Historic Event

By Staff
1 / 3
View of Aermotor and pump inside wooden windmill.
2 / 3
Les in front of the windmill.
3 / 3
Old wooden closed-in windmill covered with vines in Ferrisburg, Vermont.

RR #1, Box 165 Windsor, Vermont 05089

It was a hot evening in August. Everyone was just sort of
hanging around. The phone rang. My wife answered-a call from a
relative. They talked and my wife hung up the phone.

Guess what! Her brother Joe called to say he had run across
someone with three engines he wanted to sell. That perked the ears
up a little. I’d probably be up north in a week or so and would
check into this important matter.

A few days went by and brother Albert called and was interested
in knowing if I had checked on the engines yet. He said he drove by
the place and there was an engine dragged out and set in front of
the barn, and if I was interested I’d better be getting with

I decided I’d go the next day and see what the story on the
engines was. It would be about an eighty mile trip one way, but so
what; it was for a good cause.

 I decided to take the car instead of the truck so I would
have a better ride, and I thought I probably couldn’t strike a
deal anyway. All the way up, I wondered what kind and how big or
small these engines were.

Stopping by in Shoreham, Vermont, I picked up my brother-in-law,
Albert, who was to show me the rest of the way there. We proceeded
the rest of the way, and stopped by the barn to view the engine in
the yard. It looked like an old Stover, about 5 HP, no tag, and
rusted as if it set in ensilage for 20 years, but it was pretty
much all there. Another good project to help save the past. That
was one engine, but where were the other two?

We drove down to the house and rapped on the door. A very nice
gentleman answered and, after the formalities, agreed to show and
discuss the engines. His name was Les. He slipped into his barn
boots and came outside. ‘Would you like a ride over to the barn
in my car?’ I asked. Les thought I ought to see the one in the
building near the house first, and I agreed.

I gotta tell you about Les. He probably weighs a pound for every
one of his seventy-nine-plus years of age. When he walks, it’s
tough to keep up with him, so I would run a little to try to keep
up, even though he’s nursing sore ribs from a fall on the farm.
Both he and his wife are very knowledgeable and a real pleasure to
converse with.

Les was headed towards what I thought was a broken off tree
covered with vines. I hesitated and asked where he was going, and
he stated he was going in there. I scratched my head and asked what
kind of a building that was, and he quickly stated-a windmill! I
got the picture fast. He pulled some vines aside and opened a
wooden door and I was dumbfounded. As best I could see, inside and
totally enclosed, and built of wood, was a very, very old windmill.
It was dark inside, but my staring eyes caught the glimpse of a
pump handle and what I guessed was an Aermotor hooked up to it. It
was an Aermotor, and in my excitement I quickly said I was
interested in purchasing it. We proceeded to drive to the barn to
see the other two engines. We stopped near the Stover, and Les
related how it had been on the farm as long as he could remember.
It was used to blow ensilage into the silo and Les said it did a
noble job for many years.

What about the third engine? Les took us over to one of the
equipment storage buildings and slid the door back and scrambled to
the other end of the building, crawling in and around the reaper
stored inside. ‘It’s a small engine and runs well, or used
to-I don’t know if you can see it under all this stuff,’
said Les. I’m about two or three times the size of Les, but I
wiggled around until I could see some of the engine. A wood-chuck
had decided to burrow a hole into the building right near the
engine and mounded earth up around it. I could see enough to know I
was interested. Oh! Yes! It was a one horsepower Stover model

I moved over near Les and we talked about value, and then Les
said something which made my heart sink. I didn’t have first
chance-what a blow! I mentioned that I had come a long way and was
disappointed to hear that. Les had promised the local IH dealer,
who sold him all his farm equipment, a look-see when he got the
engines out. A promise is a promise, and Les was correct. Les
promised to call me in the very near future as to the outcome with
the first choice, and after talking awhile, I headed for home
knowing only that I’d seen the engines but wouldn’t get

About two days had passed when the phone rang and it was my
friend Les. I asked if he called with bad news, and he allowed that
he didn’t think so and I could have the engines at a certain
price if I wished. No hesitation-‘I will be there first thing
in the morning.’ Well, the next day, I asked my friend Ed if he
would go with me. He agreed. We took my pick-up and headed up. Ed
had not been there before, and when I missed a turn and forgot
where the turn was, I think my good friend Ed was getting a little
perturbed with me. We only went about 10 miles out of the way, but
the important thing is, we got there.

We followed a tractor to the house, and found out later the
driver was Les’s son Bill, and Bill’s son. They live next
door and work the farm with Les.

The tractor with bucket came in handy when we loaded the old
five horse Stover model ‘T’. I had my friend Ed rig the
engine for the lift onto the truck. He operated a crane for Miller
Construction of Windsor for over thirty years. I think he was
overqualified for the job at hand.

The loading of all the engines went well and, after talking some
more, we headed for home. Unloading the engines went well, and Ed
and I looked at and discussed the engines. Ed mentioned that the 1
HP Stover was missing not only the tank but the mixer. My wife and
I drove right back the very next day, and Les and I hunted for the
missing parts. Les thought they may have been stored over the
woodshed. We hunted, and Les dragged out a wooden box which he
thought belonged to the big Stover. It turned out to be the coil
and battery box, and the coil was still inside-good find! Les’s
wife and mine had been talking while we did the hunting.

The tank and mixer were not to be found, but Les said he’d
look some more and call if he found them. I thought the chance of
finding them was slim. A day later the phone rang, and Les said he
had found them-what a relief!

Ed and I drove up to pick up the parts, and while we were there
a couple of corn shelters bought their way onto my truck. I’m
still waiting for another call from Les telling me he found the
missing handle to one of the corn shellers.

In the meantime, I’m looking into restoration funds for the
old closed-in wooden windmill. Les’s wife related that it is
the last, or one of the last, mills of its kind in the area. She
would like it restored for future generations, and I agree, but it
will take outside money to do it.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines