The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or  current blocks of text will be corrected.

The restored Almena barn was restored and rebuilt on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association.

In the spring of 2016 a new structure arose on the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association.  This was a barn that had been originally built in the 1880s near the small village of Almena, Wisconsin.  The Village of Almena is located in Barron County in Wisconsin.  Indeed the Village of Almena is located on the  eastern boundary of the “Town” of Almena.  The word “Town” should not be confused with the word “village.”  In Wisconsin, the word Town refers to a piece of land 6 miles by 6 miles square.  In other states this geographical piece of land would be called a “Township.” Continue reading The Barn on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association

The Corn Crib on the Grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

Starting in          the annual show of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association began to demonstrate the farming chore of shelling ear corn.  This chore was an annual wintertime event on the diversified farms located in the row-crop farming areas of the Midwestern United States in the era prior to the emergence of corn combines on diversified farms.

The corn shelling demonstration at the Pioneer Power Show was initiated by Bill Radil, a member of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association, who was residing at the time in West Concord, Minnesota, when Bill purchased a Minneapolis-Moline Model D corn sheller.

Although this is not the Bill Radil Model D Minneapolis Moline corn sheller, it is mounted on a two-wheel cart and is powered by a tractor power take-off drive, just like the Bill Radil Model D. Note the very short corn husk blower tube: This is a very quickly observed and distinctive feature that distinguishes the Model D from the Model E corn sheller.

  Weighing 1,660 lbs. and with the capacity of shelling 175 to 300 bushels of ear corn per hour, the Model D was the smaller model of the two main corn sheller models manufactured by the Minneapolis-Moline Company headquartered in Hopkins, Minnesota.  The larger model corn sheller produced by Minneapolis-Moline was the Model E, which was later improved and re-modeled as  the Model EE.

The Minneapolis-Moline Model E pictured here is easily destinguishable from the Model D shown above because of the much longer corn husk blower tube on the Model E.

The Bill Radil Model D brought the annual winter-time chore of corn shelling on the typical family-owned midwestern farm to the viewing public at the annual Pioneer Power Association Show held on the last full weekend in August.

However, the demonstration of corn shelling with a Model D corn sheller, complete with its “drag line”  could be most accurately presented to the public as an authentic shelling field demonstration only by shelling corn out of a traditional corn crib rather than as a shelling of ear corn dumped from a wagon into the drag line of the corn sheller.

Consequently, Bill Radil found a small “single corn crib” on the farm of a neighbor, Bruce Freerkson in the same  West Concord neighborhood in which Bill lived.  Bruce and his wife had lived on their farm since about 1996.  Before them the farm had belonged to the Albert and Golda (Ebeling) Arndt family.  Albert and Golda had moved onto the farm shortly after their wedding in 1935.  Although the little single corn crib on the farm was still in use and was filled in the autumn with ear corn that had been picked in the field, the corn crib was probably build at a generation earlier.  A 1905 Plat book of Dodge County, Minnesota shows that the family of George W. Tabbett owned the farm.  During the early 1900s, the corn on the average family farm in the midwestern United States ripe corn was cut in the autumn and placed in shocks in the field.

Traditionally, corn harvested in the fall of the year, had a moisture content of 22-25%.  However, at the time of harvest, the moisture content of the corn could be as high as 28-32%.   In order to dry the corn down to the ideal 18% moisture content for shelling the corn had to be exposed to the cold  winter air.  This could be done by placing the corn in shocks in the corn  field.  However, all of the corn would eventually have to be hand “shucked” (the removal of the ears of corn from the stalk and the husks.)   This was a labor intensive operation that would employ all the members of the family during large portions of the winter.  The horses would be hitched up to the wagon or sled and taken to the corn field in the cold winter months to pick up another load of corn shocks to be hand shucking by the family.

The Larson wagon owned by Howard and Fred Hanks being employed on the Bagan farm in rural Beaver Township, Fillmore County near LeRoy, Minnesota. Here the wheeled wagon gear has been replaced with a horse drawn sled to perform the wintertime activity of going to the corn field to pick up the shocks of corn which would then be husked by hand and used as feed for the cattle and pigs on the farm. .

During these trips to the corn field to pickup corn shocks for hand shucking, the farmer would carry along a hatchet.  In the heart of winter in Minnesota, the ground froze very hard.  The hatchet was for chopping loose the bottoms of the corn shocks so that the corn could be loaded on the wagon or sleigh.  This chopping of the bottom of the corn shocks was another  tedious part of the back breaking  job of collecting the corn shocks in the field.

Amish farm with field of harvested corn in “shocks” for storage against the winter weather,  The shocks of corn from the stubble ground on the right side of the picture has already been removed from the field and has been taken to the building site to be “shucked.”  The ears of this corn has probably already been stored in a small corn crib on the farm to finish drying down to ha

In order to avoid the inconveniences of working in the cold and on the frozen ground of the corn field, the farmer would work hard earlier in the fall to get as  much of the corn would be “shucked” as possible.  Because this corn was shucked before it had a chance to completely dry in the field, the ears of corn would be stored in a small single corn crib.  The by-product of the hand shucking process (the stalks and husks of the corn) would be fed to the cattle and/or pigs on the farm.

A “single corn crib” like the small Arndt/Freerkson corn crib that was first brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds by Bill Radil.

Like typical single corn cribs across the midwestern United States, Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib was no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  This cold and dry winter air passing through the corn crib would finish drying the ear corn to 18% moisture content.

However, a couple of years after the Arndt/Freerkson corn crib had been brought to the Pioneer Power grounds, the storms of the winter and spring of 2009-2010 destroyed the small single Arndt/Freerkson corn crib when it was blown off its rock foundation.

Bill Radil working to shell the corn out of the actual Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib which was the original and first corn crib brought to the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association to become a part of the corn shelling field demonstration. This picture was taken during one of the early years of the corn shelling field demonstrations held at the annual Pioneer Power Show before the Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib was destroyed by a strong wind blowing the crib off of its rock foundation.  In the background, Bill Radil’s Model D Minneapolis-Moline corn sheller can be seen, doing the shelling job.  The very short corn husk blower tube of the Model D can easily be seen from this angle as the Arndt/Freerkson corn crib is shelled out.   It is the very short length of the husk blower tube that makes the Model D easily distinguishable from the larger Model E Minneapolis-Moline corn sheller.

After a couple of years without a corn crib at all at the annual Show, the Pioneer Power Association obtained another corn crib.  This time a “double corn crib” was purchased from  the Richard Dorzinski family living on a Sharon Township farm located on the south side of Minnesota Highway #26 about a mile east of the site of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Showgrounds.   Owned at the time by Richard Francis Dorzinski, the farm had been in the Dorzinski family since Richard’s father, Albert Frank Dozinski, obtained the farm shortly before he was married in 1920.  Indeed, Albert Dorzinski may well have built the double corn crib in the 1920s.    The double corn crib  consists of  two eight (8) foot single corn cribs placed about eleven (11) feet apart and both the cribs and the space in between the cribs were covered by the same gambrel roof.

In the summer of 2012, the Dorzinski double corn crib was moved from the Albert and Ida Dorzinski farm to the Pioneer Power grounds.  The short trip of about a mile was planned for the same day in 2012 as the move of the larger St. Joseph’s Church from the unincorporated settlement of Lexington, Minnesota to the Pioneer Power grounds.  Movement of both building in the same day along Minnesota Route #26 would save money and labor by cutting the power and telephone lines along the route only once rather than twice.  Once settled on the grounds, the Dorzinski double corn crib was anchored on top of the cement foundation that had been poured for it and was made ready for filling with corn in the fall of 2012.  In the winter of 2012-2013 the Dorzinski corn crib was once again using the winter air to dry ear corn.

Albert Frank Dorzinski married Ida Veronica Retka on September 28, 1920. Their marriage took place in St. Joseph’s Church which was located in the small settlement of Lexington, Minnesota in LeSueur County. This church was moved to the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association in the summer of 2012.  Indeed, the Dozinski double corn crib was moved to the Pioneer Power grounds on the very same day as the St. Joseph’s Church, so that the power lines and telephone lines would only be cut once for both buildings.

 Enlargement of the corn crib on the average family farm in the Midwestern United States of America, became much more common in the 1920s because of the development of the mechanical corn picker.  Mechanical picking of corn left the corn stalks in the field rather than taking them to the building site.  Suddenly, the corn picker made it possible to complete the corn harvest  in the Midwestern United States before the snows fell in the winter.

Following the purchase of Dorzinski double corn crib by the Pioneer Power Association, the building was moved from the Dorzinski farm to the grounds of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association.  There the double corn crib was given a new cement block pillar foundation to house the new double corn crib, brought to the Pioneer Power Showgrounds, was secured to the foundation by anchor bolds.  The Association was taking no chances that this new double corn crib would not be blown off its foundation.  Then, a cement floor was laid in the alleyway of the corn crib.

Here a double corn crib with a large alleyway between the cribs is moved to a new location and just like the Dorzinski  double corn crib on the LeSueur Pioneer Power Showgrounds, this double corn crib is being fitted on a new cement block foundation and a cement floor in the alleyway in the middle of the double crib.

This is the corn crib that continues to be used on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds through the present day.  In the late autumn of each year, Dave Preuhs, founder of the LeSueur Pioneer Power Association fills the corn crib with ear corn that he grows on his own farm.  This corn is planted by a six-row corn planter that is not ordinarily used for the regular corn planting on the Preuhs farm.  The wide rows of corn planted by the six-row planter allow Dave Preuhs to pick the corn to be stored in the Dorzinski  corn crib with a 1974 New Idea Company corn picker fitted with a 3-row corn head made for picking 38 inch rows.

The New Idea 3-row Super Picker

Once in the Dorzinski corn crib the corn crop dries out during the cold Minnesota winters on the Pioneer Power grounds.   During the cold Minnesota winters, the cold dry air of winter passing through the wood slats of the Dorzinski corn crib will dry the ear corn down to at least 18% moisture content and will be ready for shelling.

The drying process in the corn crib begins as soon as the ear corn in placed in the shed.  That sweet smell of field corn which permeates the air around the newly filled Dorzinski double corn crib in the early autumn is the process of the corn starting to give up its moisture content.

The very efficient husking bed that made the New Idea pull-type corn pickers very popular with the farming public.

To aid in this process of drying, the efficient Model 737 husking bed of the pull-type corn picker owned by Dave Preuhs reduces the amount of “foreign matter” (husks and stalks) to less than 4% of the ear corn stored in the Dorzinski double corn crib.

Introduced in 1927 the New Idea Model 6A  cornpicker became another very popular farm machine with the farming public because of its reputation for being  known as one of the most efficient clean husking corn pickers manufactured in the United States of America.

