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Joseph Dumville (1856-1933)
The New Threshing Outfit

Written by Clifford Dumville of Ottawa, Ontario

In the new west there were few threshing outfits. Those that were there, were large scale, both tractors and threshing machines, requiring a large crew of men and horses to operate.

Such a large scale operation was acceptable to the larger farmers, but a problem for the smaller ones who had difficulty in reserving a time slot with the operator and in fielding a large enough crew if he could. A common approach for the smaller farmer was for him to stack his grain crop (sheaves) for later threshing right from the stack when the thresher became available. And a large crew was not required.

Such was the case for Joseph Dumville in the fall of 1915. Unable to thresh in the field, he stacked his grain for threshing later in the early winter.

However, also that fall, Annie Little (nee Dumville) became ill with diptheria, and her mother, Catharine, went to Annie's home in Welwyn and nursed her through her illness. In doing so, she also contracted the disease, returned home and died of the ensuing pneumonia in January 1916.

Once there was diptheria in the house, the Joseph Dumville residence was quarantined. Even after Catharine's death and the lifting of the quarantine, no one would thresh their crop either because of the lateness of the winter or a fear of lingering infection, and they had to await the rounds for the 1916 harvest.

Some time before, Joseph Dumville Jr of Lockport had visited all his relatives, including cousin Joseph, and had asked him if there was anything he could give him that would make his life easier. At the time, Joseph had said 'no, nothing he needed', but after the unfortunate experience of the 1915 harvest, he wrote and said, 'yes, if you are still of a mind, one of the new smaller threshing machines and tractor would remove the dependence on the touring crews.'

Nothing was heard until the Case Implement Company advised of the delivery date for a new Case 15-25 tractor (15 HP draw bar and 25 HP belt drive) and a 24 inch threshing machine in Minneapolis, and a training course in Regina (or was it Brandon?). Son John Edwin Dumville attended the course in mid winter (1916/17?) according to the souvenir picture and took delivery of the equipment. Joseph and son Ed threshed their own and neighbour's crops until Ed sold out in 1958, although the tractor was replaced earlier.

It is understood that this was not the only instance of the generosity of the Lockport Dumvilles. A family story says that Joseph Sr (1819-1900) bought his brother John the first binder (reaper) in Niagara County, and John's wife Ann her coat with the otter collar (see Ann Dumville (nee Baldwin) (1834-1921): Biography).