ADAMS IOWA FARMSTEAD
ADAMS FAMILY IOWA FARMSTEAD
1938 wc ALLIS CHALMERS
1940 C ALLIS CHALMERS
I Remember When
BY BLAIR ADAMS
More than once each winter we had to shovel out the driveway and parts of the county road for the school bus, milk truck and for dad to go to town for #1, Copenhagen and #2, groceries. And picture that, me shoveling snow so I could go to school. You KNOW it was not my choice!! Today the rural roads are built up and drifting snow is not too big a problem, but back in the fifties the dirt roads were lower in many places than the fence rows and the fields, which created snowdrifts I could not see over. I remember once, I offered to walk to town for the Copenhagen to get out of shoveling the endless drifts of snow, but Dad just told me to keep shoveling!! I remember the time one of our neighbors mules died as we were trying to help him get his bobsled through the deep snow or I could tell about the time we took the old Allis Crawler across the fields and over the fences to get to the main road with ours and the neighbors milk so the milk truck could take it to the creamery. But maybe you would like to hear more about tractors and machinery.
My parents started farming during the depression with a few cows, a sow and 2 horses for transportation and doing the fieldwork. In 1939 they bought a new RC Allis Chalmers with cultivator. Dad told the dealer that if it would pull a 2-bottom plow he would buy it. Not having a plow, he borrowed a 2-14 plow from his neighbor for the test. I guess it pulled it okay because they kept the tractor. A few years later (early 40s) they bought a used C Case on steel. For many years the C Case did all the heavy work of plowing and discing. In 1947 they bought a new WC Allis with cultivator and later sold the RC to a brother-in-law. In 1949 they bought their first and only farm. It was a 240-acre farm with a small 3-bedroom house but a large 40 x 80 dairy & horse barn with electricity and a pressurized water system. (The sad news is our Mom died later that year and Dad was left with a farm to run and 10 kids to raise.) Anyway, they sold the WC to my dad's brother, sold a few cows and borrowed the rest of the money needed to make the down payment on the farm. The C Case was their only tractor the first year on their new farm. My older brothers worked for neighbors cultivating corn so we could use their tractor to cultivate our corn. A horse drawn 2-row planter was used for planting that year and for quite a few years to come. Since I had 3 older brothers, I never drove the RC or WC. A couple of years later I learned to drive the C Case and I spent many hours and days plowing and discing with that tractor. The next year Dad bought a CC Case on rubber and with a cultivator. Finally the old C got some help. A year or so later Dad bought another C on rubber. Twenty-year-old tractors were probably pretty cheap in the early 50s. And sometime later we got an RC Case like the one I bought this year. So you can see why I favor Allis Chalmers and Case tractors. In the years that followed, Dad bought many old and cheap tractors and managed to get a lot of work out of them (and his boys). We had a 60 & 70 Oliver, a couple of A John Deere's and after I left the farm he got a 47 G J.D. When the younger brothers began getting scarce for pitching manure, Dad got a Ford 8N with a loader and later a Ford Jubilee with a loader for loading manure. Dad's last tractor was a 165 Massey Ferguson diesel that he farmed with until the day he died in1983. I never asked him which tractor was his favorite but I'm guessing it was between his first tractor, the RC Allis & the 165 Massey Ferguson.
My older brother Lyle bought the farmstead and 10 acres after he retired in 1989 (The rest of the land was sold to a neighboring farmer). My Dad's brother still had the WC Allis and Lyle bought it for $20.00 and brought it back to the farm to restore. That got him started collecting A.C. tractors. He now has got at least one of every A.C. model (styled) from 1939 through the 1956. He is still working on getting them all restored. I bought his only unstyled one, my 1938 WC Allis, and that got me started collecting tractors.
I could tell you more about threshing, putting up loose hay and when we really went modern with a Case pull type combine and a Case hand tie baler. In my Dad's last years on the farm he had an IH self-propelled combine and a Gehl large round baler. He gave up dairy when the boys left and raised beef cattle for many years. I learned most of the important things in life from my Dad and the most important was how to work hard. Many of you know what I'm talking about!!!
One last interesting note; Out of nine brothers only my oldest brother Kenneth became a farmer and he gave that up after having four daughters.
Thanks for letting me reminisce,