1967 Steam Thresher and Old Settlers Reunion

The caption that ran with a photograph similar to this one on the front page of the July 3, 1967, Missourian read, “Chaff spews from the muzzle of an ancient separator, adding to the pile of straw which small boys find irresistible. The scene was part of the seventh annual Cape County Steam Thresher and Old Settlers Reunion held on the Earl Kirchhoff farm north of Cape Girardeau Saturday and Sunday. Old farm machinery showed how things were done years ago. The event Sunday was attended by about 200 persons.”

Operating a Port Huron engine is serious business

I didn’t realize how many other frames I had taken of the event until I kept pulling negative sleeves out of the drawer. I’m printing them because I assume there are some steam engine fans out there who will be interested.

Kids loved the straw pile

There are probably 83 reasons why you couldn’t do this today, but THESE kids had a blast and kept lining up to go again.

Not sure where these were taken

I never did get clear on whether or not these photos were taken at what it now called the Chuck Maevers Memorial Gardens on the west side of Hwy 127 at Egypt Mills. Were any of you among the 200 who showed up for the event?

Photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. From a technical standpoint, these were taken at the absolutely worst time of day: noonish, when the sun was almost directly overhead making for horrible shadows. Hint: don’t shoot then unless you have no choice.


9 Replies to “1967 Steam Thresher and Old Settlers Reunion”

  1. It looks like everyone certainly had fun at this event but you missed the best picturs of all, Ken, by not being there about 15 years earlier when similar threshing machines were still in use in Southeast Missouri — the pictures of the farm hands lunch cooked and served by the farmers’s wives.

    I was just old enough during WW II to be taken by my grandfather to “the farms” during threshing, sitting at the long table with him and the field hands and seeing and taking from the heaping platters of fried chicken, the steaming large bowl of mashed potato, the hot green beans and, best of all, the platters of biscuits, butter, dishes of jam, pitchers of iced tea….etc etc. Those were the war years and food rationing so the food came from the farms, the farm wife’s chicken flock, etc. etc. Huge quantities and those fellows doing the threshing finished it all!!
    Those would be pictures to see again…

  2. My great grandfather Seth Rapp had the only threshing machine in the area of his farm just east of Benton, Mo., in the early twentieth century. He would take it from farm to farm at harvest time, where neighboring farmers and their families would meet to gather the grain they had grown each season. My grandmother told delicious stories of the groaning boards which would hold the food that fed the entire community each day of the harvest. Somewhere I my collection I have a photo of that machine, a great dinosaur-like affair that required a small crew of men to operate. I don’t miss the labor of those days, but I covet the sense of real community the work nurtured.

  3. Those photos were fun. Ever since I read Herbert Krause’s novels, maybe 40 years ago, I’ve wanted to see a horse-powered thresher and a steam-powered threshing operation like this. I never have, even though in my two sisters sometimes worked at a local horse-threshing festival in Minnesota — one that is no longer in existence. I think these photos are the closest I’ve ever come to seeing some of the things that Krause described in his novels.

  4. Ooh boy, live steam!! One of my fond memories is from the 1966? SEMO District Fair, where there was an Old Steam Treshers Reunion. Shelby Brown, from Jackson was a friend of the father of one of my school mates from grade school. I got to drive one of Shelby’s steam traction engines on the fairgrounds one day. What a thrill for a young boy!
    Last year over the Labor Day weekend, a group of friends of mine and I went to the annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Mt Pleasant, Iowa. If you are into live steam, old tractors, stationary engines and trains, it is a no-miss event.
    I have been out to Egypt Mills to the Chuck Maevers Memorial Gardens for one of the meets and enjoyed it immensely.

  5. Perhaps the Foeste farm out in Egypt Mills? I am pretty sure that is John Hall in image 45. I recall seeing some similar photos in the past of such an event. The pictures I saw had a few more shots of antique cars.

    If you like this kind of stuff, there is a big show in Pinckneyville each August.


  6. these pictures were not taken at the Ed Foeste farm. Im not sure where they were taken.
    In image 49, the lady with her purse on her head is Justine (Hengst) Huey Floyd. Must have been a hot day and no shade.
    Ed Foeste is in images 13, 31, 41, and 42.He also owned several steam engines.
    Yes, that is John Hall in image 45. He had a collection of steam engines and parts. He rebuilt many steam engines. He traveled in the US and Canada for his collection. But he sold the collection years ago. John married Ed Foeste’s oldest daughter, Verajean. The last I knew, John and Verajean lived on Hwy 177, north of Cape. Im sure they both have lots of pictures of local threshings and can answer some questions.

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