Amish farmer Melvin Graber moved to the Jamesport area from northwest Ohio 35 years ago and found an abandoned horse-drawn manure spreader. He gathered up about 350 other pieces of old farm equipment and sold them at an auction.
He thought he would do that only once.
Eighteen years later, the auction has become one of the largest clearinghouses in the country for buggies, hay threshers, oil stoves, and other technology of yesteryear.
More than 1,000 people — including Amish families from across the country, local antique dealers and treasure hunters — now attend the Graber Auction held every year.
Graber, 79, handed the reins of the auction to his son, Mose, several years ago. Proceeds from the auction go to support the three Amish schools in the area.
This year’s 2-day event unfolded last week at Kurtz Pallets, a large farm west of Jamesport.
Some people attend out of curiosity. Some are modern farmers who cast a longing eye on the past. But when the auctioneer barks, many are there to make money. With Amish farmers in need of parts for machines that haven’t been made for half a century or more, there’s money to be made.
— researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO; photos by Darryl Wilkinson