Keck Gonnerman tractor

Content Tools

Georgetown, Illinois 61846

It was a warm August 23, 1907 when the little farm community about five miles north of Mount Vernon, Indiana, gained a new citizen. His parents named him William Kenneth Durell. He still resides on that farm, 72 years later, with his wife, Aleeta, and is known far and wide for his antique tractor collection.

Realizing his need for a hobby after his retirement, he chose antique tractors. He has used many types of them in the fields while farming the land, but it wasn't until 1958 that he purchased his first antique tractor, which was a 1926 Fordson that was on its way to the junk yard. He paid $40.00 for it, took it home and promptly began to restore it to its original, like-new condition.

Six years later, in 1964, he purchased a 1927 Rumely Oil Pull, restored it, then one year later bought a 1919 Parrot Motor cultivator made by Parrot Motor Company in Chicago, Illinois. He bought two more tractors before retiring in 1969. They were a 1929 McCormick Deering and a 1925 Rumely Oil Pull, which he restored.

After his retirement he earnestly began collecting and restoring tractors, and through buying and trading now owns 27 operable antique tractors and a 1935 Keck Gonnerman separator. The oldest one is a 1913 Hider Motor cultivator and the newest one is a 1936 McCormick Deering F20.

About all of his tractors were used and have originated around southern Indiana. Whatever parts he could no longer buy or trade for, he would make, many times from other parts.

During the latter part of 1979 he built a very unique tractor by combining parts of other tractors. The transmission and rear axle were from a Farmall F-20; rear hubs are Allis Chalmers; rims and front axle assembly are from a 1924 Fordson; steering gears are from a Massey Harris Combine #27; the engine is a 4 cylinder LeRoi from a Gleaner combine; and the radiator core is Papec Hay Chopper, to name a few. Then deciding it should have a name he took the nameplate from a Keck Gonnerman tractor and welded it to its proper place on his tractor.

Kenneth belongs to the Booneville Antique Steam and Gas Engine Club and has shown some of his prize antiques. He welcomes anyone to stop in to see his wonderful collection. But we warn you, have some time to spend because he loves to talk about tractors!