Like the  alleyways in double corn cribs on diversified farms all across the Midwest, (especially when provided with a cement floor) invites storage of vehicles and farm machinery on the average family farm.  Accordingly, the alleyway of the Dorzinski double corn crib has become the winter storage place of the Bill Radil’s 1939 F-20 and the Wells family’s David Bradley large 126-bushel flare box mounted on a five-ton David Bradley wagon gear.  This 1942 wartime Allis-Chalmers  tractor and the David Bradley wagon are often used as a part of the corn shelling field demonstration at the annual Pioneer Power Show.  (The above-mentioned David Bradley wagon gear and 126 bushel wagon box are taken up as the subject of an article contained at this website called “History of the David Bradley Company (Part II): Tractors and Wagons.”

However, there are some vehicles that should not be stored in the alleyway of the corn crib.  As noted above, at picking time, the corn may have a moisture content as high as 32%.  Accordingly, when the freshly picked corn is first stored in the corn crib will be very fragrant as the moisture in the ears of corn is leaving the corn and escaping into the cool air of the autumn.  If, for instance the family car or the modern farm truck is parked in the alleyway of a freshly filled corn crib, the sweet smell of the corn will permeate the padding of the upholstery of the car or truck.  So strong in the fragrance of corn that the fragrance will remain with the car or truck for many years after.

A row of single corn cribs built to allow the dry winter winds to blow through the ear corn to dry the corn down to about 18-15% moisture content.  This 1935 photograph taken on the Frank Hubert farm near Saybrook, Illinois (near Bloomington-Normal ) shows a corn crib built using pole barn framing and wire mesh. (McLean County Museum of History)

Luckily, as the winter weather sets in,  the ear corn would become less and less fragrant until the moisture content of the corn is only 18-15%.  At this stage there is only a “dry smell” in the corn crib.  At this point the fragrance was largely gone and the family car and/or truck may once again be safely stored in the alleyway of the corn crib.

A typical double corn crib with an alley way in the middle.

The typical corn crib should be no wider than eight (8) feet wide to allow the dry winter air to easily pass through the ear corn stored in the crib.  However most times, two single cribs were built close to each other and connected with a common gambrel roof.  Thus, the crib became known as a “double corn crib.”

After having shelled out most of the corn each year, diversified farmers would save back enough ear corn to grind and feed to cows, pigs and chickens on the farm. However, by late summer and fall of the year, the amount of ear corn left in the corn crib can decrease significantly. In October of the year the ear corn harvest usually begins again.

As noted above, a double corn crib contains an alleyway between the two single corn cribs, which are joined by a gambrel roof to become a single building.  The space above the alleyway might be finished out into grain bins which would store oats until they sold or fed to animals on the diversified farm or for storing soybeans until they were marketed at a nearby grain elevator.

The corn in the Dorzinski corn crib is not shelled out in the late winter or early spring as is the usual practice on diversified family farms all across the Midwestern United States.  Rather the corn in the double corn crib continues to be stored until the annual show of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association held on the last full weekend in August each year.

Bill Radil’s Minneapolis-Moline Model D corn sheller works on the corn stored in the new Dozinski double corn crib on the grounds of the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association at a recent annual show. Bill Radil can be seen standing on top of the freshly shelled corn in the truck on the right side of the picture.  The Dorzinski double corn crib replaced the Arndt/Freerkson single corn crib when a strong wind blew the single crib off its stone foundation.  As seen in this picture, the new double crib has a cement foundation and a roof covering the entire structure resulting in an alleyway in the middle of the double corn crib.  Note from the picture that the alleyway has a cement floor and is, thus, a good place to store farm equipment out of the rain and snow in the winter time.  In the background of the upper middle of the picture is the green David Bradley 126 bushel wagon flare-box mounted on a red David Bradley 5-ton wagon gear with lime green wheels.  As noted in this article this David Bradley wagon is often stored in the alleyway of the double corn crib on the Pioneer Power Showgrounds in the off season.

     

The 1946 Famall H: Lucky Number 7 of the Fleet of Tractors used by the Campbell Soup Company in Napoleon, Ohio

The 1946 Farmall Model H: Lucky No. 7 of the Fleet of Tractors   Used by the Campbell Soup Company of Napoleon, Ohio

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or current blocks of text will be corrected.

 

In a previous article contained at this website, called “The Wayne A and Marilyn Wells 1950 Farmall,” it was mentioned that early Wayne Alwin Wells traded a 1942 Farmall Model H in to the Sease and Oksanen International Harvester dealership located in Le Roy, Minnesota, as a part of the purchase of this Farmall M.  This Model H tractor had originally been purchased as a new tractor by Wayne’s father, George Cleveland Wells.  The purchase and history of this Farmall H from 1942 until 1950 is related in another article contained at this website called “Wartime Farmall H’s.”  Additionally, the use of this 1942 Farmall H in pulling and powering the Woods Brothers one-row corn picker as a custom picking operation during the 1946 ripe corn harvest is described in a third article at this website which is called “Wood Brothers Company(Part II).”

Bros.
This picture might as well have been a picture of Wayne A. Wells in the autumn of 1946 picking corn in his neighborhood with a Wood Bros. one-row corn picker and a 1942 Farmall Model H tractor. The only difference is that the Anderson/Wells Wood Bros. corn picker was painted gray rather than “Ford red” as in this picture.

 

Clearly, the 1942 Wells Family Farmall Model H was a subject of interest to the family, especially, the current author and his brother, Mark Wells.  However, the serial number and the history of this 1942 tractor following 1950 were lost and remain unknown.  Additionally, no picture of the 1942 tractor was thought to exist, until one recent Christmas at which Mark Wells saw a series of slides at the home of his uncle, Fred Hanks.  Contained in the slides was a very good color picture of the Wells Family Farmall H taken during the soybean harvest on the Howard and Fred Hanks farm in the autumn of 1947.  This was the first picture he had ever seen of the George Wells Farmall H.  The picture created a great expectation that a “representative” tractor could be obtained that could be made to appear like the tractor in the slide picture

 

 

 

no serial  rticle As noted in an earIier article called “Wartime Farmall H’s” In early 1950, Wayne Alwin Wells traded the 1942 Farmall Model had been owned his father George Cleveland Wells in to the Sease and Oksanen International Harvester dealership located in

 

Hemp farming in Humbolt County, Iowa during the Second World War with a 1941 Farmall Model B

Hemp Farming in Humboldt County, Iowa, with a 1941 Farmall Model B Tractor   

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

The Hemp plant located in Humboldt County, Iowa.

 

Hemp plants have been raised in the United States almost since the founding of the republic.  During the Revolutionary War, farmers in the young republic were allowed to use hemp they had raised on their farms to pay their taxes.   The new colonial government was struggling to build its own navy for protection and its own merchant marine for trading with foreign  countries.  Hemp was required for the massive amount of ropes that were needed for each every ship and also to weave the  required George Washington raised hemp and encouraged his neighbors in Virginia to do the same.  Thomas Jefferson developed improved strains of hemp seed.

The main marketable product of the hemp plant has been the long tough strands located in the stem of the plant.  When correctly processed the strands could be formed into ropes of all sizes.

Historically, ropes were not only the used by for the rigging and ropes of the sailing ships of the merchant marine or the navies of the nations of the world, but hemp was also used for the manufacture of the sail sheets themselves.  Accordingly, within the United States the largest buyer in the rope market has, traditionally,  been the United States government which supplies the ropes to the United States Navy.

Government purchasing of ropes, of course, had a big effect on the  price of hemp.  Accordingly, in times of international tensions when the United States government begins a program of naval preparedness, the demand for hemp rises and as a result the price of hemp also rises.  So it was in the United States, during the military preparedness build up, following the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915 by a German submarine with the loss of 1,198 passengers, led directly to higher prices for rope made from hemp and directly to higher prices for hemp raised on the farms of the United States.  The shock  in the United States from the sinking of the Lusitania was spurred by the fact that 128 Americans had been among the dead resulting from the German torpedoing of the Lusitania.  To be sure, even during the period of time immediately following the sinking of the Lusitania,  public opinion in the United States was still heavily opposed to involvement in the “European War.”  However, with the announcement by the German Imperial government of a return to “unrestricted submarine warfare” on February 1, 1917, public opinion in the United States swung radially around in favor of war against Germany.  Immediately, there was a spike in the price of hemp.  The United States entered the war in Europe on April 2. 1917.

The high prices for hemp continued throughout United States involvement in the First World War.

When the war ended in November 11, 1918, hemp prices fell.

However, in the decade of the 1920s hemp became known for its other uses.    During the decade of the 1920s, use of marijuana or hemp asa a recreational drug became widespread.

There was a political reaction to this widespread use of marijuana as a recreational drug in the 1930s.  In the mid-1930s, movies were used to propagandize against the use of marijuana as a recreational drug.  One such film was a 1936 film called Reefer Madness.   The propaganda was an attempt to outlaw the cultivation of marijuana or hemp to prevent its use as a drug.  However, economic forces prevented this from happening.  Although, naval forces and the merchant marine no longer used sailing ships, ropes made from hemp were still a large part of modern shipping.

 

 

the Rope was still   e

One such time of international tensions was during the late 1930s.  At that time the United States government was not only worried about the source of hemp raising keeping up with the demand for ropes, the government also worried about whether the small number of “hemp mills” (or hemp processing plants) across the United States would be able to process enough hemp to keep up with the demand for ropes.

One such small hemp mill was located in Humboldt County, Iowa.   This small mill is located in

A map of the State of Iowa showing the location of Humboldt County in the 99 counties of the state.

 

The rising prices of hemp in the late 1930s caused a number of farmers across the nation to begin raising hemp.  They sought to make money on a new cash crop that showed the promise ofhigh prices for the immediate future.  One such farmer was our Norway Township farmer who operated a 200 acre farm near the small village of Thor, Iowa (1930 population 257),  in Norway Township in Humboldt County, Iowa.   Although, the population of Thor had fallen during the decade of the 1920s–from 284 persons in 1920 to 257 persons in 1930.  The small village bounced back in the decade of the 1930s to a populations of 267 in the 1940 census.  This

A Township map of Humboldt County showing the location of Norway Township in the lower right-hand corner of this map and showing the location of the village of Thor as a shaded spot in the middle of Norway Township.

 

to seek a to made from   tradtiovies of the various nationaropes made from hemp have been used by the nally been the largest buyer in the rope market.  Thus,

The Wayne A. and Marilyn Wells 1950 Farmall M

The Wayne A. and Marilyn Wells 1950  Farmall Model M

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

            The International Harvester Company introduced the Farmall Model M as a full-three plow tractor in the autumn of 1939.

