Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

The Huge Steam Plow.


September/October 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, September 28, 1860.

The Huge Steam Plow—Its advent on the Fair Grounds—Additional Excitement.

In this great city we have become used to look placidly upon certain things that once were deemed monstrous affairs.  The “Old Smoke Thunderer,” whose volcanic heavings were wont to excite apprehensions wherever they were heard, and whose appearance was the signal for a wondering crowd, now passes through the streets almost unnoticed, as the Old Union No. 2.  But another mirabile monstrum, a genuine metaphorical “elephant,” something immensum infinitumque, yesterday reared its portentous front, advanced with mystic force, and excited a grand sensation, of mingled curiosity, wonder and fear, among the holiday multitudes who yesterday went to see the Prince at the Fair Grounds.  The strange and formidable phenomenon was first discovered by the people to be threatening ingress into the west gate of the inclosure, whither a fierce rush of spectators at once ensued.  The tens of thousands who flocked to the menaced point, wondering what the hugely looming affair might be, could discover nothing less than a big old barrel, apparently an ancient pork barrel, set against the clear blue sky, together with a tall pole of corn stalks arising from the barrel, and from the pole the stars and stripes floating to the breeze.  The flag and certain ears of corn hanging from the pole plainly indicated something patriotic and useful, but hundreds of eager mortals who climbed the fence, discovered and announced to their less adventurous fellow-citizens, that the thing had two wheels two feet wide and some twenty feet in diameter!  Certain men with axes next appeared and began battering and cutting down the wooden arch over the gateway.  The proceeding stimulated still more popular curiosity and additional thousands rushed anxiously to the scene, while the stalls, pens, cotes, &c., in the immediate vicinity became covered with expectant multitudes.  Finally the gate swung open, and the massive, huge-wheeled, smoking and chain-rigged wagon steamboat rolled slowly through the passage, into the enclosure.  Then began a multitudinous rush of scores of thousands, to see what was coming.  The Prince was momentarily forgotten, and the masses gathered, swayed, and flowed on in still increasing volume and furor, to see what it was that was coming.  To a contemplative observer whose eyes had never beheld the thing before, it evidently belonged to the class of things “grand, gloomy, and peculiar.”  A lady in our hearing acutely remarked, that whatever it was, it was no toothpick!  Some one absurdly suggested that it was a plow—“a plow!”  To those who revered the plow as the classic symbol of agriculture, and who consequently had formed and cherished a distinct mental image of the article, the statement that the monstrous nondescript was a plow, was suggestive of the question, “What kind of a plow?”  The answer was a floorer—“A STEAM PLOW!”

This steam plow was made at Hannibal, Mo., and has been brought thence to our Great Fair.  It was built last spring, by Messrs. Stean & Roberts, upon which is claimed as a new principle, that of applying the locomotive power near the periphery of the wheels. Mr. Robert L. Stean, the first above name, is the inventor, and has filed the application for a patent in the case.  The machine weighs seven tons, and is twenty feet long by ten wide, while the forward wheels are twenty inches in width.  It is guaranteed to plow thirty acres of land in a day!—and the sanguine managers believe  it capable of plowing forty.  The steam plow left Hannibal at 11 o’clock A. M., Monday last, on a barge rigged with paddles, which the steam wagon was made to move!  This is a curious combination, in which a barge carries a wagon, and the wagon propels the barge.  The odd hermaphrodite craft excited much suspicious auguring among the boatmen on the river, despite which it arrived duly at five o’clock Monday evening.  The wagon being at last eliminated from the barge, first “astonished the natives” on Carr street yesterday morning.  It then took up its march to the Fair Grounds, passing down Broadway and out Wash street, and causing much more astonishment than the Prince of Wales himself.  Being a wagon of twenty-horse power, it of course found no difficulty in getting along.

To-day the practical proof of the merit of this steam plow is to be exhibited upon the tract west of the Fair Grounds.