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From Man Power to Gas Power


Jon Ness


In the early days of the Red River Valley, the farm machineryhad to be pulled by man. Following that time, machinery was pulled by horsesand then gas power came to be used.

Most of the machinery in the early days was pulled andpushed by man power. As the time passed on, the machinery was pulled byhorses and all the farmers in the Red River Valley could afford a good team. The best horses were the Persian and the Clydesdale.

The farmer would get up for work at 5 a.m. They wouldfeed and water the horses then hitch them up and they would take them outin the field and clean the land. The men would dig around the trees andchop the roots to get them out. The horses would pull the loosened treedown.

Then the men had to cut the branches off and put them intothe wagon and hall them to their houses for the cooking fires.

Then came the time for seeding. The ground had to be plowedup by the horses. Then was the time for the seed to go in. The horsespulled small drills called "pony drills" after the seeding wasdone. The somerfollow had to be worked over.

The next operation was haying. Very few people liked it. But the cows and horses had to eat. After cutting was done, the hay wasraked into rows and bunkled, then put up onto a hay rack and taken to thebarn and put in the hayloft.

The most exciting time of the farmer's year was harvesttime. A big clumsy binder had to be pulled by 4 horses. The binder cutthe grain and tied it into bundles, then the bundles had to be picked upand put into shocks. There were 8 bundles to a shock. The men would throwa bundle into the threshing machine and its like a combine.

Then as the years passed on, men began to use gas powerto pull their machinery. The very first tractors could pull a 2 bottom plowand get 20 acres done in a day if everything went well. The branches ofthe first tractors were: John Deere, Case Waterlouboy and Tyton. In thesedays, instead of cabs, they had canopies.

Today, we have big tractors that can pull a 12 bottom plow. In the early days, the people worked all day pushing the plow with thehorses pulling. But today, its not so hard. Now, farmers can use big tractorsto do the work.

Good night and all's well for farming in the Red RiverValley.


Clow, Walter, Humboldt, MN, Interview, January 8, 1974

Lapp, Dick, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, January 8, 1974

k, St. Vincent, MN, Interview, January 8, 1974