In early 1950, Wayne Alwin Wells traded the 1942 Farmall Model had been owned his father George Cleveland Wells, in to the Seese and Oksenan dealership in LeRoy, Minnesota, on the purchase of a Farmall Model M.  The Seese and Oksenan dealership was operating under new management  Prior to 1944, the International Harvester dealership in LeRoy had been owned by Elmer McRoberts.  However, in 1944, Elmer McRoberts had retired and sold the business to the partnership of Kennth Seese and Leonard Oksenan.  Kenneth Seese had previously been living in

Pursuant to the purchase contract of this tractor, the Farmall M bearing the Serial No. 2518137 was delivered to the Wayne Wells farm in eastern LeRoy Township, Mower County, Minnesota on March 1, 1950.  Wayne needed to grind up some feed for the baby pigs which had  just been weaned.  So he immediately belted the new tractor up to the Case hammer mill which was bolted to the floor of the granary on the farm.

A pre-war version of the Case feed grinder. The particular grinder owned by Wayne A. Wells had been bought by his father George Wells some time during the war years. Consequently, the Wells feed grinder had no galvanized feeder or whirlwind  dust collector.  On the Wells feed grinder both the feeder and the whirlwind dust collector were made of simple sheet metal and painted Case Flambeau Red.

 

He then went to the house and got his wife, Marilyn (Hanks) Wells and their one-year old son Brian Wayne Wells (the current author of this article).  He also picked up the little Kodak Brownie camera.  He then took a new picture of his son on the operator’s seat of the new tractor with his wife Marilyn holding young Brian securely in the seat.

Just after the Farmall Model M bearing the Serial No. 218137 was delivered to the Wayne A. Wells farm. the new tractor was put to work grinding pig feed for the newly weaned baby pigs.

 

The Wells family held an auction of all their farm equipment in preparation to moving from the farm in 1964.  At the auction Serial No. 218137 was purchased by Dean Shirbourne.

 

In the years since 1964, Dean Shirbourne continued farming.  Most of the machinery Dean used on his farm was International Harvester farm equipment.  He had other more modern Farmall tractors than the 1950 Farmall M he had purchased at the Wayne Wells farm auction.  Accordingly, he placed the 1950 Farmall M bearing the serial number 2518137 under an International Harvester two-row mounted Model 2MH corn picker.  This picker remained on the 1950 Farmall M until Dean retired from farming in 1993.  Every fall the tractor and mounted corn picker was used to “open” the corn fields on the Shirbourne farm and a couple of Dean’s neighbors.  (John Grass Jr., one particular neighbor of Dean Shirbourne remembers using the 1950 Farmall M on his farm.)

Once the mounted picker on No. 218137 had picked the corn in the “end rows” across both ends of the corn field and once the body of the corn field had been “opened” and divided into “lands,”  Dean Shirbourne brought in his two-row New Idea Model 6A pull-type corn picker to pick the remainder of the corn in his fields.  Recognizing that mounted pickers are not the best pickers for “husking” (removing the husks from the ears of ripe corn), Dean Shirbourne  and his neighbors preferred to use pull-type corn pickers to do the main job of picking their corn fields.  Pull-type corn pickers were respected for their large and very efficient husking beds.  Pull-type pickers had the best chance of getting the harvested corn down to a level of 4% or less “foreign material” (husks) in the ear corn crop.

Husking the corn down to a level of 4% foreign material (husks) was the ideal that farmers strove for in order to store the ear corn in normal corn crib over the winter.  Only a level of 4% or less foreign material in the ear corn would allow the cold dry air of winter to flow relatively unobstructed through the ear corn stored in the corn crib and dry the annual crop of corn sufficiently over the winter from the period of time from the harvest in October or November until February or March, when the ear corn would normally be dry enough to be shelled  and stored in a granary.  To store the ear corn in a corn crib at a level of more than 4% foreign material would invite blockage of the flow of air through the crib and invite mold forming on the ear corn.  and risk  without

Thus, once the corn fields were opened and divided into “lands,” Dean Shirbourne and his neighbors could conveniently use their pull-type pickers on the main body of the corn crop.  Thus each year, the 1950 Farmall M was used only for the short period of time each fall that it took to “open” the corn fields on the Shirbourne farm and on the farms of a few of his neighbors.  During the remainder of the year, the 1950 Farmall M bearing the Serial No. 218137 was stored away with its mounted corn picker in the machine shed on the Shirbourne farm.

Thus, from 1964 until Dean Shirbourne retired from farming in 1993, No. 218137 was used only for a couple of weeks in the autumn of  each year to open the corn fields in preparation of the harvest.  Upon his retirement from farming in the 1990s, Dean Shirbourne gave the 1950 Farmall M, bearing the Serial No. 218137, to his  nephew–Mark Mossyge–who beautifully restored the tractor.

 

 

Continue reading The Wayne A. and Marilyn Wells 1950 Farmall M

A 1945 J. I. Case Company Model SC Tractor in Belgrade Township, Nicollet County, Minnesota

The 1945 Case Model SC Tractor in Nicollet County, Minnesota

by

Brian Wayne Wells

           This article remains under construction.  Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or   current blocks of text will be corrected.

The J. I. Case Company Model SC tractor.

The J. I. Case Company introduced their first tricycle-style tractor—the Model CC tractor in 1929.  The CC weighed 4,240 lbs. (pounds) and produced 27.37 hp. (horsepower) to the belt pulley and 17.33 hp. to the drawbar.  The CC was advertised as a tractor that could pull a two-bottom plow with 14 inch bottoms.  So the Model CC could perform all the heavy tillage work in the fields of the average farm, just like the “four-wheel” or “standard” tractors that Case had offered the farming public before 1929.  These four-wheel tractors could do all the field work on the farms of North America except one field task–the cultivation of row-crops.  Thus, even with a standard type tractor, the North America farmer could get rid of a large number of horses on the farm that were required for heavy tillage and seed-bed preparation in the Spring of each year.  However, the farmer would have to retain  enough horses necessary for cultivation of the row-crops on the farm.  With the introduction of “row crop” or tricycle style tractors, the North American farmer was able to purchase one of these row crop tractors, like the Case Model CC.  Then, the farmer would then be able to get rid of all the horses on his farm and farm in a fully mechanized way.  Thus, the Model CC could be used to provide all the power on the farm to perform all the field work over the whole growing season.

A view of the right side of the Case Model CC tractor.  Early versions of the Model CC Case tractor weighed just 3, 640 pounds and had a maufacturer’s suggested price of just $1.025.

The most unique feature about all the Case Model CC was the steering rod than located outside the hood of the tractor on the left side of the tractor.  This rod extended along the left side of the tractor to the front wheels  the tractor.  Because this looked like a convenient place for the chickens, on the farm, to roost during the night, this rod became popularly known as “chicken’s roost.”   Over the entire production from 1929 until 1939, 29,824 Model CC tractors were made.

A left side view of the Case Model CC tractor, showing the unique “chickens roost” style steering rod which was a famous feature of Case tractors.

In 1939, the CC was “styled,” modernized and the engine was upgraded in horsepower to a full 32.92 hp. at the belt pulley or the and 24.39 hp. at the drawbar. The tractor was re-designated as the new Case Model DC-3 tricycle style tractor.  Like the old Model CC, the new Model DC-3 was a tricycle style tractor in order to allow the tractor to be fitted with a mounted cultivator for the easy offered to the farming public in a number of different front-end configurations.  The DC-3 was intended as a tractor which could perform all the field work on the average farm of the Midwestern part of North America, including the cultivation of row crops.  Because of the wide variety of row crops grown in North America, a series of different configuration for the front end of the Case Model DC were offered to the farming public.  There was single wheel front end, the dual wheel narrow front end and the adjustable wide-front end.    The J. I. Case Company planned to have the appropriate tractor configured for any farming operation in North America.

The Case Model DC-3 with the adjustable wide front end allowed the front wheels to be positioned wide enough to accomodate a wide variety of row crops.

Instead of being painted gray like the Model CC, the Model DC-3 was painted a reddish-orange color that the J. I. Case Company called “Flambeau Red.”  The DC-3 had a new Case-built engine with a 3-7/8 inch bore and a 5 ½ inch stroke, was commonly fitted with 11.25 by 38 inch rubber tires and weighed 7,010 lbs. Case advertised the DC-3 tractor as a “full three-plow  tractor.”  This meant that the DC-3 could pull a three–bottom plow even with 16 inch bottoms in most plowing conditions.   By 1944, the suggested retail price of the DC was $1,270 as mounted on rubber tires.  During the entire production run of the Model DC-3 from 1939 until 1955, 54,925 DC-3 tractors were manufactured by the J.I. Case Company, or about 3,433 Model DC-3’s per year.

The Case Model DC-3 tractor replaced the Model CC in the Case line of row-crop tractors in 1939.

With the introduction of the DC-3 and the phasing out of the Model CC tractor there was a vacancy in the “two-plow” class of tractors within the J. I. Case Company tractor line.   Accordingly, in 1940, one year after the introduction of the DC-3, the J.I. Case Company introduced the Model SC tractor. The Model SC weighed 4,200 lbs., was fitted with a 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine with a 3 ½ inch bore and a 4 inch stroke which  delivered 21.62. hp to the belt pulley and 16.18 hp. to the drawbar.  The Model SC was painted Flambeau Red to match the Model DC-3 and retained the hand clutch, the same “chicken’s roost” style steering rod of the Model CC and the Model DC-3 and retained the 11.25 by 38 inch rear rubber tires of the Model DC-3.  However, the Model SC could be purchased for a much lower price than the DC-3.  Many farmers took advantage of this price difference to purchase the Model SC tractor and the Model SC tractor became the best-selling tractor of the Case Flambeau Red line of tractors.  Over its shorter production run (from 1940 until 1955), a total of 58,991 Model SC tractors (or about 3,933 Model SC’s per year) were produced and sold by the company—this represents a total of 4,066 more SC’s produced by the Case Company than the total number of DC-3 tractors produced by thebover the longer production run of the DC-3.  In other words from 1940 until 1955. there were about 500 more SC tractors produced each year than there were Model DC-3 tractors during the same period of time.

Among the tractors that flowed out of the J.I. Case Main Works in Racine, Wisconsin and arrived in local Case dealerships across the nation, was the two-plow Case Model SC tractor. In the years before the Second World War and in the immediate post-war years the Model SC actually outsold the larger DC-3 Case tractor.

Of course not every year of the production run from 1940 until 1955 was like the next.  History intervened, during this period of time, in the form of the Second World War, history from 1939 until 1955.  Involvement of the United States in the Second World War dated from the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese Imperial forces.  Following the Pearl Harbor attack, most heavy industrial companies, like the J. I. Case Company were required by the United States government to join the war effort, as the country fought a desperate war in two separate theaters of operations (Europe and the Pacific).  Production of civilian goods gave way to production for the war effort.  However, it took some time for the various companies to be assigned their government military contracts and to start producing wartime materials. For the Case Company production of farm tractors at their factory located in Racine, Wisconsin tapered off somewhat gradually in favor of war materials for the war effort.  The factory at Racine was called the “Main Works.”  During the war, the “Main Works” became involved in the production of bombs and artillery shells, doors for the Sherman tank and parts for the B-26 bomber.

