The journey of a wheel, also known as a Roman Crane.

Our wheel began in the early 1900’s.

Ben Langheld, son of Julius and Emmaline Miller Botzong Langheld, my Grandfather, began by making a small working model of the wheel. Using items at hand, such as twine cord, plow bolts, and a smoothing iron. He fashioned his first model with 2 wheels, and it had such power this small model could lift the weight of the smoothing iron. This was told to me by my Dad and other family members that Ben said :
“I don’t need anything with this much power”.
So he scaled the model down to one wheel.

The wheel, when completed was to be used in his large barn for lifting wagon loads of corn and other heavy items, such as beef they processed, or working on heavy farm implements. The primary use however was unloading wagon loads of corn because it was such a time saving device. Let me explain:

The wheel was installed about 30 feet high up in the loft of his large barn.
As you can see by the picture, the wheel has an axle extended to one side. Around the wheel and axle you’ll notice the long ropes. When someone came from the fields with a wagon load of corn, this was the procedure--- The mules were unhitched from the wagon then the ropes were lowered from the wheel and attached to the pair of mules, next the ropes on the wheel’s axle were looped around the bed of the wagon. The wagon was designed so the bed could be lifted from the wagon’s base.
The mules were led to a designated point. As they walked to this point the whole process would begin, the big wheel turns the axle and the wagon load of corn was lifted above the corn crib. My Dad told me he or one of his brothers would stand on top of this load of corn holding to the ropes as it was being lifted. When the load reached the correct height, he would step from the wagon onto a ledge, reach down and pull the tail-gate up from the wagon bed, and using the ropes would tilt the wagon bed full of corn and of course gravity took over from there.

The mules were backed up, which lowered the wagon bed back down onto the wagon and reattached to the base. The mules were hitched back to the wagon and away they’d go back to the fields for another load. The entire process took only 3 to 5 minutes. My Dad and one of his brothers debated the time factor, my Dad said 5 minutes, but I’ll not quibble over 2 minutes. I think you’ll agree it was indeed a time saving device. Just think for a moment of picking a wagon load of corn, then coming in from a hot field, unloading all the this corn one ear at a time into baskets, then having to climb up and dump them over into the corn crib.! Makes me tired talking about it!

Let’s fast forward to the early 60’s . Ben and Maggie Langheld’s old home place has been sold. The house and barns are coming down. What’s to become of the wheel?

Enter Tavia Langheld, my first cousin, secretary for Claiborne Electric in Homer, La. She, like all the other grandchildren of Ben and Maggie’s, loved playing and swinging on the ropes that hung from the wheel.
Tavia got permission from Claiborne Electric, and thanks to their generosity, came with their large electrical equipment and removed the wheel form the loft of the barn.
Now what to do with the wheel? Tavia’s Dad, Lovic Langheld, my Dad’s older brother, built a small shed to store the wheel at his home place in Claiborne Parish a few miles away. There the wheel remained until the mid 80’s.
Due to the death of my Uncle Lovic, his wife and daughter Tavia. The wheel has fallen into the hands of non relatives.

Enter LeVerne, that’s me! I’m very concerned what will become of the wheel. I contacted the owner of the property where the wheel had been sitting all these years. They were aware of my cousin Tavia’s wishes that one day the wheel would find a permanent home at the Ford Museum in Homer. The present land owner gave me permission to contact the museum. I did, and to my amazement they were thrilled over this wheel. Being puzzled over their excitement, I had to ask where this enthusiasm was coming from. They told me they had been in barns all over the area and had never seen anything like this. Their excitement was over the fact that I was offering the wheel to the museum and the museum had something no other in this area had, to their knowledge.
The wheel was placed in the museum and that’s all; no one knew it’s purpose, some even thought it was a water wheel!

The curator at the museum began pressuring me to get a small working model, so people could see what the wheel was used for.
Every avenue I took over the next few years had a dead end.

