Once There Were A Thousand, Now There Are Five!

John Deere Tractor

Content Tools

R.R. 1 Lamesa, Texas 79331

Forty years ago Dawson Company, in west Texas, was infested with 'G' John Deeres. There are over 300,000 acres of row crop cotton, and at that time it was said there were over a thousand G's in use. There were more G's than all other tractors combined. Seems like they were everywhere.

Five years ago I was smitten with the old tractor virus that seems to be going around. I found some good ones and I found some junk. I had obtained about 15 tractors but something was missing. I didn't have a G and didn't know where one was. I had a small plane and flew out over the whole county. I believe I found the only two that were left. They had grown to the ground and were not for sale at any price.

I remembered when I was a boy my dad, a friend, and I were planting cotton with three four-row John Deeres, because the engine speeds differed slightly. At times the three would be firing at a timing that made them sound like a smooth six cylinder. At times they would be firing together where they sounded like one, and at times the three could make some weird sounds.

When my childhood friends and I would get together, the conversation would quickly turn to speculation as to how much better John Deeres were than, any of the others. We thought that everybody who was somebody owned a G.

About this time most farmers were converting their gasoline tractors to propane because propane was six cents a gallon, so most G's were changed over.

There were very few gasoline John Deere's left. Then in the 1960's Mexican buyers were able to cross the border with tractors. Their favorite was a G John Deere. In a few years nearly all G's were gone.

I found a 1945 GM at a farm sale in Pampa, 270 miles away, and bought it. Last year I found two G's in Gatesville 260 miles away and bought them. By bringing three G's into Dawson County there are now five and I have the only three that will start and run. It is hard to believe once there were so many and now there are only five.

Shown above is a 1951 G neatly put on propane. Due to a high compression head it will put out 44 HP at the PTO. Note how the steering shaft runs through the tank; this is typical of a 1950s conversion.