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The history of our organization must go back to our great-grandfathers who worked from sun-up to sun-down using the machines and equipment that we now demonstrate to people today. If it weren't for them, our founders would not have had the foresight to know that the farm was becoming more and more modernized and everyday tasks and tools would soon be forgotten.
Our shows started on a hot August day in 1961 when Jim Layton (left with that first engine) decided to thresh some wheat with steam. His father, Herman Layton, had sold their 8 1/2 x 10 Frick steam engine in 1931 and Jim vowed that someday he would get it back. In 1958 he talked to C.C. Williamson of Greensboro, Md. who had bought the engine and found out he still had it and was willing to sell it.
After getting the engine home, Jim proceeded to restore it back to the condition it was when Richard Engle bought it new in 1921. Mr. Engle had traded it in on a 9 x10 when Herman Layton bought it in 1921. Jim was only the 4th owner of this engine.
After much work, cleaning and repair, the engine was painted and then striped by John S. Kauffman of Mt. Joy, Pa. Mr. Kauffman never worked for Frick Co. but he was an artist who knew more than anybody the correct colors and had the talent and memory to reproduce the original striping.
So on that Saturday afternoon, Jim and some of his friends including Russell Waldis and Shorty Clevenger fired up the engine and threshed a load of wheat. About 25 neighbors and passers-by stopped to watch.
It turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon and when it was time to put the thresher and engine back in the shed, people had just about talked Jim into doing it all again next year. Photo on right is of the first threshing in 1961. Herman Layton is on the engine. Shirley and Brenda Layton are standing in front.
Jim had been to shows at Williams Grove and Kinzers, Pa. He had become good friends with a lot of the people at the shows but he knew it would take a lot of work to make an annual event like they had.
In 1962 Jim and Jim Robinson cut more wheat with the binder and had another threshing demonstration. By this time he had added another Frick engine which was one of two engines he bought in 1959 in Richmond, Va. and restored. This engine turned out to be the last traction engine Frick Co. built. He also had his 1880 Harrisburg Car Mfg. portable engine he bought in 1957 and had restored.
Bud Hutton, owner and editor of The Federalsburg Times and a steam enthusiast himself, had put news of the event out over the Associated Press newswire. Approximately 500 people made their way to Layton's farm to reminisce about the good old days and show their children what they had missed.
An annual event was underway and the rest, as they say, is history.
By the third year in 1963 other people started bringing exhibits including Ted Gowl of Baltimore with his miniature sawmill (the same one later bought by Jim and still displayed), A.B. Rosser with his trailer of gasoline engines, Howard Engle's homemade steam engine and Ben Trice's crossmotor Case tractor. Bob Montgomery (pictured left) and George Matthews (pictured right) also displayed gasoline engines. Chestnut Grove Church sold refreshments. Attendance was approximately 1500 people.
In 1964 the Boy Scouts conducted the first flag raising ceremony with a flag donated in memory of Ed Chambers. Jim's third Frick engine was added along with Lloyd Pahlman's Titan tractor and Jim Frampton's homemade 3/4 scale model of a 1901 Oldsmobile. The sawmill was in operation and several antique cars were exhibited.
The blacksmith shop was added in 1965 with Sam Osborne of New Oxford, PA at the anvil. John Kauffman displayed a number of his models and paintings.
By 1966 interest was increasing to the point that the Eastern Shore Threshermen & Collectors Association, Inc. was founded. The twenty charter members wanted to preserve and create new interest in the collection and restoration of equipment of the steam era. Elected as President was Jim Layton, Vice President - Paul Secrist, Secretary - Shirley Layton, Treasurer - L. Norris Todd, Directors - Leonard Monath, Howard Engle, Lee Whitmore, Wilber Engle (pictured right), Ross Rhodes and Lloyd Pahlman. William Handley of Cambridge, Md. brought his team of oxen for the first time. He continued to exhibit his oxen and log carts until his death many years later. Attendance in 1966 increased to 6,500.
Interest in the organization and collecting has continued to grow. Each year we have more and more exhibitors and new people are discovering what our organization is all about. Thirteen inches of rain didn't even dampen anyone's spirits in 1967. But many people remember Lloyd Pahlman's double cylinder Frick engine stuck in mud up to its ashpan.
An organization like ours could not continue to operate without the many, many volunteers we have. Through the years we have been blessed with lots of people who donate their time and talents to make this annual event happen. Though many of the volunteers from the early years are no longer with us, they continue to live on in our memories. We are grateful to them for all they have done to preserve this part of history for our generation and to give us the interest and knowledge to collect and restore these items for the future. Without them and the many, many volunteers we have today, there would be no hope of preserving this history and continuing this tradition for the future.
As the shows grow bigger and bigger, more and more volunteers are needed to help put on the show. We cannot say enough to show our appreciation to all the people who exhibit and work at the shows so that we may carry on this event for the many spectators. Before visiting our show, a lot of people do not have a clue as to how their forefathers worked. We appreciate all the engineers and operators who take the time to explain to everyone how a machine works or what it was used for. You never know when a simple little question will spark an interest in a grown-up or child to help preserve our past.
As we look to the future, we hope we will be able to carry on this tradition for many years to come. And we hope to see you at the show!
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If you have any questions or comments you may contact us by writing to:
Eastern Shore Threshermen, 5946 Federalsburg Hwy., Federalsburg, MD 21632
Brenda Stant, Secretary, 410-673-2414 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please sign our guestbook.
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