Sherman M-4 tanks in action in Normandy, France. Here almost every door of the tank is open. Many of these doors were made by the J.I. Case Company under a wartime contract.

The limited amount of tractors that were produced during the war, rolled off the assembly line at the Main Works were assigned a serial numbers in sequence regardless of the model. There are no separate serial numbers for the S-series, the D-series or the V-series tractors.  The first two numbers of any Case tractor serial number designates the year in which the tractor was assembled at the Main Works.  However, even this seemingly direct approach to the year in which the tractor was made is hidden in some obscurity.   If the first two numbers of a particular serial number are 44, this does not mean the tractor was produced in 1944.  Four years must be subtracted from the first two numbers of every serial number to arrive at the actual year that the tractor was built.  Thus, if the the first digits of a given serial number are “44,” then the tractor was produced in 1940—not for 1944.

A picture showing the location of the Serial Number tag squarely on the “dash board” of the Case Model SC tractor.

Accordingly, in the fifth year of the Model SC production run , a particular Model SC rolled aff the assembly line at the Main Works bearing the Serial Number 4911952.  The first two digits of this particular serial number indicate that the tractor was manufactured at the Main Works in 1945.  Since production in the year 1945 began with the serial number 4900001.  Production of the Model SC with the Serial No. 4911952 must have been produced rather late in the year, 1945.  Indeed a good guess might be that the tractor was produced in December of 1945.

The war years from 1941 until 1945 also brought changes to the Case dealership in Mankato, Minnesota as the Cutkowski dealership became a partnership. The “Cutkowski dealership” had begun its  existence as the J.I. Case Company dealership.  Harry Cutkowski began working at the dealership at mechanic.  In 1936, Harry Cutkowsky bought the Case dealership from the J. I. Case Company and named his new dealership the “Cutkowsky dealership.”  / became the sole proprietor of the dealership.  In the years before the entry of the United States into the Second World War, the Cutkowski dealership had made a great reputation for itself all across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.  Now in during the war, Harry Cutkowski took on  Earnest  Allen Jones as a partner.

The cast iron statue of a bald eagle perched on a globe of the world. This statue became the most famous trademark of the J.I. Case Company. This statue was nick-named “Old Abe.”  One of the Old Abe cast iron statues was usually found outside each local Case dealership like the Cutkowsky and Jones dealership in Mankato, Minnesota.

Earnest and Vivian Maude (Baldwin) Jones moved to Mankato, Minnesota in 1936 shortly after Harry Cutkowsky had purchased the J.I. Case delaership in Mankato.  Prior to moving to Mankato, Minnesota  Earnest Jones had been employed as a shipping clerk at the J.I. Company Case Company factory in Racine, Wisconsin.  As the shipping clerk at the Racine factory, Earnest had become perfectly aware of the pre-war sales success of the Cutkowsky dealership in Mankato, Minnesota.  Thus, when Harry Cutkowsky offered to employ Earnest as the manager of his new proprietorship, Earnest jumped at the chance to manage the successful dealership.

By the time that No. 4911952 arrived at the J.I. Case dealership around New Years Day of 1946, Earnest had become a partner and the dealership was known as the “Cutkowsky and Jones” dealership.

Although, by the end of the Second World War the Case dealership in Mankato was a privately owned partnership called “Cutkowsky and Jones,” the building located which the “Cutkowsky and Jones dealership occupied at 202 North Front Street in Mankato, Minnesota still bore the name “J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company.”  This picture taken of the building at 202 North Front Street in Mankato, Minnesota was taken in 1910 and reflects fact that prior to becoming the “Cutkowsky and Jones dealership, the Case dealership in Mankato was owned by the a “J. I. Case Company itself.  .

As consistent readers of this blog will remember, in December of 1945, another partnership had been formed to start a J.I. Case dealership in another small Minnesota town.  This was the parnership of Duane Wetter and Merle Krinke who were forming a dealership in LeRoy, Minnesota.  During December of 1945, Merle Krinke and Duane Wetter were busy buying property in the small town of LeRoy, Minnesota to establish what would become the local Case dealership called the “LeRoy Equipment Company.”  (See the two part series of articles called “The Rise and Decline of the LeRoy Equipment Dealership.” contained at this website.)  The  new dealership of LeRoy Equipment Company was due to open on Tuesday January 29, 1946 and was in drastic need of an inventory of new Case farm tractors and Case farm machinery.  Accordingly, the Model SC tractor bearing the serial number 4911952 could have been sent to this new dealership in LeRoy, Minnesota, to help the new dealership get off the ground.

If 4911852 had been sent to the LeRoy Equipment Company dealership, the tractor might have ended up on the Walter and Clarence Hanson farm three miles east of the village of LeRoy.  As  it was Walter and Clarence Hanson had to wait until sometime after March 10, 1947 for a subsequent Model SC to arrive at the LeRoy Equipment Company to purchase their Model SC tractor.

The Case Main Tractor Works in Racine, Wisconsin was still trying to struggle with the retooling process to convert to production of civilian farm equipment products  The Case Corporation was hardpressed for funds.  Thus, the decision was made to sent No. 4911952 to the veteran dealership with a big reputation for sales (Cutkowski and Jones dealership in Mankato, Minnesota) rather than to a new startup  dealership (the LeRoy Equipment Company in LeRoy, Minnesota) with no reputation at all–yet.  Accordingly, No. 4911952  was sent to the Cutkowski and Jones  partnership dealership” located at 202 No. Main Street in Mankato, Minnesota.

Then the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.  Like nearly all other manufacturing concerns the Case Company was  greatly curtailed in its production of civilian materials including tractors and farm machinery by the government.  For the duration  of the war all manufacturing was to be directed toward the war effort in Europe and the Pacific.

With the return of peace in September of 1945, production of the tractors had just begun again. J. I. Case Company was still  struggling to retool for full time civilian production.  On December 26, 1945, shortly after No. 4911952 rolled off the assembly line in Racine, Wisconsin, the Case Tractor Works at Racine, Wisconsin was hit by a labor strike by the United Auto Workers.  This labor strike continued for fifteen more months until March 10, 1947.

This 1936 photo shows the J. I. Case Tractor Plant which was located just south of Racine, near today’s intersection of Highways 11 and 32. From December 26, 1945 until March 10, 1947 the UAW (United Auto Workers) union conducted a labor strike against the Tractor Works which resoulted in a total halt of production of tractors for Case tractors until March 10, 1947.

During the whole period of the strike, the Case Tractor Works was totally closed down and did not produce a single farm tractor.  Finally on March 10, 1947 the United Auto Workers and the Case Company signed a new labor collective bargaining agreement and the labor strike ended.  Finally, production of farm tractors was begun again at the Case Tractor Works in Racine Wisconsin.

When No. 4911952 arrived at the Cutkowsky dealership just after New Years Days of 1946, the dealership had already been approached by a potential buyer for the little Model SC tractor.  This potential buyer was a farmer of a 160-acre farm in Belgrade Township in Ncollet County, Minnesota.  This was our Belgrade Township farmer.

A township map of Nicollet County  showing the location of Belgrade Township in the southern most or lowest most point on the map.

Our Belgrade Township farmer’s mother had inherited the 160 acre farm upon the sudden  death of her husband (our Belgrade Township farmer’s  father) in 1939.  Immediately, the total responsibility for the farm fell to our Belgrade Township farmer.  Even before the death of his father, our Belgrade Township farmer had already been actively operating a great deal  of the work on the farm: planting the crops, spending endless hours cultivating the corn crop and finally harvesting the corn and other crops on the farm, i.e. hay and oats.

Although our Belgrade Township farmer had no soybeans on his own farm, he primarily  used the A-6 to combine his oat crop every year.  However, in the post-war era he also used the combine to do a little custom work in the neighborhood–sometimes combining the soybean crops of his neighbors.

The farm was a diversified operation with a Holstein cow dairy operation requiring milking every morning and evening.  They sold the whole milk obtained from their “twice-daily” milking of their Holstein dairy herd to the cooperative dairy located just across the Belgrade township boundary  line to the north in Oshawa  Township.

A Holstein milking herd cows grazing in a pasture on a small diversified farm in the Midwest, much like the home farm of our Belgrade Township farmer.

Our Belgrade Township farmer’s father also had raised pigs for market.  The herd of pigs on the farm had consisted of a number of sows of different breeds and largely “cross breeds.”   There was usually one boar on the farm at any one time which would be purchased for the job of siring the litters of little pigs that would be born each year.  Over the years that  our Belgrade Township farmer had grown up on the farm, prior to the recent war, he remembered a succession  of different boars on the farm–one after another over the years.

Big Bill, owned by Buford Butler, a farmer from Jackson, Tennessee, was renowned as the largest pig that ever lived. When this picture was taken in 1933 Big Bill had obtained the weight of 2,552lbs.  This was an extreme, but this  style of pig was favored by pork meat buyers as a lard pig in the 1930s and early 1940s.  Big Bill came to the attention of the national public because of the “Largest Boar contests” that were popular in the Midwestern United States, especially in conjunction with the various state fairs held in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois and other states in the 1930s.

Most sows could be counted on to produce litters of baby pigs for only about three (3) or four (4)  years out of their life.  Older sows would begin having less pigs per litter until they began to fail getting pregnant at all.  Accordingly, our Belgrade Township farmer’s father would have to plan ahead and save out some of the best looking gilts of the various litters over the years to replace some of sows that he was phasing out of the herd because of age.

This meant that the young gilts that were to become the new sows on the farm would be the actual daughters of the present boar.  Thus the reason for changing boars every three years or so was to avoid any problems with reduced disease immune resistance and low growth rates that might result from this “in-breeding,” both our Belgrade Township farmer and his father would simply start searching for a new boar.  Among the succession of boars on the farm one boar that stood out the most in the memory of our Belgrade Township farmer was a particular red -colored boar.  This red boar struck him as a child and stuck in his memory merely because of his red color.  This red color stood out in contrast to all the white, black and spotted “black and white”  sows on the farm.

The “red colored” Duroc breed stands out against all of the plethora of other white, black and spotted breeds.  Although this is young boar, he bears all the characteristics of a proper thin style bacon pig that fits the model style desired by the post-war consuming public.

During the years that the red boar was on the farm our Belgrade Township farmer use to love the way the boar left his finger prints on all the litters of baby pigs born during those years.  All the litters of baby pigs born during those years, usually contained one or two little red pigs.  This made the red pigs standout even more in the mind of our Belgrade Township farmer.

The existence of a few red pigs in the litters born during our Belgrade Township farmers first year in the Belgrade Boosters 4-H Club made a noteworthy effect on our Belgrade Townxship farmer as a young teenager and he chose one of the red pigs as his 4-H project for that first year. This started a life-long fascination with Duroc pigs for our Belgrade Township farmer.

