Third Generation of Steam
Excerpted from the May/June 1978 Iron-Men Album
It all began in the year of 1912 when my grandfather [first
generation] purchased a new 18 HP single-cylinder, side-mounted
Buffalo Pitts. He purchased a grain separator at the same time and
began his threshing career, in and around Bagnell, Missouri. My
father [second generation] said when they unloaded it off the
flatcar there was a factory man with it to start them out on
This, not being a big wheat country, they would thresh about
three months and build roads and run a sawmill the rest of the
time. This was about par for the course for the next 15 years, at
such time they purchased a 27-44 Twin City tractor which they
threshed with until about 1937. My grandfather owned several
engines during this time, but sold all but 'Old Buffalo'
which he owned at his passing in 1939.
In the early 30s a friend of the family borrowed the engine and
the sawmill to saw a tract of timber and in the process had a fatal
heart attack while turning a log on the mill. The old outfit set
for some years and one day my father said 'Let's go get Old
Buffalo,' to my brother and I [third generation].
My brother and I cared for the engine while dad did the sawing.
I don't know why, but either we had plenty of water and not
much steam or was it the other way around? Well, I don't know
if any of you ever fired with green sycamore slabs or not but dad
being a very conservative sawyer; there wasn't much left but
sap. By this time the war clouds were gathering and Uncle Sam said
I Want You, and I was almost glad to go to get out of firing the
My brother and I were gone from 1940 to 1947 and in the meantime
dad had gotten an old car engine for the power unit for the mill.
One day a junk dealer came along and offered dad $50 for her and
dad said the man will give $50 for her and I don't guess we
will have any further use for her and I said he will give $100 and
lets keep the whistle, gauge, pop valve and babbitt out of the