Threshing with Horses – Orillia, Washington (circa 1905)

In February of 1905(?), Bessie Hill (Hile?) was in Orillia, Washington.

Bessie sent a postcard to her friend, Josephine Resch, in Marietta, PA.

The postcard, published by G.P. Charlton & Co. of San Francisco, bears a photograph of a threshing operation at an unknown location.

In our time, when enormous “combines” chug across fields to mechanically thresh wheat, deposit the grain into bags, and leave bales of straw behind – it is hard to imagine the vast amount of labor that was once required at harvest time.

(This mechanical reaper seems to require two dozen horses.)

Steam-powered threshing machines, and these horse-powered mechanical reapers, made possible the vast advances in agricultural output that occurred in the United States during the last quarter of the 19th century.

The town of Orillia, from which Bessie mailed the postcard, no longer exists.

In 1905, this small community on the Green River had a schoolhouse and a post office.

The post office was closed in 1964 after the area was annexed by adjoining small towns.

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