Sheriff Benjamin Orear invents the reaper.

Benjamin Orear (No. 8) lived in Fredrick County, Virginia near the town of Paris, in the Shenanndoah Valley. His home, Liberty Hill, built around 1780, is still standing. He was for many years justice of the peace and at one time Sheriff of Fredrick County. The following account tells of his inventing of the reaper.

Excerpts from the Proceedings of the Clarke County
Historical Association. Volume XIII - 1954-55

Being part of the annals of Ashby’s Gap - By Curtis Chappelear

"In Harman’s day there were men of many different trades located in Paris and all did a good business. In the fall of the year the blacksmiths were so rushed with work that they were obliged to borrow on their night’s repose until after 10 o’clock. The blacksmith was an autocrat among those who followed trades in rural communities. His shop was a factory that turned out almost every kind of farming implement. He could shape a bread mold, and his dignity took on a rise when his services were required to iron a threshing machine. Away back in those days threshers were built in Paris. The first machine that cleaned wheat is said to have been invented by and built under the supervision of Benjamin Orear, a farmer living in the neighborhood.

The machine was built 4 miles south of Paris at the hamlet of Mecanicsville, by John Turner and Frank Ash, who did the wood work, and Daughery, colored, a skilled blacksmith who did the iron work. It is said by one who remembers seeing the machine in operation and whose work may be relied on that it cleaned the wheat as well as the modern thresher. Orear did not obtain a patent on his thresher, hence he lost the credit of having been an inventor."