Replacing The Mule

| September/October 1989

This article reprinted with permission from the Humboldt Sun, Winnemucca, Nevada, July 20, 1988.

In times past, in Humboldt County, animals and man did all the ranch and farm work. Mules, horses and sometimes oxen did the plowing, harvesting and carrying under the guidance of man's mind and hands.

But shortly after the start of this century this began to change. Horsepower was no longer determined by how many horses a person had in his team but became a mythical number used to measure and rate the power output of a machine.

The mechanical tractor for farming and ranching came to Winnemucca and Humboldt County on May 29, 1913. It was a 20 to 35 horsepower Avery traction engine purchased by T. H. Guyon and M. B. Johnson. It was unloaded at the Southern Pacific depot under the guidance of L. A. Smith, the representative for the Avery Manufacturing Company of Peoria, Illinois.

The Silver State said on that date, 'This is the first machine of its kind ever brought to Humboldt County, and if it proves successful for the purposes for which it was bought, will no doubt be followed by many more.'

Guyer and Johnson, who were local agents for the Avery Manufacturing Company, ran the machine on the streets of Winnemucca for several days while they learned the intricacies of it, then it was taken down Grass Valley to show its stuff.