What later became known as the Mormon hay press is a three story animal-powered machine invented in Switzerland County in 1843 by Allensville resident Samuel Hewitt. Powered by horses or mules, the machine used a pulley system to turn a massive iron screw, pressing the large bales. Once numbering over 200, there are only four remaining hay press barns in Switzerland County.
The Thiebaud farm was likely the site of a river landing. This facilitated loading and shipping of the 300 – 400 pound hay bales created in the farm’s Mormon hay press to markets along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
Having once had a press and with many other aspects representative of our early agricultural and entrepreneurial heritage, the Thiebaud property was a natural choice for restoration of the press. On hearing of our plans, the property, owned at the time by the Dow Corning Corporation was donated to the society for the project.
The summer of 2016 saw the completion of the haypress barn renovation at the Thiebaud Farmstead. During the Rural Heritage Tour that year, we pressed the first bale of hay, using the press that came from Denver Markland, in about 100 years.