Posted by Flewster on November 06, 2012 at 06:50:57 from (188.8.131.52):
This is a 1951 Case DC row crop tractor. It was built April 14th 1951 in Racine Wisconsin at the J.I. Case Tractor works. It was delivered to Fitzgerald’s Hardware store in Jamestown, KS shortly after.
It was bought by Gene Kelly for approximately $1500. That day he also bought a model TA-7 sickle mower and a model BH 3x14” plow. All told the bill came to around $1850.
Now this little gal took to plowing and mowing like there was no tomorrow. She served Gene faithfully first on a farm north of Courtland Kansas then on a farm south of Jamestown. It was at the farm near Jamestown that Gene’s daughter, Carol, tells the story of her first memory of the tractor. That memory was of it pulling the family in a wagon up and down the road due to the roads being muddy and the car could not be driven down them.
The family moved back to the farm 8 miles north of Courtland where this tractor plowed the fields, mowed the hay and brought in the harvest. What a faithful little tractor she was. Go around and look at the drawbar and you will see that the hitch pin hole is about twice the normal size from all the work this tractor did.
Alongside her served an old Case L then a LA. Finally, came the big Case 870 Agri King that still farms the land. But that was not the end of her story.
Each year she would turn the auger that put the harvest in the bin. Even though she had become semi-retired she still performed her work with all her might. She even got to run through the fields a few times holding a special made weed wiper.
Then came a sad day. Her magneto finally gave out after 40 years of hard work. So she sat. Gene was determined to keep her running and took the magneto off and took it to town to be rebuilt.
As the part was in the shop, the shop burned down. Taking the little heart of this once proud tractor. Without her magneto her engine would never run again. Oh how she wept and wanted to work. She was moved from one spot to the next to make room around the farm. But she was never far from Gene’s mind. Oh, he wanted to make her cackle again but he could not find a magneto to put on her.
As time past her radiator was taken off, the hood set aside. And finally her worst fears were realized. She was towed out to the line of unused equipment. And there she sat, forgotten. The days turned into months. The months into years and she watched as newer and bigger tractors drove by. They would look at her and shake their heads. They too knew what was next. The scrap yard. There she would be cut apart and scrapped. She rusted and her gauges became unreadable. She cried and longed to have Gene come rescue her.
Then in 2006 Gene came out with his grandson, Wayne. They looked at her and her spirit leaped. Wayne sat on her and held her steering wheel. She could hear them talk about Wayne taking her and fixing her up again. She could hardly believe what she was hearing. But they left.
Then in 2007 they came out again and this time the 870 was with them. They hooked up a chain and her wheels turned again. She was towed down the hill, past the forgotten combine and into the yard. Pictures were taken, and the talk was of returning her to her glory days. Towed to the front yard she was loaded on a trailer and for the second time in her life she was headed across the open prairies. Where she was going she did not know.
On a farm in Osage County, Kansas she was unloaded and Wayne began at once to fix her. Her motor was stuck and would not even turn over. Wayne took apart the motor and gently worked until it was freely moving again.
She was put in a building and forgotten till the spring of 2011.
It was then that there seemed to be a rush to get her fixed and running again. A new magneto was installed, her carburetor was rebuilt and new wiring was installed. Then on May 10th 2011, late at night, her motor turned over, fuel was delivered and the spark from the spark plugs ignited the fuel and her engine came to life once again. Wayne hooped and hollered and danced at the sound of her cackling.
New tires were installed May 15th and on that day she rolled out of that shed on her own power for the first time in over 20 years. How excited she was to drive through the fields of Wayne’s farm. He told her she would be going back to the farm in Courtland and see Gene and she was happy.
So as this is written she is back on the trailer and ready to travel to Courtland. She is told there will be a parade and that she will get to be in it. What fun she is going to have and how happy she is to be able to return home and feel the soil under her tires that she came to love so many years ago. What fun it will be.
SHE IS HAPPY!!!
This has been a long project. I have spent over twice what it cost Grandpa 60 years ago to fix this old tractor and get her just running. But it has been worth it. I enjoy taking her for drives across my farm and hearing her cackle as grandpa says. I even planted buckwheat this year with her. I want to finish the job and have her repainted and take her to shows. Thank you for reading her story and I hope that you enjoyed her today.
P.S. Gene Died a year ago. Just 3 months after I took the tractor for him to see. Last winter I had to rebuild the motor due to a pinhole leak in a sleeve. New sleeves and rings and she is as god as new again. All the bearings were good. She now does my mowing, raking and planting. Since Grandpa died Grandma gave me the 870 and it now does the heavy work on my farm.
This post was edited by Flewster at 06:54:31 11/06/12.
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