Our Neighbor's Rumely

| June/July 1996

6247 Euclid Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

I grew up with a Coleman tractor and my father's threshing ring on a farm near Coffeyville, Kansas. My job was to run the tractor. As you probably know the grain was brought to the thresher on 'hay wagons' piled high with carefully placed interlocking bundles. Careless placing led to losing part of the load while traversing the rough roads and crossing small creek beds.

Some fanners were justly respected for hauling a large and well shaped load. Others were resented as 'That loafer only hauls a shirt-tail sized load. We ought to make him haul two loads to our one, by God.'

'The wagons pulled up beside and parallel to the front end of the threshing machine. The driver then unloaded the bundles via pitchfork into the thresher. As you can imagine, the horses were normally a bit skittish as they were urged to pull up close to the whirring monster. They were always driven in with their heads away from the tractor.

Our neighbor, Harley, operated a similar adjacent ring but he used a Rumely tractor. Often when our tractor was shut down, I could hear its pleasant, melodious, tuba-like tones chuffing off in the distance. One day, maybe in 1936, we got news of an accident with Harley's outfit. I am still grateful that it didn't happen in our ring,

All was well and Slim had just finished unloading his hay-wagon. Sadly, as he drove the horses away from the belt side of the thresher, the near one swerved and switched his tail. The tail was caught in the belt as it passed over the thresher pulley and instantly the horse was tailless. He shrieked, kicked off his harness, and ran screaming away over the hill. When found, he was dead.