The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

The restored Almena barn was restored and rebuilt on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.

In the spring of 2016 a new structure arose on the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association.  This was a barn that had been originally built in the 1880s near the small village of Almena, Wisconsin.  The Village of Almena is located in Barron County in Wisconsin.  Indeed the Village of Almena is located on the  eastern boundary of the “Town” of Almena.  The word “Town” should not be confused with the word “village.”  In Wisconsin, the word Town refers to a piece of land 6 miles by 6 miles square.  In other states this geographical piece of land would be called a “Township.” Continue reading The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

Starting in          the annual show of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association began to demonstrate the farming chore of shelling ear corn.  This chore was an annual wintertime event on the diversified farms located in the row-crop farming areas of the Midwestern United States in the era prior to the emergence of corn combines on diversified farms.

The corn shelling demonstration at the Pioneer Power Show was initiated by Bill Radil, a member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association, who was residing at the time in West Concord, Minnesota, when Bill purchased a Minneapolis-Moline Model D corn sheller.  However, the demonstration of corn shelling could best be presented to the public as a shelling out of a traditional corn crib rather than as a shelling of ear corn dumped from a wagon into the drag line of the corn sheller.  Consequently, Bill Radil found a small “single corn crib” on the farm of a neighbor in the same  West Concord neighborhood in which Bill lived.  The name of the neighbor was Erickson.

A “single corn crib” like the small Erickson corn crib that was first brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds by Bill Radil.

Like typical single corn cribs the Erickson single corn crib was no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  However, a couple of years after the Erickson corn crib had been brought to the Pioneer Power grounds, the storms of the winter and spring of       destroyed the small single Erickson corn crib when it was blown off its rock foundation.

Bill Radil working to shell the corn out of the actual Erickson single corn crib which was the original and first corn crib brought to the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association for the corn shelling field demonstration. This picture was taken during one of the early years of the corn shelling field demonstrations held at the annual Pioneer Power Show before the Erickson single corn crib was destroyed by a strong wind blowing the crib off of its rock foundation.

After a couple of years without a corn crib at all at the annual Show, the Pioneer Power Association obtained another corn crib.  This time a “double corn crib” from Richard Borzilski from the same Tyrone Township neighborhood as the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.   A double corn crib consists of  two eight (8) foot single corn cribs placed about eleven (11) feet apart and both the cribs and the space in between the cribs were covered by the same gambrel roof.

 After building a new cement block pillar foundation to house the new double corn crib, brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds, was secured to the foundation by anchor bolds.  The Association was taking no chances that this new double corn crib would not be blown off its foundation.  Then, a cement floor was laid in the alleyway of the corn crib.

A double corn crib with a large alleyway between the cribs is moved to a new location and just like the new double corn crib on the LeSueur Pioneer Power Showgrounds is being fitted on a new cement block foundation.

This is the corn crib that continues to be used on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds through the present day.  In the late autumn of the year, Dave Preuhs, founder of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association fills the corn crib with ear corn that he grows on his own farm.  The corn continues to dry out in the double crib on the Pioneer Powers Showgrounds for the remainder of the winter and all the next summer until the annual Pioneer Power Show held on the last full weekend in August,

Like the  alleyways in double corn cribs on diversified farms all across the Midwest , this alleyway (especially when provided with a cement floor invites storage of vehicles and farm machinery.  Thus, the alleyway has become the winter storage place of the Bill Radil’s Allis-Chalmers styled-model WC and the Wells family’s David Bradley flare box mounted on the David Bradley wagon gear.  This tractor and the David Bradley wagon are often used as a part of the corn shelling field demonstration at the annual Pioneer Power Show.  (The above-mentioned David Bradley wagon is the subject in the article contained at this website called “

placing the

Traditionally, the corn crop was picked while the on the ear and stored in a corn crib for drying.  At picking time, the corn may have a moisture content as high as 35%.  Accordingly, when the freshly picked corn is first stored in the corn crib will be very fragrant.  This fragrance was actually the moisture in the ears of corn leaving the corn and escaping into the cool air of the autumn.

A row of single corn cribs built to allow the dry winter winds to blow through the ear corn to dry the corn down to about 15% moisture content.  This 1935 photograph taken on the Frank Hubert farm near Saybrook, Illinois (near Bloomington-Normal ) shows a corn crib built using pole barn framing and wire mesh. (McLean County Museum of History)

So strong is the fragrance in the corn crib that the family car or the family truck can not be parked in the alley way of typical corn crib for fear that the fragrance of corn would infiltrate the padding of the seats of the car or truck and stay in the car or truck for a years.

Luckily, as the winter weather sets in,  the ear corn would become less and less fragrant until the moisture content of the corn is only 15%.  At this stage there is only a “dry smell” in the corn crib.  At this point the fragrance was largely gone and the family car and/or truck may once again be safely stored in the alleyway of the corn crib.

A typical double corn crib with an alley way in the middle.

The typical corn crib should be no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  However most times, two single cribs were built close to each other and connected with a common gambrel roof.  Thus, the crib became known as a “double corn crib.”

After having shelled out most of the corn each year, diversified farmers would save back enough ear corn to grind and feed to cows, pigs and chickens on the farm. However, by late summer and fall of the year, the amount of ear corn left in the corn crib can decrease significantly. In October of the year the ear corn harvest usually begins again.

