The Second Tractor Around Wolsey, SD

A contributor recounts part of the life story of his father, who settled near Wolsey, SD early in the early 20th century and made his living breaking sod and threshing grain.

| March/April 1968

My father, C. G. Peterson, lived most of his adult life near Wolsey, SD. But I'm getting ahead of my story. He was born on a farm near St. Charles, Illinois in 1875. He grew to manhood in the St. Charles area. While a boy, he cut bands for a horse-power thresher. He mentioned Fila Plummer as one of the threshers. My grandfather was considered to be a good hand feeder and also able to stack the type of grain stacks of the era. You had to walk on your knees for one thing.

My father spent a winter in northern Wisconsin working in the logging camps. Then he spent a year in Oklahoma and finally came back to Illinois and took over his father's farming operation.

In the spring of 1901 he moved to a 120 acre dairy farm near Wayne, in Dupage County, Illinois. This farm was known as the Durfee farm and was near the famous Dunham Horse Importing Company.

The local thresher, a Mr. Munger, perhaps had the greatest effect on my father's future life. I never found out the make of equipment that Mr. Munger owned, but he had a 28' thresher and a huge, one-cylinder, portable gasoline engine. This monster was 36 hp. and pulled the 28' thresher with very little effort. My father was immediately convinced that here was something that beat either the horsepower or the steam engines that he had previously experienced. My father threshed with this outfit through the fall of 1904.

In 1902, my father's sister married a "Green Swede" by the name of Oscar Ringheimer. He went into partnership with my father in the spring of 1904. They tired of the year-round daily routine of the dairy farm and decided to go west. Thus they moved to a farm 5 miles west of Iroquois, South Dakota in the spring of 1905.

The Iroquois section of South Dakota was characterized by the large steam threshing rigs of the 36' to 40' variety.