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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project



Osborn LININGER of Lincoln Township owned the first threshing machine in the county. In June of 1862, he tried to get by without paying taxes on the full value of the cost, which was $600. Because it was not paid for in cash, he had to pay on the full amount.

Sy CROSLEY is supposed to be the second man to bring a threshing machine into Ringgold County. This was in 1867. Then, in 1869, Levi TERWILLGER, who with the help of Henry BUNKER, ran it that year. This machine had a horse-power that had to be tipped off the wagon by tipping the wagon over on one side, then holding the horse-power utnil the wagon was tipped back and pulled away, and then the power was set down on the ground. This was what they called a "down power."

The tumbling-rod ran from the horse-power to the separator and was very dangerous as there was no covering over the knuckles, and it was apt to strip the clothes off a man that stepped over it.

Four or five span of horses hitched to the horse-power levers furnished the power. They went around and around the horse-power and over the tumbling-rod at every round. There was no straw carrier to this machine. The straw came out the back end of the machine and when a pile accumulated, the "bugged it away" with a rail that had a rope tied to each end and a horse hitched to the center of the rope.

The rail was placed behind the pile of straw and a man stood on the rail and drove the horse, dragging the straw to the straw stack. The grain ran out into a half-bushel and had to be emptied into wagons.

They kep tally of the grain by having pegs in rows of holes in a tally board. There were rows of holes for one-half bushel, 1 bushel, 100 bushes, and 1,000 bushels, and this tally board was also used for a step to get upon the separator.

The thresher men of today, no doubt, think this a crude machine compared with the threshing machines of today, but it was far ahead of the old "flail" or tramping out grain with horses or oxen and winnowing the grain in the wind.

LESAN, Mrs. B. M. Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937 p. 59. Blair Pub. House. Lamoni IA. 1937.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010

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