| May/June 1970

  • Wagon
    Courtesy of John M. Hamilton, 2015 Arthur Avenue, Charleston, Illinois 61920
    John M. Hamilton
  • Old Witte engine
    Courtesy of Orville A. Hendrich, Route 1, Box 334, Palmyra, Indiana 57164, and with the permission of The Corydon Democrat newspaper of Corydon, Indiana.
    Orville A. Hendrich

  • Wagon
  • Old Witte engine

Box 137, Athens, Illinois 62613.

My first memories of gas tractors go back to the year 1927 when Frank Kallian and sons threshed at our place near La Valle in Sauk County, Wisconsin using a 16-30 Oil-Pull tractor and a 28-44 Advance Rumely Separator. This tractor was purchased in the summer of 1921 and was used for threshing until 1938.

That same fall, our neighbor purchased a used 18-32 Case tractor and used it in a Case Silo Filler. Then in the summer of 1928, he purchased a new Case 28 x 46 threshing machine and threshed in our run until 1934. I recall that in August 1931, while they were threshing at one of the neighbors the tractor developed valve trouble. They ran the tractor into a shed, attached a chain hoist to the rafters and pulled the head off. After this was done, they took the head to a machine shop in Baraboo, Wisconsin and had the valves ground. The last year I helped thresh around this tractor was in the summer of 1946. I recall that it didn't start too well when the motor was hot, so they let it run while we ate dinner.

It was also in 1927 that another neighbor bought a new Fordson tractor with a Ferguson mounted plow. As I recall, it had a lever to lift it out of the ground.

In those years, nearly everyone had a little corn to shred after the silo was filled. One of our neighbors had a Rosenthal 4-roll corn shredder and in 1929, he shredded at our place using a Fordson tractor for power. Then in 1931, he traded the Fordson for a new Wallis 20-30 tractor. I recall my Dad telling that when they were shredding corn at our place in the fall of 1932, our neighbor broke the shifting lever in the Wallis tractor and he used my Dad's staple puller to shift gears.

When the state of Wisconsin black topped all of the State Highways in the summer of 1937, this eliminated tractors with spade lugs from traveling on them. Since the neighbor with the Wallis tractor was now threshing in our run, he traded the Wallis tractor for a new Massey-Harris Model '25' tractor, equipped with rubber tires. I helped thresh around this tractor from 1937-1943 and