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Preserving History

G Willikers

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
06/03/2020
This came to mind just last week.
Never put off to tomorrow what you should do today!
We are all guilty of this. One of my tractors has some local history. When I got it, several years back, I contacted some family members of the old owner in case they might know of some parts, or just have some history on it. They did not have any of that, but the man I talked to, who's wife was related to the old owner, said the wife had a photo album with some pictures of the old tractors. Naturally, I asked if could see them. He said he would ask the wife and get back to me.
They did not get back after some time, so I called again. She basically said don't be bugging us. I think there were family issues surrounding the whole thing.
I talked to a local lady who was the town historian, so to speak. She said she would talk to her. I talked to the wife's brother. He said, aw, she is an old b.... and I'll get hold of her. So I just left it to others to do the digging, not wanting to ruffle a lot of feathers. I heard nothing back.
The wife died some time ago. I saw the man at the local bank last fall and mentioned the old pictures. He said he would look around. Naturally, I should have kept on the case and phoned him, or stopped by. I put it off for reasons not really certain now. He passed away earlier this year. Recently, I was by the house and his truck was still there, so the house had not been sold. I tried getting contact info for the son with no luck. Finally left a note in the door with my request.
Last week, I went by and the son and his wife were there mowing grass. I had a nice chat with them. She said they have been cleaning up the house and there were some photo albums, She said she gave a couple to her daughter who really had no interest. She went into the house and brought up a photo album and gave it to me. There were no tractor pictures, but some nice local pictures of old buildings. She said just keep it because none of the family wants this stuff and it will all go to the dump when the house is finally put on the market.
Funny, they both said they watch shows like American Pickers and can't believe what value people put on this old stuff. However, they are still tossing it out.
Sorry, long winded story, but the point is, do not be like me and put things off. I should have went over there years ago and, maybe not got pushy, but at least tried harder to get the material and not worried as much about hurting feelings. Obviously, none of them valued this material.
Don't put things off. Don't assume everyone values the past. Once it is gone, it is gone!
 

FWurth

One Millionth Post
Last Subscription Date
07/29/2019
Unfortunately that's the way most folks are. Went through the same thing with my mother in ,laws family. They had a pile of pictures of the familys farming operation, including pictures of the big steam engine. Tried for years to get to see them, no way! I know for sure it all went on the burn pile when they cleaned up to sell the place. My own siblings are no better, one sister took the family albums and won't share, my uncle did the same to Dad and their family albums. Just being jerks because they can.
 

Russ Hamm

Subscriber
Age
61
Last Subscription Date
10/12/2024
I try to buy up old pictures of people at the junk stores because its really sad that they are there, forgotten in most every
case, no way to ever identify them without many years of effort. But I never let any pics of our bravest and best sit in a
box in an antique store, always wanted to have a wall to post those on unidentified to honor their service even if nobody
else remembers other than one day a year.
 

OldThresherM

Registered
Your post got me to thinking G.When I was a kid,my mom cleaned house and cooked lunch for a Mr.Everett Etchison.He was born in 1904,and as a young man he left NC to chase the threshing circuit in the Midwest.One of his favorite tractors was a 20-40 opposed Case.Later,he returned home and sawed lumber almost till the day he died.He was a true sawyer with sawdust in his veins.I remember how he would fire up the sawmill around 7am,saw till exactly 12 noon,eat lunch,file the saw teeth,and resume sawing promptly at 1pm.Quitting time was 5pm.All by the tick tock of his pocket watch...….in the pocket of those Pointer brand overalls.I witnessed living history in the late 1980's,but I was too busy being a kid to really notice.I recently looked up his obituary,and found his old address.The property is owned by his grandson now.I am writing a letter to Mr.Etchison's daughter and grandson to see if they will let me visit the old sawmill,and take some pictures.It would be so neat if they had some pictures of his threshing circuit days.We'll see...…..
 

BMyrkle

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
03/13/2020
When I was a kid, I showed some interest in genealogy and family history, and talked about it here and there with some of my older relatives. I took time to look through their old photo albums and listened to their stories.

Without even working very hard at it, I just let it be known that I was interested in that kind of stuff. Then, over the next 40-or-so years when people had an old photo album or stack of hundred-year-old letters that no one else wanted, they gave them to me. Now, I have a pretty large collection of family history items and memorabilia that all would have been lost if I hadn't been there to take it.
 

Jeff Blaney

Subscriber
Age
32
Last Subscription Date
01/25/2020
I was rather friendly with an ex Minneapolis-Moline/Waterloo agent in Port Burwell, Ontario named Loyall Granger. I had talked about paying him a visit to pick his brain and basically interview him about the whole operation. Needless to say I never got down there. One day I called and learned that he had passed away. Now the information is gone! I still kick myself every so often about that one. He was a real nice guy too.
 