As an early teenager, our Belgrade Township farmer had joined the local 4-H club–the “Belgrade Boosters”–and when he chose a 4-H project to show at the Nicollet County Fair–he chose one of the newborn  gilts out of one of the litters born that particular year.   that had been born that year.  Needless to say, the gilt was one of the little red pigs that had captured his imagination at this early date.  He also learned about the characteristics of the Duroc breed.  He learned that the Duroc pork meat tended to be “redder” in color that the pork meat of other breeds of pig.  Additionally, the Duroc meat was regarded as having ” well marbled” fat.  The importance of this feature of well marbled fat in Duroc meat will be explained below.

Marbling of fat in beef is something that is to be avoided in beef because it defeats the idea of “trimming the fat” to avoid consumption  unsaturated fats.

In the years to come during the post-war era the breeder of pigs tended look for pigs that would be thinner in structure than the hugely fat pigs which were commonly produced during the war.  These huge pigs were intentionally grown  for their fat which could be rendered into lard for baking during the pre-war era.  During the Second World War the lard from pork was used for making munitions for the war effort,  Thus, fat pigs were desired by the pork buyers in the market.  Breeders of pigs responded to this desired feature and raised overly fat hogs for the market.

Prize market hogs being shown off for pictures in the 1930s. These market pigs were considered “just right” for the market in the 1930s. Now they are considered very much over weight. Today the pigs would be docked for being too fat and over weight.

However, in the post-war market the buyers began to respond to the consumers who now wanted less cholesterol, grease and fat  in their food.  Now the pork buyers began to look for thinner market hogs that would have less fat.  Thus, in the post-war years the breeders of pigs had to make a 180 degree turn in their thinking.  Now they tended look for pigs that would be thinner in structure than the hugely fat pigs which were commonly produced during the war.

The 2011 Weight Division Champion in Monterey County, California, This champion pig shows all the desirable features in a thin and long bodied modern market hog.

(Still later in 1987, in the face of a huge decrease in beef [or red meat] consumption in the United States from 69.5 lbs. per person in 1987 to 62 lbs per person in 2003, pork producers spent 7 million dollars to advertise pork as the “other white meat,” seeking a closer association of pork with chicken meat in the mind of the consumer rather than an association with beef–the red meat.  In response to this advertising campaign, pork consumption in the United States rose from 45.6 lbs. per person in 1987, to a peak of 49.3 lbs in 1999 before leveling off and dropping to an average of 48.5 lbs. per person in 2003.   What was the cause if this fall off jn popularity in pork as a replacement for beef?  One answer can be the only reason.  However, it may be speculated that as pork became leaner, the meat lost its flavor.  This would be consistent with all the complaints which have been frequently heard since 1987 that pork chops simply do not taste the same as they used to.)

Not take long after he joined the Belgrade Boosters 4-H  club for our Belgrade Township farmer to learn that the most popular of all the red-colored pig breeds in the United States was the Duroc breed.  This placed the correct name on the pigs that until now he had merely been calling “red pigs.”  He learned that pigs called simply  “Red Hogs”  had been introduced into New Jersey in 1812,  Breeding and development of the pigs in New Jersey led to a breed that was called “Jersey Reds,”  These Jersey Reds pigs were noted for “farrowing” (giving birth to) large litters of baby pigs and the Jersey Reds were known for their rapid ability to gain weight.

In 1823, Isaac Frink bought one red boar out of a litter of 10 pigs owned by Frank Kelsey.  The parents of the litter of 10 pigs probably came from England.  Frink brought the boar back to his home in Milton in Saratoga County, New York and began a breeding program on his farm.  Frank Kelsey had been known locally as the owner of a champion race named “Duroc.”  Accordingly, Isaac Frink named the red boar that he had purchased from Frank Kelsey after this horse–Duroc .  This is how the whole breed that descended from the  combination of Jersey Reds and the New York hers descending from Isaac Frink’s  herd came to be called the Duroc breed of pigs.

The American Duroc-Jersey Association was established in 1883 for the registration and improvement of the Duroc Breed. However, at the Worlds Fair of 1893 held in Chicago, Illinois the Duroc breed of pigs created a lot of notoriety, when the first Duroc show was held at the World’s Fair itself.  Due to the rapid growth of the Duroc breed following the 1893 Worlds Fair, many more organizations promoting and advertising the Duroc breed sprang up across the nation.  Eventually, all  these organizations were merged into the United

Prior to his father’s sudden death, our Belgrade Township farmer had  been anticipating obtaining a farm of his own and starting farming on his own.  Indeed, he had been dating a young girl.  Together they had talked of getting married and getting a house of their own .  However, at the time of the death of his father,  our Belgrade Township farmer and this girl friend had drifted apart.  At the time, he suspected that this distance that grew up between he and this girl was brought about by her recognition that our Belgrade Township farmer would be forced into handling the farm of his father and moving into his mother’s house.  He did not feel that he could do anything else.  So the relationship sort of faded and eventually they each went their own way.

His current wife and he had met and started dating after he had settle into his situation on the farm living in house with his mother and his two bothers.  The  hre gotten together h, indeed, had moved into the house of his mother, because neither of his two younger brothers was prepared to .  However, both of his younger brothers were almost ten years younger than our Belgrade Township farmer and were, at time of their father’s death, much too young to operate the whole farm by themselves.  handle the they

Production of the Model SC Case continued until 1954.  Over the full production run of the Model SC tractor, from 1940 until 1954, a total of 58991 individual SC tractors were made.

The Model SC tractor bearing the Serial Number 4911952 lwas shipped to the Cutkowski and Jones Case equipment dealership in Mankato, Minnesota.

This  and eventually sold to a particular farmer operating a farm in western Belgrade Township about 3 or 4 miles to the north of North Mankato on County Road #8 in Nicollet County Minneota.  This was the farm of our Belgrade Township farmer.   Sold into bankruptcy and No. 4911952 was sold to an auction house in Mankato kept No. 4911952 inside a storage shed or garage until an auction was held a couple months later.  At the auction, Ken Weilage purchased No. 4911925 and a couple of other tractors and took the tractors to his 5-acre hobby farm located on the east side of the Hwy. #169 between Mankato and St. Peter, Minnesota.

This hobby farm had originally been a working farm but in the 1960s the arable land of the farm was surveyed and separated from the building site of the farm.  The arable land was then sold to a neighboring farmer and the building site was sold to man who worked as a financial services manager named Ken Wielage (Tel: [507] 625-4810), who also had a hobby of collecting and restoring old farm tractors.  At this stage, No. 4911952 went through its first repainting and restoration.  Once the restoration was complete, the tractor was driven by Ken Weilage in a number of parades.  In about 1990 the tractor was sold to group of about ten (10) neighbors, who all lived along Washington Boulevard on the shore of Lake Washington, near the village of Madison Lake, Minnesota.  This group of neighbors included John Pfau, the owner of a number of Taco John restaurant franchised in Mankato, St. Peter and New Ulm and was the person who actually found the tractor was for sale by Ken Wielage, the late Ernie Weber, Gordon Strusz (at 4524 Washington Blvd. Madison Lake, Minnesota and Tel. [507] 243-3380); Ray Dumbrowski; and  John D. Jacoby who became the person who was most involved with the operation storage and repair of the tractor for the last 20 years.  At first, Washington Boulevard was a gravel rode.  The neighbors used No. 4911952 to pull an old steel-wheeled grader up and down Washington Boulevard to grade and maintain the road and the tractor was used twice a year to put the neighbors docks in Lake Washington in the spring and pulling the docks out of the waster in the autumn.

In 2013 through 2015 No. 4911952 was displayed on the Mike McCabe farm as a tractor for sale and there was seen by the current author in April of 2015 was and purchased for the Wells Family Farms collection of restored tractors. No. 4911952 is currently undergoing its second restoration.

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Farming with a Coop E-3 Tractor in Illinois Part 3: The Owatonna Manufacturing Company

Farming in Illinois with the Coop Model E-3 Tractor

 (Part 3 of 3 Parts): The Kewanee Belt and Conveyor Company

by

Brian Wayne Wells

This article remains under construction.  From time to time new blocks of text will appear or present blocks of text will be corrected.

 

Throughout the history of North American agriculture, farmers have been attempting to solve their own problems.  Farmers have repeatedly joined together in societies and organization.  As noted in a previous article (See the article on this blog entitled “Farming in Illinois with the Model E-3 Tractor Part 1 of 3  Parts: The Farmers Union”) some farmers banded together in organizations like the Grange and the National Farmers Union to 1.) boost the money that farmers received for their crops through  cooperative marketing of their crops and  2.) save money through cooperative purchasing of their farm equipment, fuels and other products used in raising and harvesting those crops on the farm.

Local cooperatives engaged in the cooperative marketing of farm crops were usually centered around cooperatively-owned  creameries and grain elevators located in small towns across the vast agricultural areas of the United States–the  Midwest, the Great Plains, the agricultural South and the Central and Imperial Valleys of California.  As time went by, and the local cooperatives began to expand into the cooperative purchasing of products used by farmers, the local cooperatives began to build or purchase their own lumberyards, gasoline service stations and farm implement dealerships which began to sell cooperatively purchased products to their farmer members at reduced prices.

One member of the National Farmers Union who was currently farming in Sterling Township in Whiteside County, Illinois.  He was a “true believer” in the value of the cooperatives to the small farmer and tried at all instances to purchase all his supplies from local Cooperatives.  Especially, those cooperatives that were connected with the Farmers Union.  Our Sterling Township farmer had moved to this farm in Illinois in 1945 from  his father’s farm located near Baraboo, Wisconsin.  Due to a lack of any local cooperative that sold “COOP” farm machinery and farm tractors, our Sterling Township farmer tended to buy his farm machinery at the Sauk County Farmers Union Cooperative in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

However, there was some farm machinery that was not available through the COOP line of the farm implements marketed by the National Farmers Union.  For these pieces of farm machinery, our Sterling Township farmer was required to turn to other private company suppliers.  As noted previously, he had purchased an 8-foot hydraulically controlled trailing double disc from a local dealer in Sterling, Illinois.  This disc had been manufactured by the Kewanee Manufacturing Company of Kewanee, Illinois.  Kewanee, Illinois was situated in Henry County, Illinois, which was located immediately to the south of Whiteside County.

A county map of the State of Illinois showing the location of Henry County the home county of the Kewaunee Manufacturing Company. The County immediately to the north of the highlighted Henry County is Whiteside County Illinois, the home county of our Sterling Township farmer.

 

Even though our Sterling Township farmer had been impressed by the hydraulically controlled transportable disc produced by the Kewanee Manufacturing Company, he was not so impressed by the portable farm elevator that was also produced by the Kewaunee Company.

