Cecil Craun: Third Generation Thresherman and Sawyer

| May/June 1992

  • Oliver 99 Tractor

  • Oliver 99 Tractor

Rt. 2, Box 7l6 Bridgewater, Virginia 22812

This article is written to help younger generations understand a segment of how farming was done over a one hundred year period and to let the older fellows reminisce a bit.

Third generation thresherman and sawyer Cecil Craun grew up on a farm fronting the old Valley Pike (U.S. 11) in Augusta County close to Mt. Sidney, Virginia. His paternal grandfather did threshing and sawmill work in the community and owned a barrel head mill. His father threshed, sawed, and baled hay. Cecil's mother's family were also machine operators.

Over the years Cecil's father operated one Geiser, one Frick, two Case, and two Red River Special machines. These were powered with a Case 34-54 steam engine and later with a 28-50 Hart-Parr. The largest amount threshed in any one day was 2,300 bushels; the largest amount threshed in any one week was 9,600 bushels. In his best year, he threshed 94,000 bushels total. The crew generating these impressive totals consisted of six in the mow, three on the straw rick, and three bagging grain.

At thirteen years of age, Cecil hauled water for the steam engine with a Model T Ford truck. He would get water from the spring nearest the farm where the threshing was done.

Father and son threshed wheat in the same barn for the same farmer for 43 consecutive years. Some of the best yields per acre on this farm during these years were 49 bushels of wheat and 100 bushels of oats. The Crauns served a large community that extended from Mt. Crawford to Staunton and Seawright Springs to New Hope, Virginia.