It’s now 1993, my husband Billy and I take a ‘seven country’ tour of Europe. Our motor coach, as the Europeans call them, pulled up to our hotel in Bonn, Germany. Across the street in this quaint little park, sat a replica of Ben Langheld’s wheel!! We could hardly believe our eyes!
When the bus stopped I ran across the street taking pictures as fast as I could, our time being limited

Back home, a year or so goes by. A stroke of luck or by what I believe is divine guidance, my Dad and I go to Homer one day and we meet Mary Francis Robinson, at the Ford Museum. Mrs. Robinson told me she was the first female draftsman in the state Of Louisiana, before women’s lib, back in the 40’s. (This is another story, to be told later). She offered to do a pen and ink drawing of the wheel in operation. All she required of us was written details of the entire operation as told by my Dad. We gave this information to her, along with a small sketch of the barn and wheel I made from my memories, and she did the rest.

If you’ve ever been to the Ford Museum, perhaps you’ve seen the large drawing hanging next to the wheel. She did a wonderful job, the drawing is self explanatory. We were blessed to have this kind lady take an interest in our wheel.
Ben Langheld’s hand made wheel, may not be far from it’s old home, but it’s journey has been interesting to me and hopefully to you.

LeVerne Langheld Kidd

You can see the skeleton of Ben Langhelds' barn as it was being torn down in the background and behind the large trees is Ben and Maggie's house.  The end of a very different era!  An era of raising a LARGE FAMILIES 10 boys and 5 girls. HARD WORK, that these children seem to thrive on, even into their old age. That's all my Dad knew, even his fishing and hunting seemed like work to me, but not to him!  he LOVED IT !



 Here's the Crane that was in my Granddad Ben Langheld's barn. Was used primarily for unloading wagon loads of corn into the corn crib. Swung on the rope that hung from this large wheel ( 7 FT. in diameter) lots when I was young.
Now as you can see this wheel was crudely made by hand. Unlike the one we saw in Bonn, Germany.
You'll notice a shiny gold plate on the lower front of the structure. At the right of the picture is a close-up of this gold plaque. Hope your can read German. I could only make out a few words.  I was lucky that the Ford Museum in Homer wanted my Granddad's wheel. They seemed very pleased to have it, saying they had never seen anything like it in any of the barns they ever visited.  Any



  Ben was given the name of Bernhardt Heinrich, but was told he said,

"I'm an American and wanted an American sounding name


                                                 This is Ben, Maggie holding baby John, next to Maggie is her Mother, Elza Cornella Shaw Chancelor.                                                

                                                         Here are 8 Children so we need to figure out of names of the others. I'm sure Quinton had already died.   Leverne




     (one of Minden's favorite Historian's)

                                              From the Minden Press Herald                                        



Elsie Krouse Hock, found this picture and says its Emmaline it was in her Mother's picture box. My Dad's sister's  Trudy Langheld Kouse's. I remember my Grandmother Langheld showing me a picture when I was very young of a young woman with black wavy hair and telling me it was my grandmother. As I recall this woman looked a lot like this little lady.  Who knows for sure. But it did had the word "Grandmother" on the back of the old picture



Ben was born Oct. 25, 1869  and his mother died Aug. 1874. So he was 5 yrs. old and Molly 10 when their Mom died.  
I looked on the marriage certificate she was 23 when they married.  Now remember she already had given birth to 3 children by Charles Fredrick Botzong. She will have 2 possible 3 more babies by Julius. Ben, Mollie for sure. He was 42. He look a little older in this picture.

      Julius Langheld and Emily Botzong

Edith Gertrude; Maggie holding baby, Julius Quinton next to Maggie; Bertha Estelle; Ben; Christopher; Renolds; wearing the white dress, Patsey's Daddy, Dewey Winfield. Gertrude (Trudy) married Frank Krouse, Francis Otto's Parents. And Bertha married Frank's brother Author Krouse. They will have 10 more children.! 10 boys and 5 girls.

Back row: l-r--  Lovic Lastie;  Walter Francis;  Maggie (holding Finis Oswald);  Ben;  John Frederick;  Bertha Estella

Frpnt row:  l-r-- Ethel Eunic;  Thelma Inez;  Mildred Melvina;  Edgar Earl;(my Daddy);  Dillard Benjamin (hiding behind sister Edith Gertrude);  Christopher Reynolds.

Dewey Wingfield an older son is missing from this picture also little Quinton, who had passed away at age 2. The youngest, # 15 Oran Grover, yet to be born. 