G Willikers

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
06/03/2020
It sometimes works the other way though. A couple of people have given me material, including books, photos, and even a steam whistle, saying please keep them because none of the "kids" want this stuff and will just throw them in the garbage! These fellows were in their 80s and 90s, so the "kids" were probably well along in years too!
 
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Jeff Blaney

Subscriber
Age
32
Last Subscription Date
01/25/2020
I've had a similar experience Rick while investigating the history of items in my collection. Family members of past owners have given me photographs, not necessarily because they were garbage, but because they knew I would value them more. They were probably collecting dust in a box anyways.
You and I have spoken before about the power of the internet. Despite this equipment being 100 years old in some cases, documents, contacts and new leads regarding their history is still available if you are patient enough and hit the right key words.
 

ihredo4

Registered
I love local history as well as my families history. I live less than a half mile from where my 4th great Grandparents bought the land and started raising our family. This was in 1842 in NW Idiotnois. Anywho started asking questions in the early 1980's of my grandparents, family etc and got boxes and boxes of info/pictures left to me. About 20 years ago I went to an auction in this township and happened onto a ledger from the 1890-1920 era. I recognized some names and that it was from the township itself talking of road repairs, ditch's being cut, grading, etc. Don't know what I paid for it but it wasn't enough. Got home and while reading thru it i find entries for my great great grandfather and his boys using their Advance Steam Engine building the roads and ditches here. I LOVE finding stuff like this and cherish EVERY piece I get. The property I'm on now my great grandparents bought in 1921 and i can track in pictures nearly every tractor that's worked here. Fortunately my family were a bit of hoarders with pictures, diplomas, postcards, etc. 4 generations of diplomas and wedding certificates are still in my possession. Kinda cool being the one the family turns to to unlock their questions, history etc. I know I went off topic but thanks for bringing this topic up. After feeling worthless lately I appreciate you bringing my attention to something I'm at least a little useful for. Thank You.
 

tharper

Registered
I had a similar experience. I met a gentleman who as a young teenager actually drove a 10 ton Lombard tractor (one of six being delivered to Ed Lacroix in 1928) from Waterville, Maine to Jackman, up through Quebec to Lac Frontier and then through to Churchill Lake. He then spent a week or so hauling supplies to various outlying logging camps. Later, in the 1940's he drove a Lombard tractor for Cleave West near Errol, New Hampshire. Fortunately he wrote these stories down. However, later, in the 1950's, he found himself back at Churchill Lake. They were cleaning out the old Lacroix clerks office and had a burn pile going. He ended up salvaging 8 large clerk books and boxes of corporate records. All of which dealt with Lacroix large logging operations using Lombards and the construction and operation of his Eagle Lake & West Branch Railroad. (The famous "Ghost trains" of Maine) Over the years he had translated many pages of the clerks books and letters from french to English. I tried to get the books and letters themsleves but assumed that they would go to a museum.... wrong... a manuscript he wrote and the few pages of the clerks books and letters did make it to a museum but the actual books and letters with no doubt a ton of information have disapeared. I have yet to beable to make contact with his one surving son.
 

Oilpulled

Registered
Last Subscription Date
12/20/2015
I bought my 1912 30-60 E Oilpull in 1969 at Old Mill State Park north of Moorhead, Mn at the time when I was raising a family from age 0 to 4 years old. I got a little history that it built roads its first seven years at Collins Construction Co. in Lacota ND and that the 8 + 5 = 13 bottom plows, extension rims and the plow guide had been junked. I never got time to go back and check for more details.
I got the story of my great grandfather inventing the corn planter and showing it to his neighbor, George Brown, who got a patent on it and claims to have invented it. That story has been passed down since the 1800s. We still have that farm where that first corn planter was first used. They bought that farm in 1834.
My mother's brother's widow got rid of a big box of photos & letters which I happened to get to search through. I saved a few pictures and the letters were not of known relatives. One picture is a nice cabinet picture of a Gaar Scott threshing scene and crew. Names not known.
I have a Remington .44 1858 New Model Civil War revolver which I bought from Dad. He always told of it being from Six Gun Swift. After Dad died we went through his trunk and we found the letter from Six Gun Swift giving him the revolver. We went to near Galena Illinois where the letter was mailed in 1922 and we found some relatives and records. Later I found Six Gun Swift's ad in a 1923 magazine on the internet selling a rifle described in Dad's letter.
 

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