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Dakota Territory, the great wheat fields in the Valley of the Red River of the North, threshing by steam on the Dalrymple Farm, formerly a barren prairie
Dakota Territory, the great wheat fields in the Valley of the Red River of the North, threshing by steam on the Dalrymple Farm, formerly a barren prairie
TitleDakota Territory, the great wheat fields in the Valley of the Red River of the North, threshing by steam on the Dalrymple Farm, formerly a barren prairie
Date of Original1878
CreatorBerghaus, Albert, fl. 1869-1880
Creator RoleIllustrator
DescriptionPanoramic view of numerous threshing machines in operation in field covered with shocks of grain, likely wheat. In foreground is detailed view of steam engine in operation with belt to threshing machine and men unloading shocks of grain into threshing machine while man on wagon hauling sacks of grain. In background men loading shocks of grain onto wagons, with man on top of large stack of shocks on wagon traveling towards threshing machine.
Ordering InformationConsult:
General SubjectAgriculture
Subject (LCTGM)Threshing
Threshing machines
Carts & wagons
Horse teams
Agricultural laborers
Steam engines
Subject (LCSH)Bonanza farms
Subject (Local)Bundle haulers
Sheaves of grain
Threshing crews
Personal NameDalrymple, Oliver, d. 1908
Organization NameDalrymple Farm (N.D.)
LocationCasselton (N.D.)
Cass County (N.D.)
North Dakota
United States
Item NumberFolio 102.AgB66.3
Format of OriginalWood engravings
Color images
Dimensions of Original28 x 41 cm.
Publisher of OriginalFrank Leslie's Publishing House
Place of PublicationNew York (N.Y.)
Transcription"From sketches by George H. Ellsbury and photographs by F. Jay Haynes" - Printed below caption title.
Two additional images on facing page, 'Cutting and Binding Grain on the Dalrymple Farm, ' and Plowing, Harrowing and Seeding on the Dalrymple Farm.'
"Will Mr. Howe tell us how grain is harvested on the great farms of the West? asked Master Lewis. 'In the valley of the Red River of the North, ' said George, 'and about twenty miles from Fargo, Dakota, is the farm of Mr. Oliver Dalrymple. It was, as I saw it a few weeks ago, an almost solid wheat-field of some twenty-six thousand acres. Over it were waving more than five hundred thousand bushels of grain. the superintendent employs in the harvest season more than one hundred self-binding reapers and twenty steam threshers. I went out one morning from Fargo on the Northern Pacific Railroad, and looked out on this ocean of grain shining in the clear, dry air and bright sun. All was life and energy about the place. Superintendents were putting divisions of men, animals, and machinery in readiness for reaping. It seemed like the mustering of any army. Into the field these divisions rode, a nobler field than many that are famous in history, and the grain fell before these chariots of peace, and I thought of the history of the past, and I said, Thank God this is America!" - Text from Zigzag Journeys in the Occident.
Wheat Culture in Dakota. Product of a Farm of 13, 000 Acres. The vast extent of the wheat culture in the Western States and Territories must always be a subject full of surprises and of profound interest to those who are unfamiliar with the resources and capabilities of that portion of the Union. and of no section is this more true than of the Valley of the Red River of the North, in Dakota Territory, which five years ago was supposed to be a barren waste, and where now millions of bushels of grain are gathered yearly. Among the typical farms of that region, that known as the Dalrymple Farm, about eighteen miles west of Fargo, on the Northern Pacific Railroad, is conspicuous. this estate embraces 100, 000 acres in all. So far operations on the farm have been confined chiefly to wheat growing. The farm is managed with something of the system that is employed in directing the operations of an army. It is cut up into divisions of 2, 00-0 acres each, and these are managed by experienced superintendents and foremen, the finances of each division being brought under a regular and separate system of bookkeeping. Mr. Dalrymple is general manager of the whole.
The area of ground under crop this year is 13, 000 acres. the spring wheat was sown the latter part of March and the fore part of April. The first of it was cut July 25th, and twelve days after that the work of the reapers had been finished and miles upon miles of wheat shocks covered the plains. In bringing this crop to perfection, Mr. Dalrymple employed nearly 500 head of horses and mules, 80 broad-cast 8 1/2 feet seed sowers, 160 14-inch plows, 200 steel-pointed harrows, 15 40-inch cylinder threshers and cleaners, 15 10-horse power steam-engines, 80 self-binding reapers, and a force of about 400 men. These 80 machines when in motion cut and bind with wire 1, 000 large bundles every minute.
Threshing was begun about the 1st of September. A correspondent, writing from the spot, says: 'As I stood in the midst of this stubble plain to-day, and watched the smoke curling up from steam-machines miles upon miles away, and fancied that they looked as vessels look when steaming far out over the sea. I thought what a magnificent 'desert' this is. Near by me was a superintendent who was talking through a telephone with another superintendent some three miles away. Near him sat an operator, who was sending a dispatch to another part of the farm.'
