An antique Port Huron Rusher model threshing machine was recently the center of attention at the Joe Winans farm in rural LaFayette. After being in storage for sixty-five years, the old thresher was pulled out of a storage shed and loaded onto a flatbed trailer. The Rusher has been donated by the descendants of the original owners to the Spoon River Ag Museum. There, it will receive new life as a display in the history of agriculture.
Originally owned by six LaFayette area farmers, Fred Orwig, Charlie Jones, Jack Price, Henry Price, Lloyd White, and Harry Winans, the threshing machine was utilized from the early 1900s until approximately 1946. Those farmers nicknamed themselves the “Super-6” and pooled their resources to share the initial cost of the machine in order to harvest each of their fields.
The Port Huron Steam Engine and Thresher Company of Port Huron, Michigan built this particular thresher in the 1890s. It was, according to testimonials from farmers of that era, one of the more reliable threshers on the market.
On hand to witness the old thresher pulled out of storage were three generations from two of the original owners. They are Verla Stevens (2nd generation), Kirk Stevens, Ray Stevens, Marsha Brady, Les Orwig, Bill Winans (3rd generation), Kyle Stevens, Steven Orwig, and Joe Winans (4th generation).
The threshing machine was relocated to another storage facility by Chris McMillen, President of the Spoon River Ag Museum. After being cleaned and restored, it will have a place in the museum once the Ag group establishes a permanent site and building to house operations.