Cutting Wheat

By Staff
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1939 RC Case owned and restored by Herb Wessel, Hampstead, Maryland.
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Herb Wessel and Frank Davis cutting with Herb's Case binder and 1943 model S Case tractor. Herb on the binder and Frank operating the tractor.
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The five loads of wheat. Tractors, left to right, all Case: 1936 CC, 1939 RC, 1938 R, 1952 SC, 1955 400.

P.O. Box 1313 Hanover, Pennsylvania 17331

Preparation for the annual threshing demonstrations held by the
Mason-Dixon Steam Historical Society and the Maryland Steam
Historical Society begins several months in advance of the show
dates. One of the most labor intensive jobs performed behind the
scenes is the harvesting of the wheat crop. These two clubs joined
forces to cut and harvest wheat the old fashioned way on July 9,
1994. About eleven in the morning folks met at Herb Wessel’s
farm located in the rolling hills of Carroll County, Maryland. The
golden wheat field was a picturesque sight with an old country
church in the background and a brilliant blue sky and not a thistle
in sight! In preparation for the day’s work, Herb and Frank
Davis had already cut several rounds to open the field. The
equipment used for cutting was Herb’s 1943 model S Case tractor
and Case binder. The plan was to wait for enough people to get
several wagons and tractors going to bring in the wheat. We had
thirty-two people show up to help load the five wagon loads needed
for the two shows plus one wagon load for the Carroll County Farm
Museum’s Fall Festival. We had varying degrees of experience.
For each wagon, the ideal situation is two throwers (people on the
ground) person stacker (per on the wagon). The stacker has to be
careful in his work so the sheaves will stay on the wagon during
transport but will come off easily during threshing. An experienced
thrower knows where to place each sheaf for the stacker. For a
number of people these jobs were brand new and quite a learning
experience! We had enough people so that the jobs could be rotated
a particularly good idea in the July heat. Stackers included Fred
Miller, Frank Davis, Ray Cook, Chuck Knight, Henry Thomas, and
LeRoy, Gail and Levi Baumgardner. The throwers were an energetic
crew that included Linda and Henry Clark, Greg Jones, Mike Insley,
Annie Knight, Reuben Oliphant, Donald and Shirley Fleming, Mike
Grossnickle, John Ferguson, Ed Crooks, Harold Shaeffer, and Fred
Plunkert. Drivers of the tractors were Herb Wessel, Jim Gem mill
and Clarence Cook. Extra hands included Donald and Denise Warehime,
Dwight Smith, Doug Sullivan, Bob Troyer, and Kevin Gist.

All of the equipment used came from Herb’s collection and
included the following Case tractors: 1936 CC, 1939 RC, 1938 R,
1952 SC, 1955 400.

A most important and refreshing part of the day was the FOOD!
People not mentioned before and most important in orchestrating the
food were Mary Wessel and Nancy Marken. Food included sandwiches,
barbecue, chips, drinks, cakes, cookies and ice cream. Food was
served in Herb’s museum building amongst many artifacts of
early country life, including Herb’s 1925 Case Model X Suburban
Coupe car.

The wheat was then stored until the shows in September. The
Mason-Dixon Historical Society Show was held on September 10-12,
1994. The wheat wagons were brought to the show grounds and then
the wheat was threshed by using a Frick thresher owned by Brian
Bittle. The thresher was run by different pieces of equipment among
which were Minneapolis Moline (featured tractor of the show),
several John Deeres and other pieces owned by whoever wanted to
give their tractor a little workout. The straw was baled using
Mason-Dixon’s Ohio stationary baler powered by Dan
Spampinato’s 12-20 HP cross motor Case and LeRoy
Baumgardner’s 1911 single cylinder 25 HP Titan tractor. The
people who helped with this operation were Brian and George Bittle,
LeRoy, Gail and Levi Baumgardner. Harry and Harold Stahl, Leonard
Kemper, Jim Frampton, Otis Astle, William Sutton, Mark Hilker, Josh
and Ira Barnes, Cory Dillon, Dan Spampinato, Fred and Bob Plunkert,
Dean Myers, Clifford Holloway, Jr., and Larry Jones. Even though it
was a lot of hard work, friendships were renewed and an enjoyable
time was had by all.

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