4 wheeled Happy Farmer

Courtesy of Earlene Ritzman, 808 Wertzville Road, Enola, Pennsylvania 17025.

Earlene Ritzman

Content Tools

1616 1st. S. W., Huron, South Dakota 57350.

In reply to Mr. Lowell Carson's excellent article in the Sept.-Oct.-l 970 issue of G. E. M. on the three wheel John Deere Dain tractor.

It saddens me to say I do not know the whereabouts of any surviving Dain tractors in the Huron, S. D. area where Mr. Carson's story ends, but perhaps can add a little to an already very interesting story.

Mr. F. R. Brumwell was the John Deere dealer in Huron during the time mentioned in Lowell Carson's story. He also operated a lumber yard, grain elevator and mill. He also had a large farm north of Huron on the James River known as the Brumwell ranch.

The John Deere company would often ship new implements to Mr. Brumwell for trial and experimentation on his farm.

In the late 40's I worked for Mr. Brumwell's son R. F. Brumwell who I will refer to as Roy throughout the rest of the story, as he and i were good friends for many years. Roy passed away about two years ago.

During the time I worked for him, I met the elder Mr. Brumwell several times who was getting along in years then. F. R. as he was known around the Huron area passed away in the early 50's.

Roy was running things for his father at the time I worked for him. The John Deere dealership had been discontinued in the late 20's or early 30's. A. disastrous fire in the 30's destroyed the lumber yard and mill along with all records of the implement business.

While working for Roy, he told of two John Deere Dain tractors they kept for use on the ranch, and always referred to them as the three wheel John Deeres. He related many stories of these tractors, some good and some bad. One that stands out in my memory is the following.

A few miles to the North and West of the Brumwell ranch along the same James River lay the land belonging to the Hutterite colony, known as the Huron Colony. It was customary at harvest time for the colony boys to hook several grain wagons together behind one large tractor and haul their grain to town. What they had for a tractor I do not recall. Anyway the Brumwells were hauling their grain the same way. Early one morning Roy and his hired man left the ranch pulling a train of loaded grain wagons with one of the three-wheeled John Deeres. As they were approaching highway 37, (this was before blacktop roads of course) the colony boys could be seen coming with their outfit from the North. As they had a somewhat larger and faster tractor, Roy and his man would have to follow them into town some seven miles, and wait for them to unload at the elevator. Unless the three-wheeler could beat them to the corner.

4 wheeled Happy Farmer, circa 1919, built in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and is owned by John M. Fenninger, R. D. 3, Pine Grove, Pennsylvania 17963. The two pretty passengers are his daughters. John would be happy for any information on this engine.

Picture by Dave Egan, R. D. 5, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055. 

Being somewhat sporting Roy couldn't see being tail end Charlie that particular morning. So while his man steered the tractor, Roy jumped off and found a piece of wire along the fence which he hooked to the carburetor throttle rod. As he swung on board again the wire was pulled back overriding the governor and the old John Deere roared like never before. Needless to say the colony boys had to wait to unload that day.

During W. W. II the two Dains were cut up and went to war. One of the one hundred Dains shipped to this area was sold in the country northwest of Wolsey, S. D. My Father, Julius Johannsen, helped shell corn there one day when the Dain was used to run the sheller. Dad remembers the large diameter belt pulley on the tractor and wondered if it wasn't a little large for that size tractor.

Perhaps this accounts for three of the one hundred Dains, so what happened to the other ninety-seven tractors is as much a mystery to me as it is to Mr. Carson.