The wheat on this entire tract, more than twenty miles square, is of the very finest quality. It will average, it is confidently stated, twenty-five bushels to the acre. Put it at only twenty-two bushels, reckon the price at $1 per bushel, and the total value is $286, 000. Deduct $8 per acre, the cost of the planting and harvesting the crop, and there remains $182, 000, the net profit. The outlay for agricultural implements is of course heavy, thought the burden of this outlay is felt least by the large farmer. A self-binding reaper costs $250 to $300, and machines of this sort are so rapidly improved that one becomes antiquated in three or four years. The steam-threshing machines are now quite common, and cost, with steam engine, about $1, 000. The large farmers along the railroad have side tracks from the main line run out upon their land, and the cars of the read are left upon it until they have filled them with wheat. They drive the wheat right from the field where it is threshed to the car. Among the implements used on these farms is the header. This is a machine which is pushed like a great lawn mower by horses, harnessed behind the cutting knife, which simply cuts off the heads of the wheat, leaving the straw standing, say two feet high. It cuts a swarth at least eight feet wide, and collecting the heads as it cuts them, sends them up a trough into a bin which is carried alongside of the header in another wagon. Then the heads are stacked up ready for threshing. One advantage connected with the use of the header in new countries is that, as they leave, the straw standing, it is easier to turn it under at the next plowing. Of course as soon as they begin stock raising the straw will be worked into manure, as it is already in Iowa, but that day has not yet come in Dakota.
As soon as the harvest is completed, the manager commences plowing the stubble, and in another season he intends to have 20, 000 acres under cultivation. Mr. Dalrymple, who manages this immense farming operation, and who owns one-half interest in the land and crops, has thus demonstrated that upon these broad and fertile prairies the time is not far distant when 1, 000, 000 bushels of wheat will be successfully raised under one management by the application of the proper intelligence and a system such as has been adopted by him. this system is based on simple business principles, and conducted with military precision. A complete set of books and accounts is kept as in a well-organized bank, by which the exact cost of the expenditures, including labor and improvements, is shown at a glance. The land is set apart in divisions of two thousand acres each, and numbered from one upwards, and each division is designated by its proper number. Upon each of these divisions there are the requisite buildings, consisting of a house for the superintendent, boarding house for the men, stable, three stories high, 60 x 65 feet for sixty-five horses; granary of same size; one agricultural hall for storing farm machinery; one blacksmith shop, and necessary outhouses. Each division, besides the number of men, has a superintendent and foreman, who under the direction of the manager, execute the work in hand with the exactness and regularity of the best machines upon the ground.
The vast results here given of wheat raising in this extreme Northwest were long ago foreshadowed by Blodgett in his work on Climatology, wherein he says 'that all the cereals come to their greatest degree of perfection along the northern belt of their production.' That statement has been singularly verified during this season of 1878 by the result of wheat production throughout the Northwest as witnessed this season of the crop in this extreme Northwest belt, and its failure in Iowa and Wisconsin. Humboldt, too speaking of the Red River Valley, said it was the 'levelest tract of country in the world, ' and he might have added that it was the most fertile. Without doubt, the largest area of wheat lands on the North American continent is embraced within the great valleys of the Red River, Saskatchewan and Assinniboin, which are being rapidly developed, and whose [illegible] overflow, along the lines of railroad now being projected and already constructed, into the [illegible] of the enterprising cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
During the recent Western tour of President Hayes, he made an excursion over the Northern Pacific Road to the Dalrymple farms. At the time of his visit, four steam-threshers were at work, and upwards of fifty teams were in sight, plowing for the next years crop. The President and party, escorted by Mr. Dalrymple, spent two hours riding on the farm, witnessed the threshing and plowing, and freely expressed admiration and astonishment at the magnitude of the operation" - Article (p. 115) accompanying illustrations
NotesTitle from caption with image.
Also published in black & white version in Zigzag Journeys in the Occident: the Atlantic to the Pacific, a summer trip of the Zigzag Club from Botson to the Golden Gate, by Hezekiah Butterworth. Boston: Estes & Lauriat, 1883. p. 103.
ContributorHaynes, F. Jay (Frank Jay), 1853-1921
Ellsbury, George H., 1840-1900
Contributor RolePhotographer; Illustrator;
Bibliographic Reference'Wheat Culture in Dakota, Product of a Farm of 13, 000 Acres." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, October 19, 1878. p. 115.
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, Institute for Regional Studies
Repository CollectionDakota Lithographs and Engravings Collection Folio 102
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineInstitute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (Folio 102.AgB66.3)
Rights ManagementImage in public domain.
Digital IDrsL00007
Original SourceFrank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Oct. 19, 1878. p. 112.
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