An Old Friend Is Found

By Staff
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After 30 years apart, Walt Taylor is reunited with his 'old friend,' his grandfather's '31 CO Case.
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R.D.2, Box 71-P, Isle LaMotte, Vermont 05463

About four years ago, my brother-in-law, Reed Benton, mentioned
that his friend Ernie Sutton had acquired an old Case tractor. It
seems that Ernie was working near Rhinebeck, New York with a crew
that had been hired to clear some overgrown farm land. Someone in
the crew stuck his chain saw into a thicket and encountered an
object the saw wouldn’t cut. Fortunately, the old Case tractor
hiding in the thicket wasn’t the least bit harmed by the
inattentive woodcutter who suddenly learned the fine art of looking
where he was sticking his saw.

Ernie inquired about the tractor and was told by the property
owner, ‘If you want that thing, get it out of here!’ Ernie
promptly had the rusty relic trucked to his home in Millerton
where, with the help of Reed and George Goes-singer, he removed the
head, unstuck the pistons and cleaned up the magneto. Much to
Reed’s surprise, the local Big A store in Dover Plains had the
WICO mag points right in stock. In April, three turns of the crank
had the old Case back to life.

Later that spring, I drove down from Vermont and stopped to
examine the machine, which proved to be a 1931 Model CO on steel,
bearing the serial number C 303484- I was astounded to discover it
was the very tractor our family had once owned and which I had
operated as a teenager in the 1950s. Ernie and I struck a deal and
I was a bona fide tractor collector! My grandfather, Walter Cramer,
purchased the Case new in 1931 for use on his farm in Rhinebeck; he
grew violets and nurtured a large apple orchard on property that
had been in family possession for over 200 years., My grandmother
sold the tractor around 1960 to a local farmer but we had no clues
as to its final destiny after it left the farm. Finding my ‘old
friend’ after a lapse of 30 years is certainly quite a
miracle!

Reed is storing the tractor at his shop about 30 miles from
Rhinebeck; he’s threatening me with something to the effect
that possession is nine tenths of the law. So to get it out of his
hands, we’re taking it back to Rhinebeck on May 16 and 17 for
participation in the 15th annual Antique Machinery & Oldtime
Crafts Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds
are only a few hundred yards from the family homestead, so
we’ll be able to say that our old friend has also come
home.

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