleep and
an early breakfast, Randy’s trailer was parked and we headed
for Harry’s hay bam.

‘Marvin it looks like a bull took out your right front
sealed beam on the pickup.’

‘Must have been a real tussle, chalk up one for the bull.
Hope we can get the old truck started.’ (Starter had gone kaput
at the Burton show.)

‘Give me the crank, let’s try it.’ Four cranks, a
little choking and the engine roared to life. Hastily we hooked
Alfred’s camper to his cotton trailer, moving it out allowing
room to maneuver the ’28 IHC truck. Off the jack stands, and
out we started.

‘My gosh this thing steers worse than a tractor on
steel.’

‘Marvin, you’ve got a flat on the left front wheel,
let’s air it up.’ Air improved the situation considerably,.
but by the time the truck was on the trailer, the tire had gone
down again.

Mary, Harry’s spouse, recommended their regular filling
station in Fredericksburg as a good place for tire repair.

‘Alfred, you go ahead with your trailer to the show grounds
and I’ll take the truck to Mary’s tire repairman.’

‘That’s okay, but let’s eat lunch at that roadside
park where we turned to come down here.’

During our lunch, several carloads of people stopped to admire
the three engines and the old truck. One courteous young man
volunteered the information that the Goodyear store in
Fredericksburg had an excellent tire repair facility. Found the
filling station first. A full service station it brought back
memories. Watched with interest as the solitary attendant scurried
about pumping gas, checking oil, airing tires, cleaning
windshields, answering the phone, etc. After about 30 minutes he
politely asked if there was something he could do for me. ‘How
about fixing this flat?’ He took one look and stated,
‘I’ve never seen as split rim like that before. I’ll
have to pass on this one.’ Undaunted I headed for the Goodyear
store.

Greeted by six boys and a bustling crew of technicians, I headed
for the service manager’s desk. He was a six foot, blue-eyed,
husky young man with a confident appearance. ‘Young man, to
what do you owe your claim to honor and fame?’

‘We can fix anything.’

‘You can? How about looking at the flat on my truck?’ He
proceeded outside to the truck on the trailer. He looked at the
flat tire. His lower jaw dropped. ‘I’ve never seen a rim
like that.’

‘Well, it’s like this, I can leave this truck on the
trailer as a static display or get the tire fixed and parade it. I
have a rim tool for the rim.’

‘Oh, you’re here for the antique farm machinery show at
Stonewall. We’ll fix it for you.’

Off came the tire the rim tool was put to good use. It
wasn’t too long before a shredded inner liner and the tube had
been removed from the casing. Old patches peeled off the tube like
paper. ‘We can patch the tube, but we don’t stock a 600 x
20 inner liner.’ At this point I departed the tire scene
seeking a replacement sealed beam for the pickup. As I returned
from the auto parts store a pickup pulled in. A boy delivered a
brand new 600 x 20 inner liner to the Goodyear tire repairman. The
service manager installed the sealed beam. The inflated tire and
rim were placed back on the wheel. A good job, well done, by a crew
who met the challenge and seemed to relish it. ‘How
much?’

‘Is twelve dollars too much?’

‘Never, and thanks again for your efforts.’

As I motored eastward to the show grounds, made mental note that
this area is renowned for its healthful climate, pure water, angora
goats, and the best peaches in the world. Numerous roadside stands
and adjoining orchards were located along the highway. All were
open for business.

Upon arriving at the 35 acre showground, I noted that in the
eight hours since morning, exhibitors had moved in, in droves.
After unloading the truck and parking the trailer rig, I set out to
find Alfred. First person I met was Hume Baker of Sheridan, Texas,
who passed the time of day and told about Carl Symonds, Victoria,
Texas, who had just undergone heart surgery. He also indicated
Alfred was set up near the main gate. Drove the antique truck over
by Alfred’s exhibit.

A 1920 Fairbanks Morse, 25 HP, Billy Joe Helwig and June, of
Miles, Texas, at the 1994 Fredericksburg Show in Stonewall,
Texas.

I grabbed a camera and set out to see the sights. ‘This is
one of the finest displays of engines I’ve seen, ‘ remarked
a veteran exhibitor from Odessa, Texas. Engines varied in size from
monster to palm-sized, from common to exotic. All engines were
interesting, but the gem Harry Seidensticker had on display
produced a steady stream of engine aficionados. In 1984, Harry
located a 2 HP 1907 ‘White Lily’ air cooled engine. It was
manufactured by the White Lily Washer Company, Davenport, Iowa,
serial number 600. Piston is stuck and rod is broken, ignition is
jump spark from hot shot battery with buzz coil, sparkplug is
Champion X, four inch piston and four inch stroke. Over the years
the restoration has taken second fiddle to other more important
projects. Am glad to be able to report Harry has been able to farm
out the restoration to Sing Johnson, master-mechanic from the Rio
Grande Valley.

Other than several large steam tractors, the tractor side of the
show seemed sparse, however this changed suddenly. Tractors began
to arrive in hordes. By late Friday evening, the area reserved for
tractors was densely populated. The variety was terrific. Tractor
pulls began early in the morning and ran all day excepting time out
for the eleven o’clock parade.

Refreshment stands dotted the entire showground. Hot days caused
crowds to gravitate to the lemonade stands. Customers were usually
at least ten deep at the fresh peach slush concession. Live wheat
threshing and rope making demonstrations were conducted near the
display of antique windmills. The blacksmith wasn’t too much
envied because of his ‘hot’ work, but he didn’t seem to
mind.

Everyone enjoyed this show, exhibitors and spectators alike. I
remember with fondness attending my first ever show when it was
located west of Fredericksburg. The foresight and unselfishness of
Albert and Dora Meier in donating the thirty-five acre plot to the
club will long be remembered. This show has grown to be one of the
best in the state. Marshall and Jane Stone (Albert and Dora’s
daughter) and their daughter Krystal all pitched in to make
‘Grandpa’s hobby’ a 100% success. Good layout, adequate
space, good traffic control, competent management, and a multitude
of good people provided the basis for a memorable occasion (even if
we didn’t get to hear a ‘real’ oomph band).

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