Oliver Sorrell and Shirley Stine, president and secretary, respectively, of The Way It Was Club, look over plans for future events and fund raising. The club has organized to preserve the old way of farming, using horse-drawn equipment, tractors and farming implements from the early 1900s and other antiquities replaced by modern inventions.

A group of people who love and admire the early years of transportation and antiques have formed a club, hoping to pass on to future generations the unique way life used to be.

"The Way It Was Club" began about a year ago and has 13 dues-paying members who are hopeful more will join them and commit to their goals.

"We all love anything old," said Oliver Sorrell of Churubusco, club president. "Most of us have old equipment like tractors, corn shellers, mowers — and you can't forget the horses who worked so hard on the farms."


Sorrell, who belongs to five or six clubs with like goals, welcomes younger people who have a curiosity for the old machines and want to get involved. The club participates with local field days and open-house events. At present, it is sponsoring a raffle with prizes of a lawn tractor, 26-inch TV, a toy pedal tractor and several model tractors. The hope is to raise enough funds to hold a club show in the future. The winning tickets will be drawn at 1 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Ellenburg Center Fire Department Field Day.

"We take a lot of our equipment to the ... Field Day and try to support these events," said Secretary Shirley Stine, also of Churubusco and Sorrell's girlfriend. "Whatever money we make that day, we split the proceeds equally with the Fire Department. It's all good when it's for the local community."

Sorrell, whose family had a farm on Soper Road in Morrisonville when he was younger, and Stine, who describes herself as a farmer's daughter, also enjoy the camaraderie.

"I do a little bit of farming and it's usually with antiques," Sorrell said. "Only someone who has used the equipment knows the feel of using it again."

"We just got done some haying with an old tractor, the baler, the rake," Stine said.

Tractors are less work and require less upkeep than horses, Sorrell allowed.

"You have to feed horses every day and you only "feed" the tractor (gasoline and oil) when you use it!"


Sorrell and Stine enjoyed the Antique Tractor Show at Clinton County Fairgrounds in Morrisonville over the weekend, where he showed a 1920 gas engine that he was able to fire up and get running.

Stine, impressed by that feat, is looking forward to the steam engine Sorrell is going to make for her from one of his many vintage tractors.

"I love the whistle," she said. "And the whistle will work."

The club meets the third Wednesday of the month, normally April through October, depending on the weather, at the Ellenburg Center Fire Station. Dues are $15 for an individual membership and $20 for a family. Ownership of old equipment is not necessary to join. Additional officers are Vice President Stanley Russell Jr. and Treasurer Duke Geppner.

Call 497-6598 or 594-7469 for further information.

"We're there to have a good time and enjoy each other's company," Sorrell said. "We'd like to have young people join us. If the younger generation doesn't take an interest, who's going to share with the future what it was like to live in the past?"

E-mail Susan Tobias at: writertobias@gmail.com

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