 Takene Ca 1918


Here's the birth order of all of Ben and Maggie's children:


 1. Christopher Reynolds...... Feb. 10 1894


 2. Bertha Estella.......          July 15, 1895


 3. Edith Gertrude.......          Oct.18, 1896


 4. Dewey Wingfield.......       April 4, 1898


 5. Julius Quinton.......           June 13, 1900


 6. Walter Francis........          July 6, 1901


 7. Lovic Lastie.........              Jan 3, 1903


 8. Ethel Eunice........             Nov. 25, 1904


 9. John Frederick........           Aug. 28, 1906


10. Edgar Earl.............           Oct. 11, 1908


11. Thelma Inez.........             Oct. 19 1910

*12.  Mildred Melvina........      July 10, 2004


13. Dillard Benjamin........        Sept. 6, 1914


14. Finis Oswald.............        Feb. 14, 1918


    15. Oren Grover.........           Dec. 24, 1923 


* Sad news, My Grandmother, Maggie Langheld's, last living child died Sat. July 10. Aunt Mildred was born Aug. 9, 1912 . She almost made it to her 92nd birthday. She was # 12 in the birth order. Truly, this is an end of another era.
 Aunt Mildred loved to fish and hunt.  She had that wonderful gift, like so many of Dad's brothers & sister, of story telling.
One of my favorites was a hunting story. She was hunting squirrel near her home in Athens, La. one fall.  The woods were dry from the lack of rain.  She could hear some movement in the dried leaves.  She stopped to investigate and here comes a "herd" of turtles, all making a bee line for the creek. She said the creek was already full of turtles. After a little while my aunt  could smell smoke.  It was from a forest fire.  Smart turtles, smelling that smoke, gave my aunt time to get out of the woods safely!



1905 (circa) At the home of Bob Miller

left to right - The young black man "Nay or Nate"  Nathan Jackson

First Wagon: Vess Miller son of Bob Miller (Pa)

Second Wagon: Ben Langheld with son Chris

Third Wagon:: Will Arthur (Father) Holding baby Wilma Arthur

The story was told to me by my Dad.

The two mules that belonged to Ben Langheld,

Sam a red mule with the white face, &

 Ada, know for being mean loved biting off the head of baby chicks,

She didn't eat them, just found pleasure in snapping off their little heads.

Now that is mean!



My skirts still 'hike-up' in the front.  ha!

Here's My Daddy; Edgar Earl (Jack) Langheld

My Mother's full name, Bessie LeeYoung Langheld 

And me, at age 2,  Maggie LeVerne.


This is such a sad picture, Motherless children and don't they look it. Just look at their clothes.

      She looks about 15 and he looks about 10.



                       Mary "Mollie"Antionette & Benjamin Langheld


        Emmaline Miller 01-Feb. 1814-August 1874

           The grandfather of Emmaline Miller and Long John Miller

                                                                 was the first white man buried in Claiborne Parish,                                                 

       FREDERICK MILLER 1765-1892


Take US 79 north from Minden, go ca 7 mi; left on Maddry Rd. go north on Maddry Rd. 1.0 mi. take right on Miller Rd. , go about 1 mi. the cemetery will


    LANGHELD, JULIUS GEISELBACH (Father) Jan. 1822-Jun1901
                Mary Antoinette           (Dau)    Oct 1866-Jul 1901
                     Julius                                      no dates
                     Julius Quinton            (gdson)  Jan. 1900-Jul 1902

 MILLER, GLADYS ELVIRA    29 March 1901 - 24 Feb. 1903
 MILLER, GEORGE F.     24 August, 1824 - 11 Apr. 1911
               Mary                     19 December 1860 - 14 October 1927      
 MILLER, IRIS dau. Geo and Mary A. Miller10 Mar 1892 died 13 Jul 1899
 MILLER INFANT son Geo & Mary A. Miller died Feb. 1901
 MILLER, MARY MELVINA 11 Apr 1852 - 01 Nov 1908
 MILLER, ELLER DAY daughter J.J. & R.S. Miller died 1875
 MILLER, MARGARET daughter  of John and Elizabeth Miller born 10 August 1865
 died 16 June 1866
 MILLER, JOHN born 31 May 1822 died 27 JUL 1905
 MILLER, MRS. ElIZABETH 11 April 1830 - 26 June 1921
 MILLER, MARGARET 1826 - 1920 sister of Emmaline Miller Botzong Langheld



This is cousin Patsy and her mom Annie Mae Higgenbotham Langheld