OLD TIMERS ARE STUMPED!
By Norris Chambers
discovery was probably not as important as the discovery of America but it was something we had
not seen before and didn’t know what it was. The thing was obviously a farm
machine of some sort. Brush had grown over it and almost hidden it from view.
But Clifton and
I discovered it and tried to decide what it might have been used for. We had
seen syrup mills that were used to squeeze the juice out of cane for syrup
making and this thing reminded us of a syrup mill because there was part of a
pole at the top to which a horse cold be hitched to turn it around and around.
But this contrivance only had one big steel roller and a squeezing mill had two
through which the cane was fed. The one roller had several turns of large cable
wrapped around it and a heavy rusted chain attached to a large steel loop about
the middle of the steel frame that held the roller and the pole at the top.
There were some large, heavy gears between the top pole and the steel drum.
one thing we know for sure.” Clifton
commented, “It hasn’t been used in a long time.” I agreed with him. After
inspecting it for a few more minutes we left the scene after agreeing to ask an
old timer who might know more about it.
have to hunt for an old timer. When we told my dad about it he told us that he
knew it was there and that it was a stump puller. It had probably been used for
the last time when the land was cleared for cultivation just west of it and
that it had been dragged out of the field when the job was finished. During the
fifty years that the field had been in use brush had grown around it and almost
hidden it from view.
stump puller is a rather odd thing for a couple of inquiring kids to get
excited about, but any kind of machinery always fascinated Clifton and me. We immediately began to think
about what we could do with it. The first plan was to move it to the barnyard
area and let it mingle with the old buggies, hacks, feed mills, Model T’s and
other interesting but unnecessary relics. The stump puller was over a half mile
from our relic graveyard and was a very heavy piece of machinery. After a few
unofficial meetings we decided to move it out of the brush and into the cleared
edge of the sandy field, a distance of not more than one or two hundred yards.
This plan would require some brush removal and plenty of
ingenuity but would be much easier than moving it to the relic area.
In a few
work sessions we removed the brush and left a sandy trail leading to the edge
of the field. Our next task was the actual moving of the heavy machine. We
didn’t believe it would be practical to try to load it on anything with wheels
because the wheels would quickly bury themselves in the sand and old Jack, our
trusted mule, wouldn’t be able to pull it.
eventually decided to replace the pole that old Jack could pull around and
around and attach the cable on the drum to an anchor in the direction of the
field. As Jack turned the geared drum and the cable was wound around it the
machine would move slowly forward. This action would be an exact opposite to
that for which the machine was designed. We thought that it would work. It took
several hours to replace the pole and clean and grease the gears. It was hard
and tedious work unwinding the cable from the large drum. Eventually we got the
stump puller ready to go and began looking for something to tie the end of the
cable to. There was about a hundred and fifty feet of large steel cable on the
drum and we were lucky enough to find a hefty post oak tree near the end. We
circled the tree with the cable end and installed a convenient cable clamp. We
were ready for the big stump puller move!
obediently let me lead him around the puller as Clifton stood by to see that all was going
well. The big machine moved a few inches as Jack completed his first circle.
Apparently the pole was not hard to move because our trusty mule didn’t
complain. After pulling the pole around many times we arrived at the anchor
tree. We were lucky enough to find another tree for the second part of the
journey. For the final move we had to dig a “dead man anchor” in the field. We
were good diggers and we soon had the big stump puller in plain view. We talked
about scraping and painting it but we became involved in some other project
before we did that.
stump puller project a fun thing? We thought it was. The funniest part might
have been when Clifton
dropped a heavy pipe wrench on his toe. It could have been even funnier when I
laughed and when he was chasing me I fell on top of a “devil’s pin cushion”. Clifton had the last
laugh that time!