Massey Farm Machinery, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Massey Farm Machinery, Barber County, Kansas

Farm Equipment on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
Horse-drawn McCormick Header and hay barge on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
"This first header is from before tractors were available. The center man is Ralph Massey." -- Lee (Massey) Ives.
"I am sure the young fellow sitting on the seat of the wagon is Ike Campbell and the young man driving the mules
for the header is Bill Campbell, they were my mother's brothers." -- David Massey, 28 January 2007.
Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives

Farm Equipment on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
Farm Equipment on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
"Ray Massey is on the combine and Ralph Massey is on the tractor. We were so proud."
Photo and comment courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives

"The Rumley tractor and combine were bought in either 1928 or in that area, they traded quite a number of mules in on the deal. I can remember riding on the seat of the Studebaker wagon with Carl Henson when they drove the mule herd to the trading corrals at the north side of Sun City. Mom got a brand new gas hissing Coleman cook stove on that trip. I was 4 years old at this time and it was just a couple of years before the great depression began.

Dad (Ralph Massey) and Uncle Ray later traded the Rumleys off for a model D John Deere and an F 20 Farmall; the old Rumley tractor pooped out when Chester Freeman, who worked for the implement dealer, tried to drive it to Sun and it sat in the pasture east of the barn until the WW2 years when they hauled it off for scrap iron during the war years. All of our generation spent countless hours on the old D and the Farmall." -- Comments by Nate Massey, 22 January 2007.

Farm Equipment on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives.
Farm Equipment on the Massey Ranch near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
"Ray Massey on top, hired man Carl Henson, Ralph Massey and John Surber.
John Surber was the stepfather of Ray & Ralph Massey."
Photo courtesy of Lee (Massey) Ives; caption by Lee Ives & Nate Massey.


E-mail from David Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 29 January 2007.

Hi, Jerry,

I hate to act like I am an authority on farming in the threshing machine era because there was very little of it going on when I was old enough to remember, but there was some.

The last fellow that I remember who had a threshing machine was a fellow by the name of Shipley, I believe, and I am not sure where he was from. It was probably in 1941 or '42 and he threshed for Uncle Marion (McLain) and Randolph Stone who was farming the Bibbs place. My cousin, Red Hunter, had the job as water boy and had got sick. Uncle Marion came out to the place to borrow me until Red was on his feet and was I pleased, not that Red was sick, but that it was a paying job - usually when a boy was borrowed there was no money involved - the pay was 50 cents per day.

Did I ever make a hand, I nearly ran that little old short-legged horse into the ground carrying those 2 & 3 gallon crock jugs from one crew to the other. Red got back on his feet after awhile and took his job back and I eagerly waited until the end of threshing for pay day. I don't know how many ways I spent that money but... pay day came and went and no one offered to pay me.

It was a little confusing. Uncle Marion hired me, but it was for Mr. Shipley who was threshing for Mr. Stone. I was so timid I didn't have enough nerve to ask anyone. All I would have had to have done was to mention it to Uncle Marion and it would have been taken care of, but then I wouldn't have had a story to tell, would I?

What I started to tell was what is shown in the picture is a header as opposed to a threshing machine. Prior to the "Header" the wheat was all bound and placed into shocks until such time as the Threshing Machine would get to your place. Then, obviously, when the thresher arrived the bundles were picked up and hauled to the thresher (some of the old timers called it a seperator) where the grain was threshed and the straw was blown into a stack. Then the header came along and cut out one operation, the shocking.

If you will notice in the picture the header was pushed by the mules and the sickle that cut the wheat and the reel that pushed it into the sickle were both ground-driven, this was elevated into that wagon shown, hauled and placed in stacks, and the thresher was pulled in next to the stacks and the wheat was pitched in. Quite a labor saver, that header wasn't it.

The Massey family never did have a threshing machine. The local threshers were Ora Adams and Frank Harrington. There may have been more but I have visited with each of these fellows about those old threshing days and marvel that the farmers of yesteryear survived to middle age.

The old Rumley combine was used up until the early 40's. It was powered by a big old Continental motor and pulled by the old Rumley tractor at about slow walking speed. I don't remember anything about the old tractor except that it was obviously very much underpowered as it sat at the foot of the hill Nate mentioned until the scrap drives of WWII.

The old machinery was very unreliable and I can remember that Dad and Uncle Ray spent a lot of time "mechanicing "on those old machines. Both of the "boys" were pretty laid back and did not excite too easily and were careful of their language around the youngsters and the opposite sex; however, I can recall one time when the old Model D "Johnny Popper" failed on them.

The temperature was high and they had the cover off the gear box, Uncle Ray dropped a nut or bolt and it went all the way to the bottom, who knows where, but certainly under all the gears and in several gallons of 140W transmission oil.

Though I grew up around up around cow-boys, "done a hitch in the Navy", worked in the oil-field, gyp-mine, and prisons, I never heard anyone express their frustrations any more eloquently and at such length as he did that day. Dad got tickled and after awhile Uncle Ray did too, but on that day little David learned something about the art of serious "cussing".


Land owned by J.P. Massey in Barber County, Kansas.

Detail from Map of Township 30 South, Range XV West of the 5th P.M., 1905 atlas.

Map courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Land owned by J.P. Massey in Barber County, Kansas
Detail from Map of Township 30 South, Range XV West of the 5th P.M.
Note that one of his neighbors was John Young
Map courtesy of Kim Fowles.


For a history of the Massey family in Barber County, Kansas, see the Biography of Joseph P. Massey written by his grandson, J.R. Massey, which was published on page 318 of The Chosen Land: Barber County, Kansas.

Wheat Harvest with a Thresher   A description of harvesting with a McCormick thresher in Comanche County, Kansas, written by Wendel Ferrin.


This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of Kim Fowles and many other Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 14 January 2007 and was last updated 29 January 2007.