"Grandpa's Tractor"

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

On September 27, 1950 (I would have been 8 years old) my dad bought a brand new tractor, a John Deere MT. The MT was a tricycle version of the Model M and was produced from 1949-1952. There were a total of 30,472 units built. Along with the tractor he bought a 2 bottom plow and the following Spring a 2 row cultivator. He used this tractor on our small farm up until he sold the farm in 1987. The man who purchased the farm also bought the tractor and implements.

I'm not sure which came first, but Darryl began to plan his move to the country to homestead and wanted to track down "Grandpa's Tractor." Sometime in the latter part of 2000 he got on the trail of that tractor. He first contacted the man who had bought it and my dad's farm.

Due to some mis-figuring of his income tax by H and R Block, or another similar firm, this man had been required to come up with some money quickly and had sold the tractor and implements. The buyer, who I think was in some way related to him, was an Amish man without a telephone. Darryl had some difficulty in contacting him and getting information. But, eventually he discovered that he also had sold the tractor. The man did still have the plow and cultivator. After some time Darryl was able to get the name of the person who had purchased the tractor. I do not recall just how he got it although I do know that he posted a note on a John Deere tractor discussion board in early February 2001 asking for assistance in locating this person.

But, discovering the identity of this person, who lived at Pana, Illinois, didn’t resolve the situation. He had also sold the tractor. He did not have a record of the man’s name who had bought it but just remembered that he lived at Centralia, Illinois. He seemed to think that the man was a school teacher (which was later found to not be the case at all). Darryl was not willing to give up the search. He sent a letter to the schools in Centralia outlining what he was searching for. Thankfully, someone there did get back to Darryl after asking a number of the teachers if they knew of such a tractor or anyone having purchased one. No one seemed to know of anyone but this man did have a suggestion for Darryl. He suggested that he contact the John Deere dealer in Centalia, which he did. After explaining what he was searching for the fellow at the dealership gave Darryl the name of an individual that had been buying parts to restore an older John Deere. Perhaps, he thought, this might be the man.

Darryl called and again explained who he was and what he was looking for. After listening to Darryl’s story he told Darryl that he was the man. He had bought the MT to restore and had planned to buy one each of the entire M series and restore. However, due to job changes and other circumstances the MT was the only tractor he had purchased and he had not even had time to totally get it restored. He said he would consider selling it but would have to discuss it with his wife. He asked Darryl to call back a few days later.

When Darryl got back with him he said that after discussing it with his wife he would sell it to Darryl and he would sell it at as reasonable price as he could because it was going back to family. He actually took a bit of a loss as he had spent quite a bit on new tires, new wiring harness and other items. The price he quoted Darryl was almost exactly the amount Darryl had saved to buy the tractor if he could track it down. On September 9th, 2001 Darryl and I made the trip to Centralia with a rented trailer to bring the John Deere MT that my dad bought new in 1950 back home.

Darryl followed up with the Amish fellow and bought the plow and cultivator as well. I told Darryl that the tractor had wheel weights with it when Dad owned it but they weren’t with the tractor when Darryl got it. The Amish fellow had a set, but not the ones that went with the tractor, that he would sell. Before doing that Darryl decided to call the fellow at Pana, Illinois and discovered that the wheel weights were there and he told Darryl he could have them, just come and get them. So, after 14 years being out of the family the little John Deere was back. I think my dad would have been pleased.

When Darryl made the move here to Cedar Ridge Farm the little John Deere came along. It is still being used as the top photo shows. This was taken last Summer while Darryl was mowing hay. The picture below was taken in Centralia, Illinois the day we hauled the MT back "home."


dp December 14, 2008 at 7:24 PM  

Hey, what a great tractor! I love it. I'll have to get you to do some mowing with it next summer.

One thing the man I bought it from said was, "Don't get it dirty." I'm afraid he'd be disappointed because it's gotten dirty more than once. That little ol' tractor wouldn't be happy if it couldn't still work, you know.

Nance December 1, 2012 at 7:56 PM  

I love homesteading stories. Kentucky stories. Barns. tractors. I'll be back : )

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