The Kewaunee Company had been making portable farm elevators since 1922 when the company purchased a line of portable farm  elevators from the Hart Grain Weigher Company of Peoria, Illinois.  At this time, the portable elevator made by Kewaunee was a composit of wood and steel construction.  In 1926, Kewaunee introduced their “all-steel” elevator.  In anticipation of the production the new farm Kewaunee elevator the Kewaunee Company had moved out of its old facilities to a new concrete block building locate on the corner of Park and Commercial Streets in Kewaunee in 1922.  However, sales of the new portable Kewaunee farm elevator grew so rapidly that the Company was forced to move to still larger facilities in 1927.

In 1922 the Kewaunee Machinery Company inherited a portable farm elevator made of wood and steel when the Company purchased a line of portable elevator line from the Hart Grain Weigher Company.

 

During the first few years on the new farm in Sterling Township, Illinois,  our Sterling Township farmer had been forced to borrow a portable elevator from his neighbors merely to move the oat crop from the wagon to his granary and to move the ear corn from the wagons which were coming into the yard to the corn crib.  to the   to

  In 1888 the Owatonna Manufacturing Company was founded in Owatonna, Mnnesota.  Farmers soon recognized the OMC paint colors of red and lime green on the grain drills, seeders and balers.  In 1928, OMC began making portable farm elevators in 1928 after purchasing the Diedrick Company.  Indeed, for a while OMC continued the production of the Diedrich (even under the Diedrich name)

The first OMC factory in Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1888.

 

Farmers soon recognized the OMC paint colors of red and lime green on the grain drills, seeders. elevators and and balers.

 

The Owatonna Manufacturing Company of Owatonna, Minnesota, specialized in farm equipment specifically seeders and portable farm elevators.

Owattonna

In 1965, OMC  introduced their first “Mustang” skid steer.

 

In 1997 Mustang was separated from OMC and sold to the Gehl Corporation

 

OMC, itself was sold to the Manitou Americas Inc. corporation.    as being

As the mid-1950s went on, the Cockshutt faced dwindling Meanwhile,  the National Farm Machinery Cooperative started losing market share in the farm tractor and machinery market as a result Cockshutt shares return egt.  arm

 

Eventually, our Sterling township farmer traded the COOP Model E-3 tractor, bearing the serial No. 31591, in on the purchase of a newer more powerful Cockshutt tractor.  No. 31591 was sold from one owner to another when the tractor ended up in the hands of an owner than sought to made the Model E-3 into a tractor that could be used in professional antique tractor pulling contests.  Accordingly, the hydraulics which had been installed on No. 31591 by our Sterling Township farmer under the seat on the operator’s platform.  At the same time the tractor was repainted with the red and cream colors to make No. 31591 look like a post-1955 Cockshutt.

When purchased by the current author, the COOP Model E-3 tractor bearing the serial number 31591 had been largely repainted to look like a post-1955 model Cockshutt Model 30.

 

to make the tractor t pullingthe

Coop Farming in Illinois (Part I): The Farmers Union

Coop Farming in Illinois (Part 1):

The National Farmers Union

    by

    Brian Wayne Wells

THIS ARTICLE REMAINS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PERIODICALLY ADDITIONS WILL BE MADE TO THE ARTICLE. WHEN THE ARTICLE IS COMPLETE THIS PARTICULAR MESSAGE WILL DISAPPEAR.

Throughout the history of North American agriculture, farmers have been attempting to solve their own problems. Farmers have repeatedly joined together in societies and organizations to protect their common economic and political well being. In the United States, one of these attempts of farmers to band together to solve their problems occurred in 1867 with the formation of the National Grange of the Society of the Patrons of Husbandry (or more simply “the Grange). The Grange was formed in the state of Maine in 1867. Following the initial founding of the National Grange, local chapters of the Grange Society sprang up all across the northern rural areas of the nation. At first, Grange meetings were merely social events—community dinners and dances. This was an attempt to solve the problem of loneliness or isolation facing many farm families. However, soon the Grange took a more serious bent and began to protest the political and economic problems faced by farmers.

Founding Hall of the National Society of the Grange in Solon, Maine.

Chief among the concerns of the Grangers was the exploitation of farmers by private grain elevators and the railroad. Usually the local privately-owned grain elevators exercised a near monopoly over the prices that local farmers received for their crops. Often times this price was much lower than the farmer might have received if some competition in the market had been available to the local farmer. However, such competition was usually not readily available to the farmers. Usually there was only a single grain elevator in each local town. To find competing elevators the farmer would have to carry his grain to more distant elevators. Shipping their products to more distant markets was one means by which the farmers might find a higher price for their farm products. Railroads, the primary method of shipping to those distant markets, but usually railroads also had a monopoly over shipping from local small towns. Usually there was only one railroad in each small town. Thus, railroads could charge what ever they wanted for shipping the farmer’s grain. So railroads, along with grain elevators became the targets of farm protest movements.

The individual farmer felt himself being squeezed between the twin monopoly powers of the railroads and their local privately-owned grain elevators. Accordingly, the political program of the Grange developed into a strong protest against monopolistic price-setting powers of both the railroads and the privately-owned grain elevators. The State of Illinois, reacting to protest agitation on the part of the Grange, passed legislation on April 25, 1871 which required the appropriate state to regulate the rates that local privately-owned grain elevators charged farmers for their services. Regulations for the storage of grain by privately-owned grain elevators were promulgated in January of 1872. In June of 1872, a group of elevators including the Munn & Scott grain elevator of Chicago, Illinois, were sued by the State of Illinois for a violation of these regulations regarding terms and rates of grain storage charged. Munn & Scott appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of the Illinois statute allowing the regulation of grain elevators. This case became the landmark case called Munn v. Illinois, (94 U. S. 113 [1877]). The Grange joined the State of Illinois, in the case. The case was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1877. This decision upheld the States of Illinois’ right to regulate the rates that grain elevators could charge for the services they rendered. (More broadly, however, the Munn decision recognized the constitutionality of any state government to regulate any private corporations operating within its boundaries. As such, Munn v. Illinois became the foundation of many areas of law including the state’s right to prevent discrimination against people based on race, sex, age or etc.)

Munn vs. Illinois is argued before the United States Supreme Court.

The Grange was limited in geographical scope to the northern states of the nation. In the south, the National Farmers Alliance was the most popular farm protest group. Formed in 1876 in Lampasas, Texas, the National Farmers Alliance was political from the start. The Alliance agreed with the Grange in demanding restrictions on the monopolistic power of the railroads. However, whereas northern farmers protested against the monopoly power of grain elevators to set prices, southern farmers had the same complaints against the monopoly power of cotton brokers, banks and local merchants under the crop-lien system of farming. Under the crop-lein system, local merchants and bankers would loan money, seed and equipment to farmers before spring planting. Collateral on this loan was a lien on the expected crop to be harvested in the fall. Since cotton was the only crop that paid well enough to support the principal and interest on these loans, the merchants and bankers required that only cotton be planted by the farmer. Thus the farmer’s fortunes rose and fell economically, each year, on a single crop—cotton. Thus, under the crop-lien system, the farmer had no ability to diversify his crops to protect himself economically from the risk of a bad cotton price in a particular year. If cotton crop prices failed, the farmer would still have to make payments on the loan and the interest charges on that loan continued to pile up.

State government regulation of monopoly power provided some protection from certain unscrupulous actions taken against the farmer, however, farmers eventually began think about working together to market their farm products. The idea was that all the farmers of a given community would be a member of the organization, or cooperative. In the north, this meant that the farmers would own their own grain elevator. They would all become shareholders in this elevator. The farmers would meet once a year in a shareholders meeting and elect a board of directors to operate the cooperative elevator. The board of directors, in turn, would hire all the officers needed to handle the day-to-day affairs of the cooperative elevator.

In the 1890s many of these farmer-owned cooperatives sprang up across the Midwestern United States. These farmer-owned cooperatives built new grain elevators or purchased old ones and built or purchased dairy creameries. Thus, in many rural communities of the Midwest there was true competition for the farmers products—corn, wheat and milk. These early cooperatives faced a widespread opposition from railroads, grain companies, banks and many newspapers. Shortly after the turn of the century, two significant farm organizations were organized in support of the cooperative movement.

A cooperatively-owned grain elevator in South Dakota. The farmer cooperative that owns this elevator is affiliated with the Farmers Union. as reflected on the side of the building.

In the south, the Farmers Alliance was broken by the organized and united power of the cotton brokers, the banks and the railroads. Accordingly, in 1902, the National Farmers Union was organized in Point, Texas by Newt Gresham and a number of other farmers. Newt Gresham became one of the main organizers of the Farmer’s Union. Newt Gresham knew how to persevere in the face of adversity. He had been orphaned at the age of 10 years. Thus, at an early age he had become totally self-reliant. He was self-educated, had worked the land for most of his life and became the chief organizer for the Farmers Alliance.

The first organizing meeting of the Farmers Union. Newt Gresham stands second from the right in the back row.

In 1911, another farmers group was formed—the American Farm Bureau Federation was organized in Binghamton, New York. Both of these farm organizations agreed on the benefit of cooperatives to the average farmer. The American Farm Bureau began forming some cooperatives in the 1920s. (Cockshutt: The Complete Story compiled by the International Cockshutt Club, Inc. [American Society of Engineers Press: St. Joseph, Michigan, 1999] p. 78.) These Farm Bureau affiliated cooperatives were located, mainly, in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Farmers Union cooperatives were mainly located further west (Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas) and extended south as far as Oklahoma and Texas. However the two organizations developed an entirely different philosophy regarding governmental assistance to farmers in distress. The National Farmers Union supported government assistance and government regulation of the farm markets in time of distress. The America Farm Bureau tended to be opposed to all governmental interference in the farm economy.

One of the early cooperatives formed in the Midwest, was the Equity Cooperative Exchange of St. Paul, Minnesota which had been formed in 1908. In 1914, Equity Cooperative built their own grain elevator on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul. However, Equity had trouble finding buyers for its grain because of the discriminatory actions of private grain companies. For example, Equity was denied a seat in the privately-owned Minneapolis Grain Exchange because of this opposition led by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce. Accordingly, Equity started their own grain exchange—the St. Paul Grain Exchange in 1914.

Active bidding on parcels of grain on the floor of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange in 1939.

The free-wheeling free enterprise economy of the 1920s worked against the cooperatives. Equity Cooperative was forced into bankruptcy in the 1920s and in 1926, the Farmers Union Terminal Association took over the assets of Equity, in order to continue the goals of the cooperative movement in North America. True to its Farmers Union philosophy the Farmers Union Terminal Association supported stronger regulations on the inspection of grain and governmental regulation of the weighing and calibration of the scales within elevators to assure honest weighing practices.

