Back When (Part 4)

By Ralphine Major

Perhaps in the early 1900s it was a common sight.  Today, it is historical.  I marvel not only at the scene, but more so that anyone even had a camera and would have the presence of mind to capture on film the threshing machine event.  The late Woodrow Luttrell kept detailed files of his family’s history.

The photo was taken at the farm of Woodrow‘s grandfather, Amos Carter Luttrell, on Burkhart Road in the Ritta Community.  Woodrow’s father, Carl Luttrell, owned the threshing machine during his teenage years.  Carl can be seen In the picture standing on the threshing machine wearing overalls, a jacket, and a hat.  He traveled over the area with the threshing machine and a crew that worked for farmers to accomplish the task of removing grain from the husk.  Sometimes, the crew slept in the barn if they worked late.  The water wagon on the left was pulled by horses, and it also carried wood.

At least three generations of Tarvers and Luttrells appear in the photo, which was selected among hundreds for publication in a book about Knox County communities.  Carl Luttrell and Hattie Tarver were married on August 28, 1910.  This photo was among Hattie’s possessions.  Hattie Tarver Luttrell kept other personal and sentimental items, also.  Sylvia Simmons Babelay recalled that among them were “Grandpa’s love letters talking about traveling to court Grandma from business school in Fountain City by train to Ritta, then by buggy to Corryton.”  Focus readers may recall last week’s Part 3 picture of Carl and Hattie with a horse and buggy.

What a priceless glimpse into an East Tennessee family’s history because its members cared enough to preserve memories of ordinary days, like a day spent with family using a threshing machine on the farm back when . . . . (To be continued)

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