2821 Wilmington Road, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Old Timers Days in Xenia, Ohio, was held on September 25, 26,
27, 28, 1997. The weekend temperature varied from 46 degrees in the
early morning to 76 degrees in late afternoon. We had very low
humidity and absolutely sunny, beautiful skies. The weather could
not have been better for the meeting of so many people interested
in old machinery, tractors, engines, horses, mules, donkeys, and
On Wednesday evening, I drove to Xenia, Ohio, a 24 mile trip,
with my two John Deere engines and a John Deere garden tractor. I
arrived at 4:00 p.m. and found over 150 tractors already pre -sent.
I unloaded my John Deere and then began to look things over. I
looked around the grounds for two hours. I was really impressed! At
6:30 p.m. everybody was invited to come to the office for homemade
ice cream and cake. The Old Timers and their wives really put on a
real feed. Every single person was invited. The food was all free
Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m., I met my cousin’s wife for
breakfast and then went to the Greene County Fairgrounds to work
the front gate. I worked all morning taking tickets. It was really
fun meeting people bringing their prize possessions to the show. I
spent the afternoon and evening watching one gentleman, Charles
Merriman from the Old Timers, make bean soup over an open fire in
great big cast iron kettles. I think he was worried about the bean
soup, but the soup turned out really great. I was really impressed!
I spent hours of enjoyable time watching people bring their trucks,
trailers and their own specific worldly possessions to the Old
Friday, September 26, I personally counted 220 tractors, 90
garden tractors, 120 engines, one shredder, three threshers, one
silo cutter, one steam engine and they were still coming in every
few minutes. Lots of people do not come in until Friday because of
their work schedule.
Saturday morning, I got to talk to people who brought their
special engines. The feature engine at the show was Stickney. One 7
HP engine came from Milton, Ontario. The engine was in perfect
shape and ran real quiet. It was made in 1912. The same gentleman
had a 1907, 1? HP Stickney that he found in New York, buried in the
dirt. He showed me a picture of only one flywheel sticking out of
the ground. He had sandblasted the entire engine and replaced all
the necessary parts by himself. He is a machinist who is obviously
a real craftsman. Another engine that intrigued me was a 1902
Thomas and Smith hot air engine that was pumping water. I could not
really figure this engine out. A gentleman by the name of Wilbur
Barnett and his son Scott had a 1913 15 horsepower Reid engine
belted to a very old crosscut saw. The engine was used in
Pennsylvania to pump oil. Obviously, the engine did not know it was
belted to the cross cut saw. It was a really neat display. By
Saturday noon there were over 200 engines all doing what they were
meant to do. RUN!
Somebody taught me to shear sheep. So, Friday I sheared four
sheep with a real coat of cockleburs on a year and a half’s
growth of wool. Saturday I sheared ten feeders lambs and Sunday I
sheared 10 more feeders lambs. Lots of people did not know what I
was doing. I think a lot of city people learned a lot. It is kind
of fun to shear sheep and watch and listen to the comments. I have
been shearing sheep after school and Saturdays for forty years.
Some people do not know that wool comes from a sheep. So, everybody
had fun watching me do this kind of hard job.
All four days, Russell Luse and his crew shredded corn, filled
silo and threshed wheat. Each day somebody else would belt their
tractor to the different machines. One particular day, a 1920 Huber
steam engine was used to power the thresher. Everyone was
interested in the power generated by the use of wood and a coal to
produce steam to power the thresher.
Bill Finkbone had his portable saw mill working all four days.
Each day a different tractor was used to saw the wood. The person
supplying the trees got his wood sawed into one by fours and other
appropriate sizes. A rather large pile of lumber was piled in neat
piles by the end of the four days.
From Wednesday through Sunday evening the ice cream crew was
busy making homemade ice cream in five gallon ice cream makers.
Each ice cream maker was powered by a small gas engine. It was
really neat to see people watching the ice cream being made.
The Old Timers had a horse, mule, and donkey show on Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. They were busy each day working and showing
their animals. It was fun to see the animals perform. They were
The flea market and craft show was a popular event. The
fairgrounds was crawling with people looking at the various craft
items for sale. There was something for everybody.
The feature tractor was Massey Harris and Massey Ferguson. They
were well represented. The one item that attracted my attention was
a self propelled Massey Harris combine. I think the cutting head
was about six feet. The size of the self propelled combine was
really small compared to today’s John Deere combines.
John Deere tractors were the most numerous. From the huge 830 to
a small BR, John Deere was there! I believe every tractor make was
present. I know the following were there: Allis Chalmers, Avery,
Cockshutt, Oliver, John Deere, Ford, Massey Harris, Massey
Ferguson, Farmall, International Harvester, McCormick Deering,
Caterpillar, Minneapolis Moline, Case, Ferguson, and Huber. If I
left some out I am sorry, but I think my inventory is accurate.
Over 300 tractors were finally shown at the show.
In a special tent were some valuable displays. A 1929 Ford Model
A pickup seemed to be to be in perfect condition. Pedal tractors,
model tractors made of wood, a working steam display, and
stationary baler were some of the items in the special tent.
The garden tractor display was well represented. I know that
over 150 tractors, rototillers and other small items were shown.
One gentleman had a great display of John Deere patio tractors in
their original colors. They all ran to perfection in their
restored, painted condition.
Bigger is not always better. But, the Old Timers had the such a
large display of so many different attractions that I believe no
one could go away discouraged. The cost was $2.00 and Friday was
senior citizen day for half price or $ 1.00.
If you are in southern Ohio the last weekend of September of
1998,. please come to Xenia, Ohio, Greene County Fairgrounds, and
you will be impressed.