The typical corn crib should be no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  However most times, two single cribs were built close to each other and connected with a common gambrel roof.  Thus, the crib became known as a “double corn crib.”

Above the alleyway could be finished out into grain bins which would store oats until they fed to animals on the diversified farm or for storing soybeans until they were marketed at a nearby grain elevator.

Shelling out the ear corn in the new double corn crib on the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association which replaced the original Erickson single corn crib which was destroyed by the wind.  In this picture Bill Radil is pictured in the upper right corner of the picture standing in the truck bed full of shelled corn.  As seen in this picture the new double corn crib has a cement foundation and a roof covering the entire structure resulting in an alleyway in the middle of the double crib.  Note from the picture that the alleyway has a cement floor and is thus a good place to store farm equipment out of the rain and snow in the wintertime.   In the background of the upper middle of the picture is the green David Bradley wagon flare box mounted on a red David Bradley wagon gear with lime green wheels.  As noted in this article,  this David Bradley wagon is often stored in the alleyway of the double corn crib on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds in the off-season.

The 1946 Famall H: Lucky Number 7 of the Fleet of Tractors used by the Campbell Soup Company in Napoleon, Ohio

The 1946 Farmall Model H: Lucky No. 7 of the Fleet of Tractors   Used by the Campbell Soup Company of Napoleon, Ohio

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or current blocks of text will be corrected.

 

In a previous article contained at this website, called “The Wayne A and Marilyn Wells 1950 Farmall,” it was mentioned that early Wayne Alwin Wells traded a 1942 Farmall Model H in to the Sease and Oksanen International Harvester dealership located in Le Roy, Minnesota, as a part of the purchase of this Farmall M.  This Model H tractor had originally been purchased as a new tractor by Wayne’s father, George Cleveland Wells.  The purchase and history of this Farmall H from 1942 until 1950 is related in another article contained at this website called “Wartime Farmall H’s.”  Additionally, the use of this 1942 Farmall H in pulling and powering the Woods Brothers one-row corn picker as a custom picking operation during the 1946 ripe corn harvest is described in a third article at this website which is called “Wood Brothers Company(Part II).”

Bros.
This picture might as well have been a picture of Wayne A. Wells in the autumn of 1946 picking corn in his neighborhood with a Wood Bros. one-row corn picker and a 1942 Farmall Model H tractor. The only difference is that the Anderson/Wells Wood Bros. corn picker was painted gray rather than “Ford red” as in this picture.

 

Clearly, the 1942 Wells Family Farmall Model H was a subject of interest to the family, especially, the current author and his brother, Mark Wells.  However, the serial number and the history of this 1942 tractor following 1950 were lost and remain unknown.  Additionally, no picture of the 1942 tractor was thought to exist, until one recent Christmas at which Mark Wells saw a series of slides at the home of his uncle, Fred Hanks.  Contained in the slides was a very good color picture of the Wells Family Farmall H taken during the soybean harvest on the Howard and Fred Hanks farm in the autumn of 1947.  This was the first picture he had ever seen of the George Wells Farmall H.  The picture created a great expectation that a “representative” tractor could be obtained that could be made to appear like the tractor in the slide picture

 

 

 

no serial  rticle As noted in an earIier article called “Wartime Farmall H’s” In early 1950, Wayne Alwin Wells traded the 1942 Farmall Model had been owned his father George Cleveland Wells in to the Sease and Oksanen International Harvester dealership located in

 

Hemp farming in Humbolt County, Iowa during the Second World War with a 1941 Farmall Model B

Hemp Farming in Humboldt County, Iowa, with a 1941 Farmall Model B Tractor   

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

The Hemp plant located in Humboldt County, Iowa.

 

Hemp plants have been raised for many years.  The main marketable product of the hemp plant has been the long tough strands located in the stem of the plant.  When correctly processed the strands could be formed into ropes of all sizes.

Historically, ropes are the used by ships of the merchant marine or the navies of the nationsl of the world.  Accordingly, within the United States the largest buyer in the rope market has been the United States government which supplies the ropes to the United States Navy.  Purchasing of ropes of course, has an effect on the  price of hemp.  Accordingly, in times of internatyional tensions when the United States government begins a program of naval preparedness, the demand for hemp rises and as a result the price of hemp also rises.

One such time of international tensions was during the late 1930s.  At that time the United States government was not only worried about the source of hemp raising keeping up with the demand for ropes, the government also worried about whether the small number of “hemp mills” (or hemp processing plants) across the United States would be able to process enough hemp to keep up with the demand for ropes.

One such small hemp mill was located in Humboldt County, Iowa.   This small mill is located in

A map of the State of Iowa showing the location of Humboldt County in the 99 counties of the state.

 

The rising prices of hemp in the late 1930s caused a number of farmers across the nation to begin raising hemp.  They sought to make money on a new cash crop that showed the promise ofhigh prices for the immediate future.  One such farmer was our Norway Township farmer who operated a 200 acre farm near Thor, Iowa in Norway Township in Humboldt County, Iowa.

A Township map of Humboldt County showing the location of Norway Township in the lower right-hand corner of this map and showing the location of the village of Thor as a shaded spot in the middle of Norway Township.

 

to seek a to made from   tradtiovies of the various nationaropes made from hemp have been used by the nally been the largest buyer in the rope market.  Thus,