First Wheat Growers

One of the first pioneers to raise wheat in the Gallatin Valley was the late John Thomas, stepfather of Henry Davis, now living in Bozeman. He had a bushel of wheat, which he brought with him from Utah, planted it in the spring of 1864 on land about 12 miles north of Bozeman, and in the fall he reaped 50 bushels from his crop, threshing it, Mr. Davis says, by putting it on a floor with the heads out, leading horses over it to trod the grain out. The wheat and chaff were then raised to a platform and thrown clown, and the wheat became separated from the chaff. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Davis would not sell any of this crop, but the following year they sold seed for $10 a bushel to farmers in the valley.

Lorenzo B. Lyman, who had a homestead about three miles north of Bozeman, on the East Gallatin River, near Lyman Creek, which still bears his name, brought a half bushel of wheat with him from Wisconsin in 1864, planted it in the fall and from his first crop in 1865, Mr. Lyman sold all he could spare for $25 a bushel, and the year following, he sold seed to the farmers for $9 a bushel. He raised 85 bushels to the acre of spring wheat and 60 bushels of winter wheat. During the winter of 1864-65 there was little flour in the valley, and it sold for 90 cents and $1.50 a pound.

Threshing Machines

The first threshing machine brought to Gallatin Valley was purchased in 1865 by Cover and McAdow, who started the first flouring mill in Bozeman. Benjamin F. Bisel, a pioneer, farming south of Bozeman, ran the threshing machine for the owners. It was a small machine of the endless apron type, and was run by horsepower, eight horses being required to operate it. He was paid 25 cents a bushel for threshing, in 1866, but the minimum charge for any farmer was $50. Several horsepower machines were brought to the valley during the next two years, and Mr. Bisel also operated the first steam threshing machine brought to the valley by Cover and McAdow. George W. Kratteer began operating a steam-threshing machine in 1875, and continued at the business for 33 years.

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