The severe economic depression of the early 1930s brought renewed vigor to the cooperative movement in the United States. Farmer-owned cooperatives surged in numbers across the Midwestern states. On June 1, 1938, the Farmers Union Terminal Association re-organized itself as the Grain Terminal Association (GTA).

Charles C. Talbot, organizer for the National Farmers Union and President of the North Dakota chapter of the Farmers Union in the 1930s.

Leading organizers of the Farmers Union, like Charles C. Talbot founder and president of the North Dakota Farmers Union; Bill Thatcher, a legislative lobbyist for the Farmers Union in Minnesota; and A.W. Richer, now became involved with GTA.

William (Bill) Thatcher (1883-1977) General Manager of the Grain Terminal Assciation

In the early 1930’s, Myron William (Bill) Thatcher became the general manager of the GTA. Over the 30 years that Bill Thatcher served as general manager of the developed contacts and friendships with politicians, including President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota and Republican Senator Milton Young of North Dakota. Because of the political philosophy of the Farmers Union which tended to support governmental support of farmers in trouble, most of the political contacts that Bill Thatcher generated on behalf of the Farmers Union/GTA tended to be overwhelmingly members of the Democratic Party. Both in 1932 and 1936, the Farmers Union supported Franklin Roosevelt, while the American Farm Bureau did not. Accordingly, the Farmers Union evolved into a traditional major constituency of the Democratic Party similar to the way the AFL (the American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (the Congress of Industrial Organizations) became major constituent parts of the Democratic Party among urban laboring people.

Hubert Humphrey brings Bill Thatcher to the White House in April 1961 to meet President Kennedy.

Continue reading Coop Farming in Illinois (Part I): The Farmers Union

Oliver Farming in Mower County, Minnesota (Part VIII): The Robert Westfall Family Oliver Model 77 bearing the Serial Number 4501745

Oliver Farming in Mower County (Part VIII):

The Robert Westfall Family 

by

Brian Wayne Wells

THIS ARTICLE REMAINS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PERIODICALLY ADDITIONS WILL BE MADE TO THE ARTICLE. WHEN THE ARTICLE IS COMPLETE THIS PARTICULAR MESSAGE WILL DISAPPEAR.

In December of 1968, Robert and Lorraine Westfall and their family of eight children moved from the Jimmy Olson farm, located northwest of Dexter, Minnesota (1960 pop. 313), to their own farm which they purchased in December of 1968. This farm was located in the same neighborhood and was situated east of the village of Dexter. east of thev of rural which they had been renting since 1959 to their own farm which th. No. 4501745 was again sold through Thill Implement in the December of 1968 to Robert Westfall of Dexter, Minnesota. Robert and Lorraine Westfall used No. 4501745 on their farm until Robert passed away on January 13, 1992. Lorraine continued to live on the farm and rent out the acerage until she sold the farm in October of 1996. In 1996 she sold No. 4501745 to Mark Wells. In August of 1996, David Preuhs pickup and trailer from LeSueur, Minnesota to the Westfall farm in near Dexter, Minnesota to pickup the Oliver tractor and bring it back to LeSueur Pioneer Power. Kyle Lieske worked on the Oliver over the winter of 2008-2009 and the tractor was brought to West Virginia by Sally and Brian Wells where the tractor was painted during June of 2009 by Jake Lovejoy of Red House, West Virginia.

Austin, Minnesota, (1950 pop. 23,100) is the county seat of Mower County. Austin is located in a Township on the a Located in the middle of Mower County is Windom Township which surrounds the small village of Rose Creek, Minnesota (1930 pop. 210). Until 1980, Rose Creek, Minnesota was famous in the surrounding agricultural community for a farm tractor dealership that was far out of proportion with the town’s small size.

Until the dealership closed its doors in 1965, Thill Implement served as the a local Oliver Farm Equipment dealership. However, over the years they were in business, Thill Implement grew in reputation and fame until they served much more than just Windom Township and the immediate Rose Creek community. The dealership eventually became the premier Oliver dealership of all Mower County and, began to serve the entire southern Minnesota and northern Iowa area.

thaof the the South Bend, Indiana is famously known as the home of Notre Dame University. However, the economic basis for the small Indiana city is build on the processing of iron and the manufacture of farm machinery. Two particular examples of the farm equipment manufacturing basis of the South Bend economy are the two factories owned by the Oliver Farm Equipment Corporation—South Bend No. 1 and South Bend No. 2. South Bend No. 1 is basically a foundry. While South Bend No. 2 is a basically a large machining works where the various castings molded in South Bend No. 1 are drilled with the necessary bolt holes and and where edges on those castings are shaved down under huge milling machines to the proper tolerances to be fit together with other castings during the assembly of Oliver tractors and Oliver farm macinery. (Scenes of the operations inside both South Bend No. 1 and South Bend No. 2 can be seen on the movie Acres of Power [1948]. This movie is available on VHS video tape from the Floyd County Historical Society.)

On Friday morning , December 11, 1953, the work force at the South Bend No. 1 foundry works of the Oliver Farm Equipment Company changed some numbers on the mold for the transmission and rear-end housing for Oliver’s most popular tractor—the Row Crop Model 77 tractor. Each casting was stamped with the casting  date on the mold of their castings.  The moldhad to be kept up to date on a daily basis.  All transmission and rear end housing that would be cast today would bear the current date—December 11, 1953.   a particular casting for the transmission and rear end housing was cast.  As usual, all the molds used for casting this e on this the mold was All the cast iron used in the assembly of the famous Oliver tractor are “cast” right here in South Bend No. 1. that fit together  

In December of 1968, Robert and Lorraine Westfall and their family of eight children moved from the Jimmy Olson farm, located northwest of Dexter, Minnesota (1960 pop. 313), to their own farm which they purchased in December of 1968. This farm was located in the same neighborhood and was situated east of the village of Dexter. east of thev of rural which they had been renting since 1959 to their own farm which th. No. 4501745 was again sold through Thill Implement in the December of 1968 to Robert Westfall of Dexter, Minnesota. Robert and Lorraine Westfall used No. 4501745 on their farm until Robert passed away on January 13, 1992. Lorraine continued to live on the farm and rent out the acerage until she sold the farm in October of 1996.  This time when No. 4501745 was sold through Thill Implement, the tractor  had a Freeman International Company tractor loader mounted on the front end of the Oliver 77. 

The Freeman International Company was located in Freeman South Dakota.  The Town of Freeman (1960 pop. 1,140) was located in Hutchinson County, South Dakota.  Hutchinson County is located about 100 miles east of where the 100th Meridian passes through the South Dakota, running from  from north south.  Accordingly,  dto soe inside  

In 1996 she sold No. 4501745 to Mark Wells. In August of 1996, David Preuhs pickup and trailer from LeSueur, Minnesota to the Westfall farm in near Dexter, Minnesota to pickup the Oliver tractor with the Freeman loader and bring it back to LeSueur Pioneer Power. Kyle Lieske worked on the Oliver over the winter of 2008-2009 and the tractor was brought to West Virginia by Sally and Brian Wells where the tracor was painted during June of 2009 by Jake Lovejoy of Red House, West Virginia.     and r f from tr Defrom   drove his trailer and and she sold the Olver Row Crop to Mark Wells.   Wesvat this The Oliver continued to be used on the farm for u r Retired from farming in tithe Model and Fa;;l V s ;V. The the

M

Mower County, Minnesota is located on the southern border of the State of Minnesota, adjacent to the State of Iowa. In 1953, Mower County was a predominately rural county. Topographically, Mower County is located in a transition area. Starting in western Mower County and extending into Freeborn County to the west the land becomes very flat. However the land in eastern Mower County and extending east into Fillmore County the land becomes increasingly more hilly. Additionally, the soil itself in the eastern part of Mower County is sandy and is not as rich as the darker humus soil in the western part of the county.

Oliver Farming in Mower County Minnesota: Oliver Row Crop Model 77 Bearing Serial No. 4501745

Oliver Farming in Mower County (Part VIII):

The Row-Crop  Model 77 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 4501745 

  by

Brian Wayne Wells

 

THIS ARTICLE REMAINS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. PERIODICALLY ADDITIONS WILL BE MADE TO THE ARTICLE. WHEN THE ARTICLE IS COMPLETE THIS PARTICULAR MESSAGE WILL DISAPPEAR.

 

Subsequent acquisitions by the New Idea Company included the Horn Company of Fort Dodge, Iowa.   In 1963, the New Idea Company bought the Uni-tractor line from Minneapolis-Moline.   In 1984, the Allied Company bought the New Idea Company. In 1985, the Allied Company purchased the White Tractor Company. In 1988, the White-New Idea Company closed the old Tractor Works located in Charles City, Iowa and moved all White tractor production to the New Idea factory in Coldwater, Ohio.

Austin, Minnesota, (1950 pop. 23,100) is the county seat of Mower County. Austin is located in a Township on the a Located in the middle of Mower County is Windom Township which surrounds the small village of Rose Creek, Minnesota (1930 pop. 210). Until 1980, Rose Creek, Minnesota was famous in the surrounding agricultural community for a farm tractor dealership that was far out of proportion with the town’s small size.

 

Favorable market conditions in the sheep market were reported over the radio—like WCCO radio out of the Twin Cities. Our Nevada Township farmer began think hard about acquiring a small flock of ewes. He was not alone. Many farmers in his neighborhood were doing the same thing. Indeed, for one farm family over in a neighboring township—Austin Township—sheep raising was already a major part of their farm income. Earl Eugene and Margaret (Stormer) Subra owned a farm containing only 60-acres in Austin Township. While, the Subra family milked some cows and raise some pigs, they virtually made all their cash income from sheep—pure bred Suffolk sheep. Born in 1913, Earl Subra grew up on the farm of his parents William J. and Bertha (Dennis) Subra located in Austin Township. Raised on his father’s farm, Earl had moved to his own farm. In 1931, he and Margaret Stormer were married. Earl began raising Suffolk sheep prior to 1940. He chose Suffolk sheep because of the characteristics of breed.

The Suffolk breed was born as a result of the cross breeding of Southdown sheep with old Norfolk sheep in England. Suffolks are not “wool” sheep. They grow only a moderate amount of wool. They were a breed of sheep known for their black faces and legs, which were free of wool. Suffolk sheep were raised primarily as “meat” sheep. Suffolk ewes (female sheep) were prolific in the production of offspring and were “good milkers.” Suffolk lambs grew rapidly; they had more edible meat and less fat than other breeds. Suffolks have excellent feed conversion characteristics which means that Suffolks have the capacity to actively graze and rustle for feed even on dry range lands. However, this characteristic also means that when Suffolk lambs are raised on high quality feeds, the breed has one of the fastest growth rates of any breed of sheep. Consequently, Suffolk sheep were rapidly becoming the most common breed in the Midwestern United States. (Paula Simmons & Carol Ekarius, Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep [Storey Publishing: North Adams, Massachusetts, 2001] p. 74.)

