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Harvest Tales

North Central Kansas

Ottawa County

Harvest stories submitted by Kansans for the online exhibit, Wheat People.
Submit your own at KansasMuseum@kshs.org.

Marjorie Zuker Miller
and Melvin Zuker, Minneapolis

A Threshing Story and Photograph

Our grandfather, Christian L. Zuker (1840-1937) was one of fourteen children born to Christoph and Anna Zuker in Liberty, Pennsylvania.

Christian and Joseph Zuker's threshing outfit

In 1868, Christian, known as Chris, and his brother Joseph, came with a wagon immigrant train to Kansas. They both homesteaded adjoining farms in Garfield Township, Ottawa County, Kansas. . . .

In 1870 Chris and Joseph went to Illinois and secured a threshing chaff piler separator which was shipped to Abilene, Kansas. The machine, first in the state, was hand fed and had no grain elevator.

A man stood on the ground with two half bushels. Grain spilled from one side of the machine into a half bushel, then was emptied into a wagon, while the second half bushed filled. The straw came out the machine in an endless raddle that elevated it into a pile. The separator was operated by horse power with six teams hitched to a sweep which was pulled in a circle. The gearing was hitched to a drive shaft tumbling rod which in turn operated the machine. In 1898 it was discarded and they secured a self feeder grain elevator with automatic weigher and oscillating straw stacker, plus a Russell steam engine to power it.

"Harvest Tales" is part of the online exhibit, Wheat People:  Celebrating Kansas Harvest.