Photograph Showcase: Men Threshing Grain

“In the 1850s, however, wheat became a viable cash crop in a number of central and southern Piedmont counties, making threshing machines fairly common…Early stationary threshing machines were often called “groundhog” threshers because when in operation, they appeared to be digging into the ground and kicking refuse out from behind them. Groundhog threshers were comprised of a rotating toothed or studded cylinder, housed within a box, that beat the grain from the heads as sheaves were fed into it.” 
Charles LeCount, “Threshing,” NCPEDIA, 1 January 2006, https://www.ncpedia.org/threshing

The above, ‘Men Threshing Grain,’ is an agricultural scene from Watauga County in the late 1800s. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library and DigitalNC.org

Threshing machines significantly changed the life of farmers and became a key piece of harvesting equipment. The following 19th century newspaper articles offer some additional perspectives on the threshing. 

“A Threshing Feat.” Charlotte Observer, July 23, 1897; Online digital images collection, GenealogyBank: Accessed 19 July 2019.
“A Threshing Machine Full of Eggs,” Charlotte Observer, March 19, 1895; Online digital image collection, GenealogyBank: accessed 19 July 2019.

To learn more about grain threshing and farming in North Carolina, visit https://www.ncpedia.org/threshing

Do you have North Carolina photographs you would like to share? If you would like your photo shared in a future photograph showcase post, email a scanned copy with a description or story to content@ncgenealogy.org.