Earl Subra noted that Suffolks answered the demands of the market at the current time in 1940. Meat, not wool, was the main product that was in demand in the current market. Suffolks had the quality of lean meat that the market demanded. Furthermore, the short five-month (147-153 day) gestation period plus the rapid growth rate of the individual lambs meant that the farmer could make money faster with Suffolks than with other breed of sheep. Earl Subra knew that, drawn by the chance for making a good profit, many farmers would be attempting enter the sheep market by acquiring flocks of their own for the first time. He also knew that many of these farmers would be choosing Suffolks. Accordingly, in addition to raising and selling lambs to the Hormel meat packing plant in Austin, he felt he could also make a profit selling bucks (male sheep) and ewes (female sheep) to those farmers wanting to start their own flocks. In this way he would be working with the rising tide of farmers entering the sheep market. This, Earl Subra thought, was the way he could make a living out of the new situation that was arising.

However, to sell Suffolks to the farmers wishing to start their new flocks, Earl Subra felt that he needed to have a product that would these farmers would buy. If Suffolk sheep had characteristics that would stand out among other breeds of sheep, then the goal should be to raise Suffolk sheep that would adhere closely to those characteristics and avoid any negative characteristics. Indeed, there already was an organization in devoted to promoting the best characteristics of the Suffolk breed by educating Suffolk breeders. This organization was the National Suffolk Sheep Association (N.S.S.A.) which was headquartered in Michigan and later was headquartered in Columbia, Missouri. N.S.S.A. started a registration process by which purebred Suffolks could be registered with N.S.S.A. N.S.S.A. would mail out a certificate of registration to the owner of the individual registered sheep. In order to qualify for registration, both the sire (father) and dam (mother) must also have their own certificates of registration. Theoretically, then every registered purebred Suffolk could be traced back through a paper trail of registration certificates to the original Suffolk sheep which initially defined the breed. Each certificate of registration would document that the individual sheep was direct descendant of these original Suffolk sheep.

Even prior to 1939, Earl Subra had been working on developing a flock of Suffolk sheep that reflected superiority in any number of individual features. Soon his ewes and rams were winning a number of blue ribbons at the Mower County Fair which was held in the first week of August each year. Earl also began to make a name for himself at the Minnesota State Fair. Soon breeders from outside the Midwest, and even from Canada, were searching him out to purchase rams and ewes from the Subra flock. These other breeders saw traits in the Subra sheep that they wished to include in the blood lines of their own flocks. Consequently, Subra sheep were sold far and wide and Earl Subra became quite famous among Suffolk breeders across the nation.

Accordingly, when our Nevada Township farmer began to think seriously about obtaining a flock of sheep for his own farm, he though of the Subra farm located in the next township to the west. Accordingly, in the fall of 1941, after watching the dramatic increase in the price of sheep over the summer (reaching $7.10 per hundred weight in August of 1941), our Nevada Township farmer purchased eight (8) purebred Suffolk ewes from Earl Subra in September of 1941 and brought them to his farm. He hoped that adding sheep to his farming operation would be another diversification of the farming operation and the farm income. He hoped this diversification would further strengthen his family’s financial position.

Introducing the ewes to his farm for the first time required that some changes be made to the farm. The farm on which our Nevada Township farmer and his family lived was established in a series of concentric circles, each area fenced off from the next larger circle. The immediate area around the house contained the lawns, the outhouse, dog house and family garden. This was the inner yard. A legal term for this area is “the curtilage.”   The next largest encircled area included most of the rest of the building site of the farm, the grove, the orchard and the windbreak running along the north and west sides of the building site. This area was also called the “yard,” but the term was meant to be used in a larger sense than the mere curtilage around the house. The area behind the barn was fenced off from the yard to keep the cows out of the yard. Likewise the areas on either side of the hog house were fenced off to keep the pigs out of the yard and the chicken yard next to the hen house was fenced off to keep the chickens out of the yard. All animals were kept out of the yard except the family dog and any cats from the barn. These animals were actually encouraged to patrol the yard and keep rodents under control. However, the yard was intended to be the main home for the small flock of sheep that he was now acquiring.

One of the benefits of a flock of sheep would be the fact that they would keep the grass and weeds in all area of the yard under control. This would save labor and time that the family had, in the past, spent trying to keep these areas mowed and trimmed. This was one of the advantages that our Nevada Township farmer looked forward to about having sheep on the farm. However, there were also disadvantages. One of the most important disadvantages was that all the fences around the yard had to be improved and reinforced. Sheep were curious and would explore every portion of the area they occupy in order to find vegetation to eat. First, the fence between the yard and the cartilage needed to be made more secure to keep the sheep from invading the cartilage and most importantly out of the family garden. In the garden, the sheep could make quick work of the young succulent plants the family was trying to grow there. The lawns inside the cartilage would continue to be mowed by the family, just as in the past. Likewise the fences around the outside of the yard needed to be strengthened to prevent the sheep from getting into the fields where the farm crops were being raised.

In 1945, the number of sheep across the whole state of Minnesota stood at 995,000 head. In Mower County the sheep population was 17,500 head in 1945. The number of sheep in neighboring Fillmore County, to the east of Mower County, stood at 30,500 head.

The sale lambs to the Hormel’s, the sale y

 

This s   During the the esheltolocation to la Farm withwhich had been the foread merged with r headed southw dd On the one hand, being just e Minnesota that sm wee.n a on o t

October Sr. John and (A short profile of Robert Thill and a short history of Thill Implement is contained in the       issue of Oliver Collector magazine

 

Until the dealership closed its doors in 1965, Thill Implement served as the a local Oliver Farm Equipment dealership. However, over the years they were in business, Thill Implement grew in reputation and fame until they served much more than just Windom Township and the immediate Rose Creek community. The dealership eventually became the premier Oliver dealership of all Mower County and, began to serve the entire southern Minnesota and northern Iowa area.

The Second World War had had a large impact on the population of the United States. In 1940, still 43.5% of the population of the nation lived on farms. In 1950, this figure had dropped to 36.9% of the total population. (See the U.S. Census on-line.) Still with more than one third of the nation making their money from farms, the United States remained a “rural nation.” Thus, many of the returning United States veterans from both theaters of the war were from farms and upon their return to home. When they did return they had many new ideas on how to modernize the family farm. First and foremost, in the improvements sought by returning veterans, was to replace slow, inefficient horse power on the family farm with mechanical power supplied by a farm tractor. Thus, a large demand for tractors was created at the end of the war. Furthermore, this demand for tractors was made worse by the fact that no new tractors had been available during the whole course of the war. Accordingly, even the farmers that might have bought a new farm tractor during the war were prevented from doing so by the wartime restrictions on the economy which curtailed civilian tractor production. With the return of peace, these wartime restrictions on the economy were suddenly ended. There was a tremendous surge of buyers released into the new farm machinery market. This surge of buyers caused new local dealerships to spring up all over the Midwestern United States.

One of these new implement dealerships, was the Thill Implement dealership in Rose Creek, in Mower County, Minnesota. John Thill started this dealership in   . John Thill remained a farmer in Windom Township. In     , with his brother Jack. Thill Implement had a dealership franchise agreement with the Oliver Farm Equipment Company of Charles City, Iowa, to sell the full line of Oliver farm equipment from the. Since 1937, the line Oliver of tractors had been distinguished by the six-cylinder Model 70 tractor. The Model 70 was the most popular selling tractor in the line of Oliver had a sales reputation that stretched far beyond the rural Rose Creek community. The dealership became an important regionally severing a multi-county area in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. The dealership With the return of peace following the Second World War, the In the post-war was uniques line, were In the pos

dealership grown into a .   Rober achad not yet reached its full capacity . The dealership had been was

thaof the the South Bend, Indiana is famously known as the home of Notre Dame University. However, the economic basis for the small Indiana city is build on the processing of iron and the manufacture of farm machinery. Two particular examples of the farm equipment manufacturing basis of the South Bend economy are the two factories owned by the Oliver Farm Equipment Corporation—South Bend No. 1, located on the large industrial lot at the corner of Chapin and Sample streets and extending to Indiana Street, and South Bend No. 2 located at Walnut Street.   South Bend No. 1 is the Oliver Chilled Plow factory and contains a foundry. While South Bend No. 2 is the “Tractor Works” is basically a large machining works where the various castings molded in South Bend No. 1 are drilled with the necessary bolt holes and and where edges on those castings are shaved down under huge milling machines to the proper tolerances to be fit together with other castings during the assembly of Oliver tractors and engines. (Scenes of the operations inside both South Bend No. 1 and South Bend No. 2 can be seen on the movie Acres of Power [1948]. This movie is available on VHS video tape from the Floyd County Historical Society.)

On Friday morning , December 11, 1953, the work force at the South Bend No. 1 foundry works of the Oliver Farm Equipment Company changed some numbers on the mold for the transmission and rear-end housing for Oliver’s most popular tractor—the Row Crop Model 77 tractor. Each casting l the casting rought the date on the mould of their castings up to date. All transmission and rear end housing that would be cast today would bear the current date—December 11, 1953.   a particular casting for the transmission and rear end housing was cast. As usual, all the molds used for casting this e on this the mold was All the cast iron used in the assembly of the famous Oliver tractor are “cast” right here in South Bend No. 1. that fit together and form Oliver tractors are made in bMost famously milled. ade in the uplants s the basic xiand town s The The 100° longitude meridian line runs north and south over the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. This longitude line is

 

 

In December of 1968, Robert and Lorraine Westfall and their family of eight children moved from the Jimmy Olson farm, located northwest of Dexter, Minnesota (1960 pop. 313), to their own farm which they purchased in December of 1968. This farm was located in the same neighborhood and was situated east of the village of Dexter. east of thev of rural which they had been renting since 1959 to their own farm which th. No. 4501745 was again sold through Thill Implement in the December of 1968 to Robert Westfall of Dexter, Minnesota. Robert and Lorraine Westfall used No. 4501745 on their farm until Robert passed away on January 13, 1992. Lorraine continued to live on the farm and rent out the acerage until she sold the farm in October of 1996. In 1996 she sold No. 4501745 to Mark Wells. In August of 1996, David Preuhs pickup and trailer from LeSueur, Minnesota to the Westfall farm in near Dexter, Minnesota to pickup the Oliver tractor and bring it back to LeSueur Pioneer Power. Kyle Lieske worked on the Oliver over the winter of 2008-2009 and the tractor was brought to West Virginia by Sally and Brian Wells where the tracor was painted during June of 2009 by Jake Lovejoy of Red House, West Virginia.     and r f from tr Defrom   drove his trailer and and she sold the Olver Row Crop to Mark Wells.   Wesvat this The Oliver continued to be used on the farm for u r Retired from farming in tithe Model and Fa;;l V s ;V. The the

 

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Belt Pulley Magazine Articles by Brian Wayne Wells